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Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: February 14, 2017

Dispatching is a crucial function of field service software. So much so that some products focus exclusively in this one area. These systems typically include features for route planning, scheduling services and managing work orders, among other dispacthing-specfic activities. 

With that in mind, we’ve created this buyer’s guide, just to address the specific functions of this particular application for the field service market. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Service Dispatch Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
The Vendor Landscape
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Service Dispatch Software?

These dispatch scheduling systems perform the crucial functions that are associated with sending technicians into the field to solve customer support issues that can’t be handled remotely. This covers myriad industries including construction, plumbing, HVAC, home and mobile auto repair, among others. Using technology that’s specifically designed for this purpose can result in massive improvements in scheduling efficiency and customer satisfaction, reducing costs and increasing the bottom line.

Features of dispatching software include:

  • Work order management. Create work orders with names, addresses and relevant notes, and assign them to workers in the field based on availability, proximity, urgency, level of expertise or other essential factors. Many systems also allow the dispatcher to track work order completion when used in conjunction with a mobile application.
  • Customer qualification. Provide the technician with all relevant customer information to complete the job, including work history and equipment model numbers.
  • Route planning. Organize work calls by location to reduce travel time, reducing fuel expenses and increasing the number of calls that can be scheduled per day. Many systems use a GPS to map routes, and some can prioritize directions according to time of day and traffic.
  • Scheduling. Send the right technician to the right job at a time they’re available, and efficiently combine crews where multiple technicians or fleets might be needed. This basically centralizes all of your workers schedules into one module. The dispatcher can see everyone's availability, as well as what time they will be where. If a job suddenly comes up, the manager can quickly see who is available closest to the last minute job.
  • Signature capture. Allow workers to capture paperless signatures in the field using handheld electronic devices. This can be done through a mobile application on a smartphone, or a touch-screen tablet. 
  • Inventory control. Ensure that your drivers always arrive to a call with the parts they’ll need to close the ticket. Workers can also log what parts are used during the call to better track assets on hand. Or, they can check inventory remotely if a part is needed that isn't currently on the job site. 

A full field dispatcher software suite may integrate dispatch solutions with other essential functions, including help desk, contract management, forecasting and reporting, equipment tracking, failure analysis, accounting and more.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

When it comes to dispatch systems, there are basically two types of buyers:

Dispatch-only buyers. Small businesses looking to move beyond Microsoft Outlook, spreadsheets or even whiteboards and sticky notes to add a higher level of management capabilities may want just a simple dispatch program. This will provide a solution to basic dispatching needs without the extra financial burden of unnecessary features.

Enterprise buyers. Large organizations with multiple fleets that need to integrate across other company functions—including sales, accounting, inventory control and more—may want a more in-depth solution that combines all these applications into one. These buyers should look at CRM enterprise solutions that caters to work in the field. 

The Vendor Landscape

This type of buyer... Should evaluate these systems
Dispatch-only  HindSite Solution, Service Skeds
Field service  DataForma, FieldOne Terra, FieldOne Sky, HindSite Solution, FieldAware 
Enterprise  FieldOne Sky, ServicePro by MSI Data

Market Trends to Understand

Mobile. With the explosion of the mobile device market over the last decade, dispatch technology vendors would be remiss if they didn’t provide some way for dispatchers and technicians to interact through the mobile environment. Mobile device applications provide any number of unique functions, including GPS directions/tracking, checking in/out upon arrival or closing the ticket, uploading photos for field support, parts transfer between trucks and more.

Web-based interfaces. Rather than a dedicated software program, many products are shifting to a Web-based interface, which let users access information from anywhere. These systems can also have special logins for partners and allow customers to schedule their own appointments. This is particularly useful for very large companies with multiple fleets and many workers that all need to access the same information, in real-time while offsite.


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