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Should Field Service Engineers Perform Administrative Tasks?

We’ve had the chance to talk with a lot of service technicians over the years. Every one of them expressed enthusiasm for their line of work: the customer and task diversity, the challenge of puzzling through problems every day, the satisfaction of finding solutions to complex issues.

Field Service Engineers are united on one point: no administrative duties, please!

But inputting data into back office computers after each service appointment is tedious and time-consuming. And noting down important details about repairs, replacements, service agreements and more with pen and paper is not only laborious, but also prone to errors.

It’s easy to argue that service technicians have enough to do in the field without having to worry about administrative details. However, there are some tasks that they are simply best-positioned to perform.

Service technicians are the only ones with firsthand knowledge of what is happening in the field. That means they are the ones most suited to write up field service reports, invoice customers, update replacement part lists, and keep an inventory. They are also the only people with access to important on-site information like measurement data. In many cases, they are also entrusted with providing offers since they have the most insight into customer needs and demands.

And let’s not forget, completing a job from start to finish instills a sense of responsibility and pride for a job well done. Furthermore, working closely with backend employees and relieving them of these tasks creates a sense of camaraderie and team spirit. And both customer satisfaction and corporate revenue benefit substantially from motivated field service workers.

Digitalization Makes Administration Easier and more Complex

However, as corporations digitize evermore processes, rely more and more on cloud computing, and strive towards increased connectivity with IoT solutions, administrative processes are getting increasingly more complex: 

  • Security officers are demanding greater transparency and accountability. They need to be certain that all measures taken on site are in compliance with security standards.
  • Managers anticipate a precise account of all billable hours.
  • Supply chain managers want up-to-the-minute status updates on inventory.
  • Customers are also becoming increasingly more demanding. As their lives have picked up pace thanks to on-demand services, they have come to expect real-time updates and status reports on everything from repair time to service technician arrival.

...and so on!

Managing expectations is probably the biggest challenge in field service.

Be it an industrial customer experiencing an operations standstill while waiting for maintenance, or a customer with a broken toilet at home, one thing holds true: communication and planning are essential.

And the new expectations that have been ushered in with the age of digitalization are not making it any easier for service technicians.

Let SAP Field Service Management Smooth the Path

This is exactly why we relied heavily on input from field service technicians when creating the SAP Field Service Management solution. They were integral in helping us consider the processes best-suited to digitalization and in designing the features of the final product.

When considering the features of SAP FSM, we looked at some of the key areas where a digital solution would make a huge difference: security, inventory management, scheduling, planning, and real-time updates, and analytics.

When it comes to security, the feature not only ensures GDPR compliance, it also implements the strictest security policies and procedures across the board for IaaS and PaaS infrastructures. This includes encryption of our cloud and mobile services, two-factor authentication, and federated identities.

Supply chain managers can rely on the features of SAP FSM to more effectively manage inventory with real-time insight into warehouse and service truck management. This cuts down substantially on the chaos and inefficiency caused by missing parts and increases first-time-fix rates.

The digital scheduling, planning, and real-time update features make it much easier to account for unexpected delays, keep customers informed about progress and completion, and maximize resources. Plus, field service managers enjoy a real-time overview of company performance complete with metrics and analytics thanks to our Dashboard.

We heard the message from field service technicians loud and clear! That is why the SAP Field Service Management solution was created to make administration simple, effective, and beneficial across the company.