A length of pipe, a screwdriver, a half-batt of insulation – a few dollars at a time, your field technicians may be leaving a share of your profit at each job site. And just-in-case parts traveling around in trucks force maintenance of an inefficient, bloated inventory, another financial loser. Whether you are managing an HVAC company, a computer-repair business or another field service, it is critical to keep an eye on inventory and materials waste, yet you need to give your technicians the flexibility they need to do their jobs. Below are three simple workflow steps that will provide that agility while reducing supply and inventory waste, and bloat.
Attach photos to every estimate or work order
At the time an estimate or work order is created, the salesperson or service technician attaches photos of the existing unit and installation from all angles, including close-up views of serial and model number plates. If there are any delivery challenges, take photos of those also. Use the photos to verify the inventory and material list included with the work order is as accurate as possible. All photos become part of the customer record. (In RazorSync field management software, attaching photos to a customer record is a simple one-click process from tablet or phone.)
Require a detailed work order for every job
Whether a work order is created from an estimate, by a field technician or by an inside sales representative, it should include, in addition to inventory, a detailed material sheet, and equipment list. The technician will have all parts, equipment, and materials necessary to complete the service. The equipment list can be used to verify tools are returned. Create materials list templates for typical installations, then modify the template for each job. If your service software has that function, you can later pull up reports of inventory by a technician or by a job, a way to correct inefficiencies and detect employee theft.
Expect recovery of partials and post-job cleanup photos
A length of pipe, a coil of copper, a ladder – expect your technicians to clean the job site and recover all partial materials, tools and equipment. Post-job photos attached to the customer record should include model and serial numbers, pictures of the installation, and pictures of the area where the work was done. The photos will verify work done and parts used, protect against claims of property damage and ensure your technicians are policing the area for tools, materials, and litter.
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