Maintenance management is already a challenging task on its own, but when you add the complexity of working in remote locations, it becomes a whole different beast. That beast is referred to as field service management, or FSM for short. Like any other management practice, field service management involves various complex processes, and to optimize these processes, it’s crucial to understand the ideal FSM workflow. This means anything from receiving a service request or work order to updating maintenance and financial records for everything you work on.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the basics of field service management and how you can use them as a foundation to build better processes for your organization.

What is Field Service Management?

Field service management refers to the practice of coordinating a company’s resources—think employees and equipment—for tasks that occur outside of the company’s usual turf. This covers everything from consultations and sales to repairs, customer support, and regular inspections.

Components of Field Service Management

Field service management involves strategically deploying a workforce or external contractors outside a company’s premises. This specialized domain includes coordinating tasks such as installation, maintenance, and repairs for various equipment, systems, or assets. Field service managers play a key role in efficiently overseeing an organization’s field resources and coordinating the efforts of practitioners providing tailored services to clients.

Key activities within field service management include:

  1. Field Service Scheduling:

    People who do field service scheduling arrange schedules, set up appointments, and make sure everyone knows what needs to get done. This keeps the workflow free of unnecessary or unplanned interruptions.

  2. Field Service Dispatch Management:

    Field service dispatch management involves coordinating dispatch activities. This is done by strategically assigning field service technicians or specialists to their respective work assignments, ensuring a timely and streamlined execution of tasks.

  3. Work Order Management:

    When you’re managing work orders, you’re overseeing the entire lifecycle of service tasks, from assignment and monitoring to oversight and customer invoicing. This process is crucial for maintaining a structured approach to service delivery.

  4. Inventory Management:

    You never want to find yourself out of a crucial inventory item – that’s why inventory management is important. This means carefully managing inventory by tracking all parts and supplies, strategically moving products, continuously monitoring usage, and making real-time adjustments to maintain a well-stocked inventory.

  5. Field Service Contract Management:

    Field service contract management ensures you’re maintaining your contractual agreements with your customers and clients, including meeting established service level agreements (SLAs) like a pro.

Why is Field Service Important?

Some companies offer a myriad of field services, which means they’re handling a mix of jobs, tools and people. Take a field service manager at a company selling home healthcare equipment, for instance. Their to-do list might include:

  • Sorting out sales meetings and presentations
  • Dispatching tech experts to set up and check equipment
  • Keeping tabs on how the team is doing out in the field

Keeping all these moving parts running smoothly requires a considerable amount of tracking, organizing, updating, and streamlining. That’s where field service management comes in. Without a central system keeping these tasks in check, running a tight ship would be pretty much impossible.


Field Service Management Industry Applications


In manufacturing, technicians are the unsung heroes, ensuring machines stay in top-notch shape through preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance. They troubleshoot problems with warranty-covered equipment across diverse sectors like automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, and industrial products.


Professionals in transportation need a comprehensive handle on assets and inventory. From managing fuel and monitoring driver logs to tracking spare parts, scheduling bays, and staying on top of various factors, they ensure the smooth operation of rail, road, and air traffic.

Energy and Utilities

In the energy and utilities sector, technicians grapple with geospatial data for remote assets. They navigate complex crew schedules to prioritize and efficiently execute high-priority, time-sensitive tasks.

Oil and Gas

Safety, reliability, compliance, and performance are top priorities in the oil and gas industries. Companies in this sector aim for cost savings by standardizing and streamlining field service maintenance practices, maintaining a uniform approach to these critical aspects.

Benefits of Field Service Management

If you’ve implemented field service management solutions before, you’ve likely witnessed the seamless integration of data from your enterprise asset management systems and real-time field data. This powerful combination enhances your company’s resource management capabilities because it helps you track, store, and act on reliable, current data throughout your organization.

Here’s why it matters:

  1. Increased Uptime: Spot necessary repairs early in an asset’s life cycle, ensuring consistent operations, high-performance levels, and minimal downtime.
  2. Faster Repairs, Higher Success Rates: Assign the right technician to the job and equip them with precise data on a unified platform, resulting in a shorter mean time to repair and improve first-time fix rates.
  3. Empowered Technicians: Provide field service technicians with remote assistance and mobile capabilities, enhancing safety, compliance, troubleshooting efficiency, and task completion.
  4. Reduced Costs: Utilize data and insights to schedule maintenance tasks at optimal times and most effectively, ultimately cutting down on field service costs.
  5. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Monitor technician performance to ensure alignment with customer expectations. Respond promptly to concerns or unexpected delays, contributing to increased customer satisfaction and fulfilment of established SLAs.

Challenges of Field Service Management

Just like any other type of management, field service management comes with its fair share of challenges. Leading maintenance technicians might find themselves in a bit of a bind, dealing with issues like high turnover rates, workforce skill gaps, rising operational costs, and a lack of technology needed to handle complex assets and growing service demands. The trick to tackling these hurdles would be integrating software that automates tasks, which lightens the load on your team, promotes knowledge sharing, and gives technicians the support they need to do their jobs well.

In the field, mobile service technicians encounter their own set of challenges, ranging from scheduling conflicts and difficulties in accessing essential data to miscommunication about job tasks and the need for return trips. Addressing these challenges necessitates the strategic incorporation of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). This equips technicians with the ability to thoroughly review the maintenance histories of assets, fostering transparency so that miscommunication is eliminated. Additionally, it facilitates seamless access to detailed technical specifications and GIS-location data, enabling a comprehensive understanding of the operational landscape.

The caveat of this, however, is that to ensure smooth field service management, it is imperative to adopt cohesive, integrated, end-to-end solutions that are user-friendly for field teams and provide dashboards offering enterprise-wide visibility of a company’s resources. This way, every part of the organization is working in sync and not divided by the adoption of several different programs or software.

Field Service Management Workflow

Breaking down the steps of a regular field management workflow:

  1. Service Request Submission:

    A lot of the time, workflows begin with the submission of a service request – a literal request for service. In the service request, which can be received through emails, phone calls, or a CMMS, details like problem location, asset involved, issue description, and customer contact info are filled out by the person requesting service.

  2. Review and Approval:

    Submitting a request doesn’t guarantee automatic service – the service request is merely there to get eyes on the issue and figure out if it needs work. Once the service request is verified by a team member, they sign off and turn it into an official work order.

  3. Planning, Scheduling and Assignment:

    From here, workflows diverge based on the organization. Some organizations automatically assign the new work order to the person who investigated and verified the service request. Others give the work orders to an individual or team of planners and schedulers, who assign the work order to the appropriate person or maintenance team.

  4. Field Maintenance Execution:

    The appointed technician accepts the work order and uses the required resources, like parts, tools, or team members, to get the job done. They head to the location, complete the task, and document the work done. This documentation includes noting down anything unusual about the asset, such as defects or status updates and parts and resources used. This can be done in several different ways, like on paper or with a CMMS.

How to Streamline Field Service Management?

  1. Streamlined Processes for Consistency:

    Managing a maintenance team scattered across regions demands a systematic approach. Standardizing maintenance processes is the key to success. This not only promotes the health and safety of field technicians but also establishes a consistent and efficient workflow. The benefits are far-reaching, encompassing increased safety, reduced operational costs, and improved machine reliability. Eliminating variability in maintenance work ensures a reliable and repeatable process.

  2. Digital Transformation with Advanced Maintenance Management:

    In the digital age, manual and cumbersome processes hinder operational excellence. Having a robust computerized maintenance management system is an important and even essential component of transforming your maintenance workflow. A CMMS acts as a centralized hub, managing every aspect of field maintenance seamlessly. By digitizing the work order process, you bid farewell to manual interfaces, reduce paperwork, and enhance information accuracy and timeliness.

  3. Effective Tooling and Inventory Management:

    Tackling the challenge of equipment and parts going missing during field service operations requires a proactive approach. Your CMMS plays an important role in this endeavor. Utilize it to scan and track tools and spares from the moment they leave your premises. Maintain a clear link between assets and technicians, ensuring accountability. Moreover, the CMMS can track inventory stock so you can always be sure you’re not out of important parts before you begin work.

  4. Invest in Technician Training and Integration:

    Regular training ensures that maintenance teams are doing their work correctly. One way to do this is to rotate technicians through the field service maintenance office to broaden their understanding of the role while leveraging their practical knowledge. The goal is to maintain cohesion within the team and ensure everyone is aligned with the company’s objectives.

Use NEXGEN CMMS As Your Field Service Management Software

Managing field services is a must to keep remote maintenance teams running smoothly and professionally. Thanks to innovative cloud-based solutions, even small businesses can now pull off top-notch field maintenance with fewer hands on deck.

If you’re curious about discovering how NEXGEN can make a difference in automating, organizing, and streamlining your field service maintenance tasks, feel free to schedule a demo or reach out to our support team. We’re here to help.