Automate Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365

Transform Field Service Operations with Dynamics 365. Read on to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help.

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    “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” If you lead a field service operations team, you’ve probably heard that phrase often enough that you’re sick of it. But it’s often true.

    There are simply too many things to micromanage between processing work orders, scheduling techs, restocking parts, and sending invoices. Instead of wishing for more hours in the day, you should automate as many of these time-consuming manual processes as possible.

    One of the most powerful platforms for automating field service operations is Microsoft Dynamics 365 from Velosio. This article describes what Dynamics 365 is and how it can reliably automate critical operational tasks for field service providers.

    What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service?

    Dynamics 365 Field Service is a set of cloud-based business applications customized for the work of field service providers. Since they’re cloud-based applications, they’re available both in the office and in the field on mobile devices.

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    Dynamics 365 combines Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools. You can choose the apps you want or use them as an integrated suite. As a full suite, Dynamics can automate various field service administrative tasks.

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    How can Dynamics 365 Automate Field Service Operations?

    By design, Dynamics 365 offers end-to-end business support, from marketing and sales to operations, and billing.

    Faster scheduling

    Of course, Dynamics 365’s scheduling app allows you to schedule technicians and other resources manually, but it also includes automated scheduling tools when it is too time-consuming to rearrange complex schedules by hand. For example, the built-in Schedule Assistant can automatically match the best available resources when a customer requests a new job in the middle of the day. The Assistant checks the job requirements and location, and automatically finds the best available technicians with the necessary tools, materials, and skill sets.

    You can also run schedule optimizations across your entire field service team. For example, suppose several urgent, same-day requests come in from customers that you plug in manually to your schedule. In that case, you can run the optimizer to rebalance the rest of every technician’s day or week to ensure all jobs are still addressed on time.

    Work order entry assistance

    The work order tools in Dynamics pull customer and job information from its records and link technicians to past job histories, which can offer helpful context. Customer records also include Agreements stipulating recurring service on a set schedule. Dynamics can automatically create work orders for you according to that schedule and assign them to a technician without your agents even needing to lift a finger.

    Automated inventory management

    You can create “warehouses”—unique storage locations—in Dynamics, like your storerooms, loading docks, distribution centers, and even technicians’ trucks. And then you stock each of them with the materials on hand.

    You can manually enter inventory changes, but Dynamics can also automatically add and remove items from inventory when they’re used to complete a work order. For example, suppose you assign a technician job requiring an entire cable reel. In that case, Dynamics can mark it allocated from their truck inventory, and when they complete the job, Dynamics will automatically remove it.

    Receive automated alerts

    Dynamics can receive alerts from embedded Internet of Things (IoT) sensors placed on site. They can trigger an alert in Dynamics 365, automatically generating a new business process. If an agent in your office can’t resolve the problem remotely, they can use that same Dynamics business process to generate a work order and get a technician on the job. Field service providers regularly use Dynamics IoT alerts to resolve customer problems before the customer even knows anything is wrong.

    Streamlined billing process

    Dynamics 365 automatically logs the parts and services used to complete work orders—that is already tracked automatically. So when it comes time to generate invoices for your SLAs, everything is automatically pulled in. Your accountants don’t need to go through customer records and manually compile all of the billable hours, materials, and other resources used.

    Real-time field tech monitoring

    Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform that connects to your technicians’ mobile devices on the road and at the job site. You can receive real-time location updates, identify technicians closest to new work, and find out how much time they’ve spent on the job so you can adjust schedules quickly.

    Technicians can even collaborate live on the job using Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality (AR) cameras. For example, senior engineers at the office can walk junior technicians through complex jobs monitoring their actions through a live feed video connection from a HoloLens headset.

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    Automated central reference point

    All of these automated processes are valuable on their own, but the true power of Dynamics 365 is that it provides a central platform where all these tasks are automated together. It becomes an operations hub and central reference point for the end-to-end delivery of services to your customers.

    In the same application suite, you can monitor how your marketing efforts funnel new leads to your sales team, organize your SLAs, build your technician schedules, assign work orders, track inventory, and invoice customers. Nothing gets lost in the handoff from one business unit to another because they all work in the same ecosystem. Communication and workflow support tools help them work together on complex tasks that straddle organizational silos.

    Easily track KPIs

    Because all your business units are connected on the same platform, Dynamics makes tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics much simpler. For example, you can easily track first-time fix rates (FTFRs) and see how they relate to your other business units.

    Ask questions like, how does each field team’s FTFR stack up against the others? Does the team with the higher FTFR use more or less inventory? How great of a correlation do you see between FTFR and your profit margins?

    Visualizing and connecting these core metrics can give field service providers a deeper understanding of their business. They’ll gain new insights into what works well and where they can most easily improve.

    Dynamics 365 Can Transform Field Service Operations

    Dynamics 365 can have a transformative effect on field service businesses because of how it can automate everything end-to-end. But comprehensive software solutions can sometimes take much work to implement on your own.

    If you want to spin up Dynamics 365 Field Service smoothly and seamlessly, consider working with an experienced provider like Velosio. They have over 33 years of experience implementing and optimizing business software solutions for field service providers.

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