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Mobile link delivers field service invoices `in hours`

05 February, 2010

A Dublin-based company which specialises in vehicle tracking systems, has branched into field service management with a system that automates service call management, job dispatch, signature capture and invoicing.

FleetMatics’ Field Service Manager system allows service departments to communicate with their field engineers via smartphones, PDAs or other mobile devices.  

The company says the software can boost productivity, cut overheads, ensure faster receipt of payments, and make it easier for field engineers to complete forms. According to sales director Derek Bryan, the system can reduce invoicing times from an average of six weeks to "a matter of hours”.

The software runs on any handheld device using the Windows Mobile 6 or Google Android operating systems. It connects to the service department’s back-office system via the GPRS network, and appears as a dashboard accessed via the Web.

From the dashboard, jobs can be logged and issued to the engineers. After finishing a job, the engineer completes the relevant forms on their mobile device and sends the information back to the service department for immediate invoicing. The soiftware can generate a variety of graphs and reports (as shown above).

“Our product is unique,” Bryan asserts, “as it allows engineers to get on with the job and complete the necessary forms regardless of whether they are online or not, unlike most field service management software solutions, which offer Web-based forms. This is critical when service engineers are in basements or lift shafts, or where network coverage is patchy – it means job processing does not stop even when the mobile network is down.” Once the device is back online, the completed forms are sent to the service department.

Field Service Manager is based on the “cloud computing” concept, with customers paying a monthly subscription of around £70 per engineer per month. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Free trials are available.

The industry analyst, Gartner, predicts that the proportion of technicians with wireless access to field service management systems will increase from 12% to 40% over the coming two years.

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