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From Creation to Invoicing: Using Mobile to Improve Work Order Efficiency

by Doug Ingraham   Jun 19, 2018

work order management system

Mobile in the workplace is growing in popularity; in fact, 60% of employees across industries report using apps for their jobs. This is no doubt because mobile presents many exciting possibilities for the workplace, both in attracting business and in optimizing operations.

In the case of facilities management, mobile apps can be used to automate many historically time-consuming and manual processes, and boost efficiency and effectiveness at most decision points an FM faces each day.

One benefit from an FM mobile approach that delivers substantive results is much greater streamlined work order management, a task that typically requires professionals to switch between computer work and on-the-ground duties. Mobile allows facilities managers to combine these two aspects of their jobs easily and seamlessly so they can schedule, monitor and analyze repair and maintenance on the go.

Benefits of Using Mobile for Work Order Management

Utilizing a mobile app can make the work order process easier in many ways, including:

  • Working from Anywhere: Mobile unchains facilities managers from desks and computers, allowing them to access work order data from any location, at any time. This means that repair and maintenance emergencies can be dealt with immediately, even if they occur when employees are not typically on site.
  • Improved Visibility: With mobile devices, FMs always have access to data no matter where, when, or why they need it, helping them make strategic decisions on the fly.
  • Reduced Site Visits: Traveling between locations for inspections requires a lot of resources: not just facilities managers’ time, but money for travel spend and revenue in lost productivity. Mobile allows FMs to monitor sites virtually through photos, videos and data. When FMs do physically visit sites, mobile gives them the data they need to inspect strategically.
  • Data Collection: Mobile facilities management allows for remote work order data input, meaning that FMs can take notes and enter key information whenever, from wherever. This adds to the organization’s archive of data and helping make informed, data-backed decisions.  
  • Improved Brand Uptime: Universal access via mobile devices means that open work orders are resolved quickly, helping the facility remain in optimal condition. This draws in customers and keeps them coming back again and again, boosting revenue.

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The core benefit of FMs employing mobile apps is improving efficiency in the work order processes, thereby increasing productivity, saving time, and cutting costs.

work order management mobile data collectionLet’s take a more in depth look at how mobile boosts efficiency throughout the work order life cycle:

Step 1: Work Order Creation

The first step in the work order life cycle is creation, and mobile can play a key role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of this task. Through a specialized mobile app, facilities managers can create, edit and assign work orders from anywhere. They can also include images and photos that will help contractors evaluate the problem and come prepared to fix it.

Creating repair and maintenance requests via mobile helps resolve issues quickly, since FMs can request work immediately instead of waiting until they’re back at their computer. Mobile access to facilities management data, including stores of previous work orders across all locations, also makes it simple to hire the right service providers on the go.

Step 2: Contractor Management

Mobile also makes it easier to monitor contractors and work order fulfillment. For example, contractors can take advantage of mobile GPS and IVR check-in apps to let the company know when they’re onsite and attending to issues. Once work is completed, contractors can upload photos or videos to verify the issue is resolved. In certain cases, this feature may be used to alert FMs of additional problems that require attention. When leaving the site, service providers can check out using GPS or IVR.

With these mobile features, FMs can ensure work is done safely, properly and cost-effectively without having to spend their time on-location watching over work completion.

Mobile tools also come into play in managing risk.  With new mobile apps available for on-site staff, site access by service providers can be managed and controlled.  This way, for example, store or restaurant personnel can verify the identity of who’s entering a location, ensure a contractor is whom s/he’s supposed to be and be confident the person even has been background checked, if desired.

Step 3: Auditing & Invoicing

Auditing and invoicing are typically very time-consuming and, when done without advanced technology, prone to human errors. Mobile FM software addresses these challenges by supplying the data and analytics necessary for accurate, efficient auditing and invoicing.

More specifically, facilities managers can define specific audit rules for each department of their organization, including facilities, security and visual merchandising. Mobile software can then perform comprehensive audits and deliver easy-to-interpret analytics, helping FMs understand financial data fully.

Contractors can streamline the invoicing process with mobile by creating invoices from anywhere, typically directly after performing work. FMs can then approve invoices remotely and send them along the pipeline for processing to other departments. For additional efficiency, users can also set invoice automation parameters based on trade, category or amount. This way, invoices that fall within pre-determined guidelines are approved automatically.

Final Thoughts

Technological innovations, including mobile apps, are morphing the facilities management industry and bringing it into the future before our eyes. Keeping up with modern mobile capabilities sets FMs up for continued success, including improved efficiency, greater connectedness and increased revenue.     

National retail chain Charlotte Russe deployed an FM mobile app to streamline work order processes and give their district managers greater data visibility across their enterprise. The results of mobile integration are telling: the brand spent 60 fewer hours per week on work order invoicing and saw a 54% decrease in work order resolution time.

Learn more about how your business can streamline your facilities management processes with mobile FM technology.

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