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Maximizing Efficiency With NetSuite Field Service Management

Many field service organizations operate on thin margins. Landscaping jobs, for example, have a profit margin between 5 and 20% depending on the service, and construction companies are continuously suffering from cash flow issues due to delayed payments and high material costs.

By standardizing business processes, reducing inefficient costs, and gaining a deeper insight into operational costs, business stakeholders can incrementally increase their profit margins and have more consistent cash flow. Well-implemented NetSuite field service management promises to do precisely that. By using an ERP that’s built to support businesses like yours, you can centralize your data and automate more of your business functions.

Adopting a new ERP is a major shift, and every field service organization that transitions to NetSuite has a slightly different primary objective, from standardizing expenses to preparing for growth. When you want to prioritize efficiency above all else, it’s important to structure your NetSuite implementation around that core goal.

Before you start creating your implementation plan, explore the core features and benefits of NetSuite field service management when it comes to efficiency as well as specific strategies that support your goals.

How NetSuite Field Service Management Can Increase Operational Efficiency

Many businesses aim for efficiency, but they’re unsure how to get started or what the end result of efficient operations really looks like. The most action-oriented definition of efficiency is this:

The ability to achieve an end goal with little to no waste, effort, or energy.

For example, you might consider trimming down marketing costs so there’s minimal waste and all of your messages meet the right customers at the right time. Your goal might be to reduce the expensive trips that your field service reps take, either by giving them more efficient daily routes or by eliminating mistakes that cause crews to turn around and go back to a worksite.

At a broad level, this involves a three-step process: knowing what your current operations look like in terms of waste and efficiency, strategically minimizing waste, and strategically maximizing high-efficiency activities. Here’s how NetSuite field service management can help:

  • Centralize all the data of your business operations into one place: NetSuite can integrate with hundreds of different field service tools, and it can incorporate the APIs of those without a pre-built integration function. So you can pull all of your expenses, company time spent, and metrics from every single tool into one database for reporting and analytics.
  • Automate work order creation and assignment: One of the biggest inefficiencies that many field service businesses have is translating customer requests into actionable jobs. NetSuite can automate every step of the process. Properly configured, it can recognize requests from multiple communication channels, schedule service jobs, and identify the right service technician for the job. It can even make sure technicians are assigned jobs based on their specializations, availability, or route and geographic location. This minimizes the manual data entry and work your team needs to do, which reduces costs and potential delays between customer requests and job completion.
  • Track customer histories so each staff member has the data they need: NetSuite can store and use a vast array of datasets, but not every person in your company needs to see that data at all times. You can set up personalized dashboards and views for every team or department, all pulling from the same real-time data sets. For example, account managers can pull up summaries of tickets and contract overviews, or they can see which customers they need to reach out to for renewals and check-ins. Field reps can see the jobs assigned to them for the day, or they can expand the next job’s profile for a quick overview of any unique requirements or the tone of past interactions. Your billing team can see trends and new invoices, and your CFO can view how teams are progressing toward forecasted goals. No one has to go searching for the insights they need, and there are fewer gaps to overcome.

Related: Maximize ROI: Top NetSuite Field Service Management Tools

Custom development teams and implementation specialists can configure your NetSuite to include the field-services-specific automation and reporting functions your business needs to maximize efficiency.

5 Strategies for Maximizing Efficiency With NetSuite Field Service Management

Knowing that NetSuite field service management is built to optimize efficiency without your direct time and attention can be a strong motivator to make the switch. However, taking your time and working with a NetSuite implementation service that’s familiar with field service organizations like yours is an essential part of this transformation. Don’t just rely on the natural efficiencies that NetSuite offers. Instead, work with an implementation consultant to see how these efficient strategies can fit into your iteration of NetSuite.

Strategy 1: Funnel All of Your Appointment-Setting and Service Request Channels Into One Stream

Most field service businesses have multiple channels for receiving new jobs and requests. You might have an appointment-setting tool on your site, a customer-facing portal, email and text channels, and internal tools for customer service reps on the phone with customers. Build your ERP so all of these channels consolidate into one stream of incoming requests. Then it’s easier to make sure all the requests are handled promptly and assigned to the right technician.

Strategy 2: Standardize All Your Service Processes (Even the Custom Ones)

Create checklists and reminders for every job. Based on the account and job request parameters, you can create standardized checklists for all of your service options. For example, a landscaping crew heading to a residence with lawn mowing and tree trimming services can open a standardized checklist of all the individual tasks included within those services so nothing is forgotten.

You can even build checklists that extract custom requirements and preferences from the customer profile so crews never have to rely on memory. Let’s say the client has a dog, doesn’t want their fig tree trimmed, or has neighbors who complain if the crew’s truck gets near their mailbox. A comprehensive checklist at your field rep’s fingertips can ensure better customer service with these reminders.

Related: FAQs (and Answers) for Managing Field Services Through NetSuite

Checklists ensure every job is completed to a quality standard. They also trim down the time every job takes. Just as importantly, NetSuite creates a time-stamped record of when services were performed so you have clear activity histories for every client.

Strategy 3: Track Your Field Service Technicians to Modify Schedules in Real Time

Ask your implementation team about real-time field technician tracking. Real-time tracking offers these advantages:

  • Improve safety as field techs traveling to remote sites can easily check in and stay visible.
  • Assign jobs and modify appointment routes to have extremely efficient mileage and fewer manhours spent driving.
  • Reassign or reschedule jobs based on traffic delays, last-minute cancelations, or material shortages.
  • Track expensive assets, such as vehicles and specialty equipment, as part of your loss-prevention strategy.

Strategy 4: Centralize All of Your Data So You Can Track Expenses

Each division of your business has its own costs, and many of them also have their own budgets. However, maintaining a centralized understanding of company expenses can help your finance teams devise strategies for efficiently whittling down inefficient costs. NetSuite can extract spending data across all aspects of your tech stack (marketing, procurement, IT, HR, and so on) and prepare financial reports.

With smart functions and more transparent insight, NetSuite can recommend changes, identify redundancies, and alert your teams to previously invisible costs that jeopardize the ROI of business strategies. Once all of your data is consolidated, every arm of your revenue operations can run reports that give more insight into trends, specific problems, or areas of inefficiency. For example, you can:

  • Track drive times, especially as your business expands its geographic radius.
  • Identify rising material costs and determine when it’s time to find new suppliers.
  • Measure incidents of late payments to refine your lien and billing strategies.
  • Forecast revenue and sales goals—and then continuously update those forecasts across quarters or annual periods.

Strategy 5: Identify New Opportunities for Integrations and Automation

Your ERP can adapt and grow alongside your business. NetSuite is built to be configurable over time, so your team can add new integrations, create custom-coded functionalities unique to your business, and incorporate advanced modules that match your future business needs. If you want to continue making iterative moves toward a more efficient business, periodically consider new changes and features that make sense for your business over time.  

Make Your Operations More Efficient With NetSuite Field Service Management Implementation

NetSuite field service management tools promise greater efficiency right from the start. By implementing a robust ERP, your organization can benefit from clearer data, automation, and centralized tools. You can also augment this efficiency with custom integrations and functionalities built around your business’s operations—standard checklists, automatic reports that center on your KPIs, and advanced reporting that fits the unique concerns of your industry.

At Limebox, we specialize in implementing NetSuite field service management packages and providing the support you need to maximize efficiency. Contact us today to see how a new ERP aligns with your field service business goals.

At Limebox, we help organizations implement and optimize enterprise-ready NetSuite, and custom software solutions, for their entire ecosystem. We deliver bonafide results the first time. With an eye for simplification and a genius for problem solving.

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