The Unbelievable Real Cost of Running a Field Service Business on Paper.

In 2018 the Field Service industry has grown 8% on last year’s estimates, as we are now seeing more businesses expand their sales channels to includes servicing and repair on the products they sell.

Manufacturers and wholesale distributors who are facing increased competitive pressures and diminishing margins are now looking for ways to expand their revenue channels to provide an opportunity for growth.


Expanding into repairs and maintenance services brings many obvious benefits.

When a distributor of the product also takes the lead in providing the ongoing services associated to a product, they will have more control over their ability to ensure that customers are satisfied with their products.  

Field Services gives a wholesaler or manufacturer with an ongoing revenue stream beyond the initial sale. This not only increases total revenue by the customer but also provides a continual stream of business that otherwise would not have existed.

By offering a one-stop shop for customers, field service businesses are more likely to gain market penetration for their products on the back of service levels.

Whilst the benefits are numerous, adding field service offerings for customers increases the operational complexity of a business, and adds another layer of data that needs to be captured, usually in the field.

Most businesses are not equipped to do this, so they initially design manual processing to capture the information while on client sites, and then manually enter this into systems when back in the office. When you look at this strategy in detail, the results are quite alarming.

The Real Cost of Paper

1. Time

On average, a field service technician needs to capture at least 20 points of information about the service case to be able to bill the customer, track inventory consumption, time spent as well as the specific details about the asset or locations being serviced. Most businesses who are new to field service attempt to do this through printed forms, which are then keyed into systems manually later.

Cost Scenario

In simple cost terms, a business with five field technicians who each complete four jobs per day have created around 200 minutes or 3.3 Hours of administration to enter the same information into different systems. Throughout a year, this can add up to over $35,000 worth of additional administration time.

Overhead Cost: Tens of Thousands

2. Customer Service Levels

The second biggest cost to a business running manual field service operations is the impact of poor customer service. In 2018, customers expect automation and immediate results. Field Service Management Solutions that are integrated into your accounting and financial management functions means that you can automate your process, from quoting, work order generation, time sheets management and billing on job completion.
One of the main reasons a customer will try different service providers is if the process of dealing with the current provider increases their workload or isn’t transparent. Even if you are only losing a few customers a year to a competitor, this can easily amount to 10’s of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

We all know the cost of winning a new client is ten times that of retaining an existing client. If your systems aren’t supporting your customer journey positively, you could be handing your customers over to your competitors.

Potential Cost: Hundreds of Thousands

3. Human Error

By far, one of the biggest areas of risk for businesses running paper forms is the potential for human error. Whether it is something as simple as losing a job form, forgetting to add consumed inventory items or forgetting to bill the customer entirely, Field Service businesses are leaving money on the table.

With a Field Service Software, you will be able to ensure that technicians are following a process to ensure every hour is added, every part is paid for, and every customer billed promptly. It might only seem like a spare part here and there or a few missing hours, but when added up, these errors cause significant profit erosion in service-based businesses.

Potential Cost: Tens of Thousands

4. Compliance

More and more, we are seeing the type of information that a business needs to collect is increasing. In most industries managing compliance is one of the biggest strains on resources and presents a huge risk of the mandated requirements are not met. Whilst Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) seem like basic requirements, not collecting this information puts businesses at risk should anything go wrong. By having a Field Service Software that allows for electronic capture of this information in the field, owners can ensure that every job is completed with total compliance with both current legislation, and requirements change.

Potential Cost: Millions

The benefits of an integrated Field Service Management Software Package

  • Data is entered into the system while the technician is on site.
  • Data is live in the back-office system as soon as the technician saves the job.
  • Inventory can be applied and consumed onsite, from their vans.
  • Time is entered directly against the project and signed off by the customer which creates less dispute come time for billing.
  • Employee time is not wasted travelling to and from the office to drop off paper forms.
  • Administrative time is eliminated as there is no need to duplicate data entry into multiple systems.
  • Field technicians can be monitored in the field, to give schedulers better information to schedule resources which are closest to the job which increases efficiency and eliminates wasted travel time.
  • Visibility across all utilisation is maximised with the ability to spot when things are not going right.

NextService users have a single platform of technology to manage their entire operation, from sales and CRM, through accounting and finance, job scheduling and dispatch and field-based job completion.

If you would like to find out more about how NextService, a native NetSuite Field Service Management solution can help your business, then contact one of our team members today.

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