Field Management Methods and how Software Helps


How important is control to you?
Field managers must keep their respective sectors running efficiently. It’s challenging because their responsibilities aren’t executed in a controlled environment such as an office. On clients’ premises, high quality products and services must be delivered at all times—despite unpredictable factors.
These environmental challenges are combined with managing personalities, schedules and queries of field workers. No matter the scope of the work, reaching a goal can be challenging.
Is this even a realistic goal?
This is what sets field managers apart from other positions. They make this possible. If you can perform in this role, be proud of yourself.
But what if field management could be easier?
Since technology is supposed to make our lives easier, shouldn’t you be able to apply it in your field?
This article takes a look at how these two spheres—field work and modern technology—can work together towards even more successful projects.
Is it possible?

Field Management Explained

Field management—or field service management—is relevant to many industries. Where work is required away from a company’s central office field workers need to be dispatched:

  • Health care: Mobile clinics or nurses tending to the elderly at their homes instead of in a hospital.
  • Public service: Electricity, telecommunication or water infrastructures require installations or repairs on users’ properties or government land.
  • Specialized services: Many professionals such as builders or cleaners don’t simply sell a product. They must install, repair or create on clients’ premises.

You can see field management applies to many spheres.

The Challenges of Field Management

Challenges for Managers
Let’s look at it from the client’s perspective. Have you ever been frustrated with work received on your premises? Low quality services can often be traced to field managers who can’t manage all their responsibilities coming from a wide range of activities:

  • Schedules: An excellent field manager can draw up dynamic schedules. He or she knows how many workers are required for each job. Workers are shuffled between premises so the maximum amount of work is done.
  • Routes: Nothing in a worker’s day is left to chance. This minimizes risk. Effective field managers plan workers’ routes to control:
    • Time spent on travelling
    • Fuel expenses
  • You’re the link between workers and an office: Field workers are important for branding purposes and public opinion. They must stay positive about the company and communicate this attitude to clients. An excellent field manager makes workers feel part of a large unit despite not seeing much of other office employees. He or she also communicates relevant client information to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Equipment: Field managers must ensure their crews have all tools and resources on hand. What if something breaks or goes out of stock? Field managers must be prepared for any eventuality.
  • Inventory: While certain stock responsibilities lie with field crews a manager still has the responsibility of keeping inventory and reporting on this to superiors.
  • Clients:You may be the most effortless communication channel for a client. Field manager must represent the company and protect workers from discussion that don’t apply to their job description.

All these responsibilities require skills such as:

  • Administration
  • People skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Planning
  • Excellent communication

Any one of these areas can cause unpredicted challenges. How can field managers handle this effectively?

Methods used by Managers
For planning and problem solving there are customary manual methods:

  • Face to face communication between clients, managers, office workers and field workers.
  • Written reports from managers and workers
  • Job scheduling using paper, white boards or spreadsheets.
  • Workers’ schedules—job tickets—distributed on paper. Usually the whole day’s work is printed out and given at one time.

Isn’t this an area where technology can make an impact?

Challenges for Employees
A field manager has no value if there are no crews to organize. It’s imperative crews stay positive but they easily experience frustrations.
When a field manager tends to various crews his or her attention will be divided. What if a manager’s authority, knowledge or signature is needed? If he or she can’t answer queries instantly, work is delayed.
This is exacerbated when clients interfere with the crews’ work:

  • Clients get upset when work is delayed.
  • Clients can create challenges or request changes. Handling changes in job outlines falls outside the guidelines of a worker.

This can turn challenges into serious problems.

Challenges for Clients
Clients love personal service. Can you keep up with all their requirements?

  • Without regular updates they may feel frustrated.
  • If they’re queries aren’t tended to they will fear they’re wasting their money.

You don’t want your customers’ perception ruining your reputation.
Well managed businesses keep them informed. An excellent custom is to send representatives to meet with them in person. In most cases this responsibility rests on a field manager.
Yes this is an excellent example of good customer service. But is this a dynamic answer?
Can technology not provide more effective—less time consuming—ways to handle customers?

Why Field Managers can’t Ignore the Latest Software

I’ve shown you field management from various perspectives. If you know a little about technology you probably know how it can benefit this role.
But do you realize how it can revolutionize this position? These few ideas are simply the tip of the iceberg.

Available Software
Do you know how computers and software improved exponentially in the last 30 years? The solutions they provide is popular in every sphere. If you’re not using it yet you’re running a risk of falling behind the competition.
I bet someone already tried solving the problem you struggle with most. And software is developed by experts so all your requirements will be met:

  • Software is user friendly so even novices can use it.
  • Software is fast so it doesn’t defeat the purpose of saving time.
  • One program can handle many tasks. You don’t need various applications to cover all your responsibilities:
    • Tend to general management procedures
    • Enhance communication on virtual platforms
    • Enable improved customer care services
    • Generate field management requirements such as work schedules automatically

Can you see the correct software packages counters all your challenges?
And you don’t have to be concerned with implementation. Software is usually installed quickly and you’ll see results fast. Your teams can enjoy more effective functioning as early as tomorrow.
Why is software programs so effective in solving field work problems?

The Software Solutions Field Managers can Enjoy
For the complicated role of field manager software has many qualities you’ve been looking for.

Software Manages on Your Behalf
We tend to laugh at futuristic movies where robots govern the world. The truth is software can already take tasks off your hands:

  • Be reminded of appointments and responsibilities.
  • Let field workers leave reports on virtual platforms. You can access it via your Smartphone or computer. You have progress information on hand at all times. Because you don’t have to ask for updates software simplifies managing.

Many tasks field managers are responsible for can be automated so you require less manual calculations and face to face contact:

  • Analysis of a sales team’s performance.
  • Assign tasks on a virtual platform to minimize misunderstandings.
  • Field service management software can generate work schedules and distribute them electronically.
  • Software helps you plan routes while taking traffic problems into consideration. With the software you can help teams navigate out of traffic congestion.
  • Field management software keeps data about a team’s fleet usage. Drivers’ actions are monitored so there’s no chance of abusing the fleet for personal use.
  • Managers manage workers. Field management software stores data about employees’ performance, task completion and more. It’s like having a digital HR assistant. You can determine problem areas. Tend to it before it implicates the quality of service delivery.

Yes software can do all of this for you.
Online management systems allow your teams to log into the system too. All they require can be stored there so they’re never without the resources they need.
Manual methods can leave field managers feeling overwhelmed. Do you sometimes feel you can put only the bare necessities in place?
Expert software empowers you to manage workers to do more. You develop from monitoring to managing.

Software Reduces Paperwork
Ordinarily paper is used for all field work tasks:

  • Job tickets
  • Reports
  • Schedule updates
  • Client addresses and information

Software—especially programs that are available on mobile platforms—can contain all this information. Workers can download it onto their Smartphones. They don’t even have to visit an office anymore. Now workers have even more time to attend to jobs.

Software Saves Time
When you’re a field manager you have to manage everyone’s time. Luckily software helps you do this better:

  • Be empowered to tend to each project effectively. With software you can handle problems while travelling. You lose less time travel and get more done.
  • Software also helps deal with tasks—such as reports—faster than usual.
  • Software packages help you generate work tickets so workers use their days optimally. The software determines the best allocation and routes.
  • When all employees can access information a worker never has an excuse that he or she waited for feedback.
  • Communication happens faster so problems are dealt with faster. Timelines can be shorter which will please clients. Reply to client queries faster because you have feedback from workers on hand.

Faster response and work timelines keep customers positive about projects and your business.

Software and the Client
Management is all about keeping clients happy. And yes software even helps you there.
We tend to think technology makes situations feel more clinical. The opposite is true if you use it correctly.
Software applications help you communicate effortlessly with any client at any time. Via Smartphones or apps your clients are informed of developments:

  • Because your reports are based on updated information you communicate efficiency and professionalism.
  • Because technology makes communication easy your clients perceive it as working closely—personal—together.

And what about when things go wrong? Clients are more accepting of bad news when they’re informed without asking. Make sure your updates stay one step ahead of your clients’ concerns. You can do this when your workers submit progress reports from where they’re working.
With software you don’t have to wait until your next site visit to handle these situations. All relevant information is available to you 24/7. At a moment’s notice you can supply clients with details from your office, workers and suppliers.

Software Makes You Mobile
Do you ever feel torn between situations? While one team faces supply challenges another is talking to an upset client.
Which do you tend to?
Firstly, software programs will probably prevent these situations from happening.
But if they occur you can tend to them simultaneously because your software makes you mobile.
Communicate with suppliers without being at the office. Track the shipments to give workers updated information and enable future planning.
Talk to your client—while you travel to the site—with the correct information in hand. You can handle it from the comfort of your vehicle so no travel time is wasted anymore.

Software Places You Anywhere Anytime
You don’t even need time travel if you use the correct software programs.
You become a remote office that manages various projects from wherever you are. This means you take care of your field workers’ and clients’ concerns stated above.

Will you get ahead of the game? There’s really no alternative. If you want to increase—or regain—your sense of control software is your answer. It’s not even about meeting the requirements of your job description. In the evolving world we live in people constantly demand better, faster service. You need software to match these requirements. Which of your responsibilities will you revolutionize first?

About the Author:


Povilas V. Dudonis is a serial entrepreneur and likes to dig deep into methods and processes of business operations to find ways to reach maximum performance