Every mechanic is familiar with the time-honored and traditional paper Work Order. It was once developed to keep track of exactly what work you did and what materials you used on a given job. Although paper work orders are anything but a perfect solution, for a long time there was no real alternative.
However, digitization and the rise of modern workflow software has changed that situation. In this blog, we’ll tell you why digital work orders and the right workflow software will make your field service work a lot easier and take your service to a much higher level.
What will you learn in this blog?
- What is a work order?
- The benefits of digital work orders
- Digitize your paper work orders with FieldBuddy
What is a work order?
A work order is a document used to record the details of a specific task or project. It can be used to track the hours and materials used in completing a job.
Example of work order
An example of a work order may look like the following:
Date: April 5, 2023
Customer Name: John Work Address: Installation Street 123
Phone number: 555-1234
Task: Installation of a new kitchen worktop
- 2x kitchen worktop (model number: KB-1234)
- 4x screws (size: 1 inch)
- 1x saw
- 2 hours installation
- 0.5 hours cleaning up
Total amount: €250
This work order contains the key information needed to perform the installation of a new kitchen countertop:
- the name of the customer
- customer’s address
- the materials used
- the time required to complete the task
- The total amount charged for the service
This document can be used as proof of task completion and to process payment.
The disadvantages of paper work orders
Paper work orders: many mechanics have a love-hate relationship with them. While receipts give you insight into jobs done and materials used, they also have many drawbacks.
- With paper Work Orders, you can’t run dashboards and analytics on data. As a result, you lack the insight into which plants or products break down frequently, for example.
- Work orders are often completed quickly-fast in the field, making them frequently illegible to colleagues who need to review the orders at a later date.
- Putting away Work Orders is a time-consuming task. In addition, thick binders with old Work Orders take up a lot of office or warehouse space.
- Processing paper Work Receipts takes a lot of time. For example, a client of ours had an entire department with “voucher processors. This caused a long lead time from executed Work Order to final payment (the invoicing and disbursement phase). This also makes you more likely to encounter customers who don’t pay or pay late. After all, the question is whether you remember that mechanic X replaced part Y 6 months ago….
- You consume a lot of paper, since you write a separate Work Order for each job. Not very cost-effective nor great for the environment….
- Working with Paper Work Orders is not a scalable process.
- You can lose paper Work Orders. Think of half-completed and crumpled Work Order forms lying around in vans or your mechanics’ overalls. Incidentally, an incomplete record of Work Orders can lead to incomplete invoices.
The solution: digital work orders
Fortunately, the solution to the above problems is at your fingertips:
Digitizing your field service management by using digital work orders and good work order management software.
How that works?
From now on, a Work Order is no longer a piece of paper that the mechanic carries around and fills in manually on the spot, but is digitally generated and sent to the mechanic’s smartphone or tablet within a minute.
The technician then sees right away where he needs to be and what he needs to do. In addition, the mechanic can see all of that week’s Digital Work Orders at a glance.
The benefits of digital work orders
Using digital work orders, good workflow software and a good Work Order app has many benefits both for individual mechanics and for your organization as a whole. We list the most important benefits for you.
1. Efficient workflows through good workflow management
A good workflow ensures that you execute a process, service or business process in a standardized, structured and systematic way.
Every employee involved knows the status and progress of a job or project. It is clear who is responsible for which subtasks, so people don’t work past each other and don’t duplicate work.
This is difficult if you have to retrieve every piece of information from separate systems or read off paper work orders that every field service employee fills out in a slightly different way.
With a Work Order app you create a universal standard for all your Work Order forms and all employees involved always have access to the same information. Because everything is automated and your employees all use the same software, every employee’s administration is automatically in order and everyone works systematically in the same way.
There are several ways to create efficient workflows through workflow management. A few examples:
- Using drop-down lists instead of freely fillable text fields ensures that mechanics complete Work Order forms in a uniform manner. Easy for the mechanic himself, but certainly also for the inside sales staff who process the receipts.
- The status of a digital work order or service request can be viewed by all parties involved. You determine the statuses yourself and adjust them quickly and easily. In this way you create more insight into where exactly a receipt is in the process.
- Automate processes or rules that are always the same. For example, does a mechanic tick something that comes under warranty by default? Then automatically set the invoice price to 0 euros. That saves the inside sales department valuable time.
2. Everyone is always up-to-date with digital work orders
A work order app and digital scheduling tool ensure that everyone is always up-to-date on the status of a job or project. Does an employee get a new task or a mechanic get a new job? Or is there a change in the work, such as a gas boiler check that suddenly turns out to be a repair? Then you can immediately change this digitally, so that other people within the organization are also immediately informed of the changed schedule.
3. All important information at a glance
All necessary information, such as problem description, service history, contract and installation manuals, come together in one central environment. After work is completed, digital work orders are automatically processed and billed. The app also tracks material usage and work time.
4. Easily search back through closed projects
Working with workflow software and Work Order apps makes it easy to find information about completed work and projects in your records.
You no longer have to sift through a stack of thick binders full of paper Work Order forms. The entire administration is digital and centralized and can be searched easily and quickly. This also makes it always clear who is responsible for a job or project.
5. Paper vs. digital work orders: space savings
Cabinets full of folders with paper Work Order forms take up a lot of space. So by choosing Digital Work Receipts, you also create a lot more space.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about your entire archive going up in flames if a fire breaks out in your business premises. By using Digital Work Orders and storing them in multiple locations (backups), you know that your records are always safe.
6. Real-time information and planning
The combination of the Digital Work Order, scheduling tool and workflow software gives you the opportunity to distribute information about schedules, jobs, work and changes in real time. Office workers no longer have to continuously call or app with field staff, but can communicate all information in real time.
Digitize your paper work orders with FieldBuddy
FieldBuddy is a complete solution for digitizing the field service. You simply create a Work Order within 1 minute, which you then easily schedule through FieldBuddy’s user-friendly and clear dispatch panel.
The Work Order automatically arrives on the technician’s smartphone, via the FieldBuddy Swift app. At a glance, you can see where and at what time the mechanic is scheduled. You can also add photos of a job. Those will then show up in the job overview as well.
Via the FieldBuddy Swift app, the mechanic can also immediately arrange invoicing (including digital sign-off). The app also gives technicians an instant view of the necessary information, such as the problem description, service history and installation manuals.
Thanks to FieldBuddy Swift, even service companies’ most complex workflows are simplified. The process, from the time mechanics receive Work Orders to the time the Work Orders enter the backend, is clear and fast. There is also quick access to phone features such as maps, calendar, contact list and e-mail.
With FieldBuddy, you also reap the benefits of dashboards and analytics. For example, does a particular product or system break down often? Or is there a problem that recurs frequently with a certain type of installation? From FieldBuddy you report all the relevant data at the minute and bring processes into accurate focus.
FieldBuddy differs from other workflow management solutions for field staff in a number of ways.
- Many companies using standard solutions, such as OutSmart, run into limits at some point when they need to step outside certain boundaries. With FieldBuddy, the “sky’s the limit. Everything is configurable. Does your company deviate from the standard? We can arrange and set up our solution to suit your needs.
- Losing work resources will cost you a lot of money. On average, losing just 2 work resources will cost you as much as buying and using FieldBuddy.
- We are a true field services specialist and have been active in this market for many years.
Want to learn more about FieldBuddy’s app and see for yourself how working with Digital Work Orders saves you a lot of time and money? Then we would love to get to know you.