5 Aug 2017
how to: paperless office
in Technical Blog by Kae Verens
We created an online savings calculator a few years ago which calculates how much money you can save by going paperless with our field service management software. It measures a few important metrics, but I think one of the most metrics is how much time is spent filling in documents, and the cost in paper for these. In a traditional services company, the engineer goes to the office to get the orders for the day, fills in reports when out on the job using notepads, and then returns to the office with those filled notepads to have the details re-typed by a clerk. One company I worked with literally had shelved rooms with boxes on each shelf, each filled with notepads of reports. Apart from the cost of those notepads (minor) and the cost of storage (grows year by year), the biggest issue here is that a notepad that sits in a box in a room is not readable by the customer or by the engineer. If you go visit that customer again and need to recap on what was done last time, you need to dig out that notepad. And so companies invest in clerks whose major role is to retype those notepad reports into a digital format that can be stored in a database or folder of documents, and emailed out to the engineer or customer when requested. The cost of a clerk is prohibitive - why are you paying someone to type up something which has already been written? With service management software, the report is filled in on an app, using your mobile device, such as an Android or iOS phone or tablet. Because the information is stored digitally, there is no need to retype it. Simply take the information from the phone and store it in the database! The next waste of paper is with the reports that you send to your customers. Do they really need a typed report? Most companies these days are perfectly happy to accept digital copies of your reports, which they can store in their own databases, and which can easily be regenerated by yourself if the customer loses their copy. A clerk is traditionally needed in order to create these reports, as the format that an engineer writes in may not be readable to your customer. And a report can run for 60 pages or more, such as the PAS 79 2016 form used in fire risk assessment. With field service software, though, the information can be entered into the mobile device in one format, and neatened up and output in another format automatically when it comes time to send the report. With FieldMotion, we completely automate the process - the engineer fills in the details of their report as they work, and then when they have the customer signatures entered (again, using the mobile device), they mark the job complete, the report is automatically created by the workflow management software, and the customer has the report in their inbox within minutes of the job being done. With our own office, it has gotten to the point that when I needed to draw something up to illustrate a point to one of my programmers, I had to go search for paper, and then had to go search for a pen afterwards. Paperless office solutions such as FieldMotion not only reduce the storage requirements (and associated fire risk) in your office, but also speed up your job to the point that we have one testimonial which states "The best was when we measured from receiving a call - job to engineer- job completed- job invoiced took 25 mins in total - never known before within our company!"