Making the case for ERP in a field service-led organisation
If you operate a field service-led organisation you will know just how competitive the industry is. The secret to success within any field service-led organisation; is creating repeat business. The undisputed way to ensure repeat business is customer satisfaction – but how do you keep your customers happy?
In your organisation your employees will operate remotely, and it will be them who, on the whole, have the direct contact with the customer. A field service-led organisation needs to go the extra mile with customer service to ensure customer retention.
Customer service needs to be implemented throughout your organisation’s culture and one way to do this is to invest in an ERP system. ERP systems can address a vast array of scenarios that you will find in your organisation; from enabling you to streamline processes, open up new ways to track and monitor operations in real time, increase efficiencies and reduce waste – all with the ultimate goal of serving the customer.
On paper, ERP is the ideal software solution for a field service organisation. However, it can be difficult to get-buy in for an ERP project. When puling a business case together consider the four main questions?
- What’s the problem?
- What’s the solution?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the costs?
Start by identifying the weaknesses with your existing process and then find practical ways in which an ERP solution can address them. Particularly seek out systems that have dedicated field service modules.
What are the current processes that your organisation uses to manage its field workers and what are its fundamental weaknesses? For instance, slow and mistake ridden processes, lack of management visibility, duplication etc.
Pay attention to the wider issues that can be caused be inefficiencies too, such as the impact on safety, compliance and worker morale.
Provide an overview of each proposed software solution
Detail how each software option works and its benefits. This should include if the solution is on-premises, hosted or cloud based. It should highlight the ways that mobile worker movements can be managed and tracked using apps.
Clearly list the benefits
Make it clear how each software solution addresses system weaknesses and delivers quantifiable benefits.
Where at all possible, provide time and cost estimates to show a clear idea of the scale of improvements to be expected. For instance, this could be % reduced paper costs, all reporting within a set time frame, or reducing invoice processing times by a set number of days.
These estimates should form the foundation to calculate a projected ROI for the software rollout.
Identify any challenges
An ERP system which addresses your organisation’s needs does however come with a number of challenges that must be highlighted to present a well-considered business case. These includedisruption during implementation, frustration with the new system that can be seen as difficult to use as well as an extensive outlay in expense.
Ensure you balance out the business case and be honest about potential hurdles that need to be overcome.
Set-out an implementation plan
With these challenges, buy in from all employees and senior executives in your organisation will be essential for a successful implementation. To tackle the challenges identified, a clear plan should set-out detailing how the rollout will be handled to minimise the risk of disruption and to ensure that all employees have the guidance, knowledge and training they require.
Many organisations use a phased implementation approach to reduce these risks. A good solution provider will be able to provide the support and resources needed to ensure a managed and smooth transition.
If you’d like to discuss your field service software requirements with a consultancy with a track record delivering best practice solutions to this sector, then get in touch. APH would love to hear from you.