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The Future of Service is Here: 7 Game-Changing Field Service Management Trends

May 1, 2024

Field service management trends

The way we handle the field services business is changing  — and fast. 

From drones surveying construction sites to predictive maintenance anticipating equipment failure in advance, technology continues to evolve and integrate deeper into construction workflows.

Although there is a staggering 75% labor shortage in the US, the market size for field service management is seeing unprecedented growth and is expected to reach $8.59 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 11.70%.

Field service management primarily involves dispatching trained workers or contractors to off-site locations to deliver services to clients, such as equipment installations, maintenance, or repairs. Behind the scenes, managers oversee the organization's field resources and coordinate the tasks performed by these professionals.

However, even the most proficient field workers require guidance and basic administrative support. Proper field service management enhances retention rates, yields cost savings, and elevates the customer experience. 

Let’s look at the trends driving the growth in this industry.

Field service management trends: how will it transform the landscape?

Staying abreast of industry trends is advantageous. By actively monitoring emerging technologies and evolving customer expectations, companies can adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics and remain relevant and responsive to customer needs. 

Moreover, by embracing trends, companies can improve service delivery and gain a significant competitive advantage.

The industry is undergoing a big change driven by technological progress and a growing need for efficient service delivery. As we step into 2024, several trends in the field service management industry are reshaping how organizations function and interact with their clientele.

Here are the seven key trends that will dominate the field service industry.

1. Geofencing for automatic time tracking

Manual or paper-based methods for time tracking are now becoming outdated. The industry is shifting to automated time tracking while also leveraging location tracking.

An emerging aspect of automated time tracking is geofencing. Geofencing uses GPS to establish a virtual perimeter around predefined areas, such as works sites. It functions akin to a digital fence, alerting administrators through notifications when individuals enter or exit such areas. It provides real-time updates on personnel activities at each location and eliminates guesswork and costly errors in crew management.   

Interactive voice response (IVR) and QR codes offer additional flexibility to time tracking.

IVR systems allow employees to clock in and out using a simple phone call, which can be particularly beneficial for remote field workers without access to computers or smartphones. This method enables real-time tracking of work hours through voice commands or keypad inputs.

On the other hand, QR code-based time tracking involves employees scanning a unique QR code upon arrival at and departure from the work site. This method verifies the location and time of employee attendance. This further ensures accountability and compliance in environments where employees might work across multiple locations within a job site/building or need to record time spent on specific tasks or projects.

On the administrative side, managers can save time with reduced paperwork. However, while these advancements streamline administrative processes, it is important to consider potential challenges like data privacy and security and prepare with ways to mitigate them.

The manager dashboard can visualize employee check-in data, which helps identify trends. This data can aid in identifying trends in employee behavior and refining work schedules for optimization purposes. 

Manager dashboard showing employee check-in data.
Source: allGeo

Geofenced time tracking in facilities management industry

The facilities management industry can greatly benefit from geofenced time tracking apps, particularly in scenarios requiring precise monitoring of on-site activities. Let us consider the case of a commercial property management company responsible for maintaining multiple office buildings across a city. 

With geofenced time tracking, the company can efficiently manage their maintenance staff dispersed across various locations.

For instance, imagine a property manager needing to schedule routine maintenance tasks, such as HVAC inspections, at one of their office buildings. By using a geofence time tracking app, the manager can designate specific geofenced zones around each building. When maintenance technicians arrive at the designated area, the app automatically triggers their time clock, accurately recording their arrival and departure times.

Moreover, in the event of emergencies or urgent repair requests, geofenced time tracking enables the property manager to quickly identify and dispatch the nearest available technician to the affected building.

Geofencing technology allows the facilities management company to optimize resource allocation and minimize response times.

While geofencing time tracking presents clear benefits in the facilities management industry, potential limitations may arise with its implementation. Factors such as GPS accuracy and signal interference may impact response times.

These issues can be mitigated with proper planning and integration of measures like strategically placing GPS antennas or using signal amplifiers for GPS signal optimization. 

2. Focus on employee experience and worker safety

According to OSHA, there were 5,486 work-related fatalities, translating to a rate of 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Lone workers operating in remote locations struggle to access assistance following accidents. This statistic is alarming, as such incidents are entirely avoidable. 

In light of these alarming statistics, there has been an increased focus on employee experience and safety. Coupled with stricter compliance and regulation requirements, lone worker safety apps are taking precedence over traditional safety measures. 

Despite the advancements in safety equipment and gears, a primary challenge is the diverse nature of lone work environments, which varies by location, industry, and task complexity. Protective wear may not suffice in all situations.

Employers must consider factors such as access to threat escalation, communication, and employee privacy concerns when implementing lone worker safety measures.

This is where technological solutions become indispensable. Lone worker safety management encompasses safeguarding individuals who operate independently, without direct oversight or immediate aid.

A lone worker safety app offers a comprehensive solution by combining GPS tracking, two-way communication, and emergency response features into a single platform. 

Safety apps for worker protection in construction industry

In the construction industry, workers often find themselves in hazardous situations, such as working at heights, in confined spaces, or with heavy machinery. 

In 2022, workers in construction and extraction occupations experienced the second-highest number of fatalities, totaling 1,056, among all occupation groups. The fatality rate for this occupation group rose from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2021 to 13.0 in 2022.

If a lone worker encounters danger on a construction site, like dropping a tool and nearly falling off the scaffold, they can trigger the SOS alarm on their safety app. Some apps facilitate this feature by simply pressing the phone's power button four times. This immediately alerts emergency contacts and the central monitoring system. 

Further, the worker can be quickly located on the construction site with a GPS tracking system that allows real-time monitoring.

The lone worker safety app automatically logs the triggering of the SOS alarm, providing a digital record of the emergency incident. Additionally, safety apps typically offer digital checklists and incident reporting tools, enabling construction companies to maintain records of safety inspections, hazard assessments, and incident investigations, all essential for OSHA compliance.

3. Real-time monitoring 

Real-time monitoring in field services is becoming increasingly crucial with the demand for quick decision-making. Field service professionals, remote workers, and project managers require immediate access to information from the field to optimize operations and ensure project success.

Traditional methods, such as paper reporting and manual data entry into spreadsheets, often result in delays and errors.

Real-time monitoring software streamlines data collection and reporting processes, allowing for instant access to critical information. By securely entering data from the field into a centralized platform, redundant data entry is eliminated, reducing costs and increasing profitability.

Moreover, the data collected through real-time monitoring can be used to identify trends and patterns of employee activity. This helps companies prevent fraud, time theft, and loss of productive hours.

Real-time monitoring shows the location of the field service agents.

Source: allGeo

Real-time monitoring in home healthcare industry

Real-time monitoring plays a significant role in the home healthcare industry. It can give managers valuable insights into caregiver activities, which helps ensure the quality and accuracy of the services delivered to the patients.

 With a real-time monitoring system, managers can track caregivers’ location, verify their arrival and departure times at each patient's residence, and monitor the services provided in real-time. For instance, if a caregiver claims to have spent several hours with a patient, but their location data indicates otherwise, it raises a red flag for potential fraudulent activity.

Moreover, real-time monitoring allows managers to cross-reference caregiver schedules with patient visits, ensuring services are delivered accurately and billed as scheduled. Any discrepancies or irregularities can be promptly addressed, preventing fraudulent claims for services not rendered.

The ability to detect and prevent fraud in real time safeguards the business's financial integrity and upholds its reputation for delivering reliable and ethical care to vulnerable individuals and their families.

4. Predictive analytics for resource planning 

Predictive analytics is revolutionizing resource planning for field service management. Organizations are identifying and leveraging patterns inherent in data to uncover both risks and opportunities. By analyzing historical data and using advanced algorithms, it can forecast service demands, optimize resource allocation, and enhance operational efficiency.

For instance, predictive analytics can analyze historical data on technician performance, customer service requests, and equipment maintenance schedules to anticipate potential issues or service needs. This approach enables field service managers to ensure the right technician is dispatched to each job.

A job scheduling app enhanced with predictive analytics capabilities revolutionizes scheduling optimization by leveraging historical data on employee performance, job locations, and service demands to forecast future scheduling needs accurately.

With features like dispatching shift details and real-time monitoring, businesses can efficiently allocate resources and make data-driven decisions to maximize workforce productivity.

Dashboard using predictive analysis to analyze historical data on technician performance.

Source: allGeo

Predictive analytics in janitorial services

For a janitorial services business, predictive analytics can analyze historical data on cleaning requirements, such as the frequency and duration of tasks at different locations, seasonal variations, and special event schedules. Based on this analysis, the app can precisely anticipate future cleaning demands.

Suppose historical data shows that a particular office building experiences increased foot traffic and spills during certain times of the year. In that case, the app can proactively schedule additional cleaning shifts during those periods to address the demand.

Additionally, the app optimizes scheduling by considering employee availability, proximity to job locations, and skill sets. Some software also provides for bulk uploading of schedules for multiple locations and employees, eliminating manual errors and streamlining the scheduling process.

5. Third-party integration

In the field service management industry, using multiple platforms for employee data management has posed several challenges, such as manual data handling and uploading, which can lead to errors and inconsistencies across platforms.

Additionally, managing separate platforms can cause data fragmentation. Therefore, businesses are now opting for applications with third-party integration capabilities to streamline data management and preserve legacy data.

By leveraging integration capabilities, workforce management software automates manual and time-consuming processes. 

It even offers numerous benefits, including improved data accuracy, efficiency, and decision-making. It transforms employee data management processes, from onboarding to ongoing management, into streamlined and effective workflows, driving business success and growth.

Payroll integration with third-party providers

One example of third-party integration is with popular payroll management systems. Integrating with a dedicated payroll platform allows for a seamless exchange of employee data, schedules, attendance records, and field activity logs in both directions. This real-time integration automates the transmission of payroll-related information from the field service application to the payroll system, reducing the need for manual input.

Users can efficiently track time spent on tasks, jobs, and customer engagements, aiding in labor estimation and job costing. The system supports the generation of scheduled and ad-hoc reports based on various parameters such as employee groups, customers, and work orders.

Customizable configurations for overtime and double overtime rules are available to streamline payroll management. Through this integration, time clock and payroll data are harmoniously synchronized, bolstering operational efficiency across the payroll and field service operations.Dashboard showing clock in and clock out times, total hours, and hourly wages of employees.

Source: allGeo

ERP integration for job costing efficiency

The integration of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with job costing software or modules enables a company to automatically transfer and update information related to costs, resources, labor, and materials associated with specific jobs or projects directly within the ERP system. This integration allows the company to estimate and bill their clients for specific projects accurately.

This integrated approach allows construction managers to see a comprehensive view of all costs associated with a project, including labor, materials, and overhead, in real time.

6. Field data collection 

Field data collection trends have evolved in response to technological advancements, enterprise requirements, and market dynamics. Regulatory mandates are also pushing companies to adopt more rigorous data collection practices. 

Businesses are shifting to mobile solutions that enable real-time synchronization with central databases, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Field inspectors can effortlessly collect diverse data types, such as tasks, notes, QR scans, signatures, and photo uploads, all within the same mobile platform. This transition from traditional paper forms accelerates the data collection process but also saves valuable time and resources.

Smart forms add another layer of sophistication to time tracking and workforce management. These dynamic digital forms adapt based on the input they receive, guiding users through a customized workflow to capture detailed and relevant information efficiently. 

For instance, a smart form for a construction firm's site manager could change the questions it presents based on the type of work being reported, such as electrical, plumbing, or structural, ensuring that only pertinent information is collected for each job.

This trend underscores how companies leverage mobile technology in field services to optimize operations, improve data accuracy, and ultimately deliver superior service to clients.

Data collection using mobile forms

In a utilities company tasked with inspecting and maintaining electrical infrastructure, mobile forms play a pivotal role in collecting real-time data to ensure operational efficiency and safety. Equipping field technicians with mobile devices loaded with customized inspection forms enables them to record critical data on the condition of equipment and identify potential issues promptly. 

For instance, technicians can input information such as equipment status, meter readings, and observations directly into the mobile forms during routine inspections. If any anomalies or potential hazards are detected, technicians can immediately flag them in the form, triggering alerts for further action. 

This proactive approach not only enhances the safety and reliability of the infrastructure but also empowers the company to plan maintenance activities, minimize downtime, and ensure seamless operations.  

7. Artificial intelligence for workforce optimization

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications have changed the dynamics of every industry. AI-driven tools utilize advanced algorithms to analyze vast data and streamline workforce management processes. For instance, AI can be utilized to forecast labor demand and optimize scheduling and resource allocation.

Examples of AI-driven workforce optimization tools include software that forecasts staffing needs based on historical data and real-time insights. Additionally, scheduling platforms automatically generate optimized schedules, considering factors like employee preferences, skills, and availability.

While integrating AI into workforce management offers numerous benefits, such as improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced decision-making, there are potential challenges to consider, too.

These include data privacy concerns, the need for skilled personnel to manage AI systems, and ensuring transparency and fairness in AI-driven decision-making processes.

Nevertheless, the use of AI in workforce optimization holds immense promise in driving organizational success and competitiveness in the field service industry.

Future of field service management with AI

The future of AI holds immense potential for revolutionizing workforce management practices in the field services industry. 

As AI technology advances, businesses can anticipate more sophisticated solutions that will automate complex decision-making processes, optimize resource allocation, and enhance scheduling and routing efficiency. 

Additionally, AI-driven predictive maintenance capabilities will enable field service companies to anticipate and prevent equipment failures, minimizing downtime and elevating customer satisfaction.

By leveraging AI-driven insights and automation, companies can expect to streamline their workforce optimization efforts, improve productivity, and drive business success in the evolving digital landscape.

Impact of field service management trends on major industries

Let’s look at some of the industries that are impacted by these field service management trends.

1. Construction

Emerging technologies like drones, autonomous vehicles, and robotics are revolutionizing the productivity of construction workers. Construction firms are streamlining tasks and reducing manual labor using these technologies. Collaborative robots further boost efficiency by assisting workers in repetitive tasks, while advanced materials and construction techniques accelerate project timelines and promote sustainability.

Workforce management software simultaneously manages inspection, monitoring, and safety. The construction management software market is projected to grow substantially, with an estimated value set to reach $15.20 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 9.33% during the forecast period. 

This expansion aligns with the burgeoning landscape of SaaS businesses, numbering approximately 17,000 in the United States alone last year, collectively serving over 59 billion customers worldwide.

2. Home healthcare

The integration of electronic health records (EHR) systems, AI, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) is significantly transforming home healthcare workforce management. It improves patient care quality and optimizes workforce productivity by automating routine tasks.

Advanced electronic visit verification systems offer centralized and secure platforms for meeting compliance requirements and patient data management. Healthcare providers can access real-time patient information, streamlining care delivery and reducing administrative burdens.

AI and machine learning technologies enhance diagnostics and predictive capabilities, enabling early disease detection and more accurate patient outcome predictions. 

Furthermore, IoT devices such as smart scales, blood pressure monitors, and glucose meters enable remote patient monitoring, providing healthcare professionals with comprehensive insights into patient health status and facilitating proactive interventions.

3. Facilities management

Facilities management is experiencing a shift toward preventive and predictive maintenance strategies driven by equipment monitoring tools and data analytics. Intelligent tools for asset performance tracking and predictive maintenance enable facility managers to identify and address potential equipment failures, enhancing operational efficiency and safety. 

Along with these advancements, software solutions for tracking assets and mobilizing teams are also becoming part of workforce management. These solutions enable managers to pinpoint problems within buildings and schedule maintenance during non-peak hours, minimizing disruptions to occupants. 

By adopting preventive measures through real-time location intelligence, facilities management teams can mitigate overhead costs and reduce business downtime, ultimately optimizing workforce productivity and resource allocation.

The future is now: embracing change in field service management

The trends discussed, ranging from the integration of emerging technologies like drones and AI in field operations to the emphasis on sustainable practices and data-driven decision-making, underscore a pivotal shift in field service management. By embracing these transformative trends, businesses stand poised to revolutionize their operations, elevating efficiency, service quality, and competitiveness in the market. 

To navigate this dynamic landscape successfully, it is imperative for organizations to remain agile, invest in innovation, and remain attuned to evolving customer demands. Through proactive adaptation and strategic implementation, businesses can not only meet the challenges of today but also thrive amidst the opportunities of tomorrow in the field service management industry.

Looking to hire top talent for your field service technician team? Explore five effective recruitment strategies to find the best candidates for the job!

Edited by Supanna Das

Field Service Management Software
Field service simplified

From scheduling and dispatching to inventory management and customer communication, field service management software delivers exceptional service efficiently.

Field Service Management Software
Field service simplified

From scheduling and dispatching to inventory management and customer communication, field service management software delivers exceptional service efficiently.

The Future of Service is Here: 7 Game-Changing Field Service Management Trends Stay ahead of the curve with insights into seven key field services management trends and actionable strategies to boost efficiency.
Mani Narayan Mani Narayan is the VP of marketing at Abaqus, which provides a highly configurable enterprise-grade allGeo platform for field service management. Mani brings over 20 years of experience in B2B strategic and product marketing, demand generation, and corporate marketing management in the enterprise & SMB SaaS space. Previously, he was VP of Marketing at Jitterbit and Director, Demand Generation & Marketing Operations at Intermedia.

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