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5 things to know before Implementing Field Service Lightning

FSL is the talk of the town and for good reason. There is no other field service management tool as powerful, advanced and as configurable as Salesforce FSL.

Following up from our last blog post ‘Getting to know Field Service Lightning’, we will expand on some of the topics we mentioned, as well as share 5 things Admins should know before implementing FSL.

Many companies already use Salesforce for different purposes. By implementing FSL into a company’s Org, employees who work in the field can now be integrated into the unified system.

There is a reason 68% of service executives agree field service is an important element of their customer experience strategy. With organisations now delivering on-site service to customer locations, this data feeds directly back into Salesforce and provides a 360-degree view of the customer, enhancing the experience for all involved.

As an Admin, it’s important to get to grips with all the functionality of FSL. With this in mind, let’s check out some points to know before implementing.

So, you’ve enabled FSL, now you need to install it… Wait, what?

Now that you’ve switched Field Service on, you need to install the managed package to gain access to the dispatcher console, scheduling tools, a range of custom objects, as well as the Guided Setup. To learn how to install the managed package, check out this trailhead or view this documentation from Salesforce.

Something to note:

Once you have installed the managed package, there will be two new apps included in the app launcher.

  • The Field Service app is for dispatchers. The Field Service tab in this app leads to the dispatcher console.
  • The Field Service Admin app is for administrators. The Field Service Settings tab in this app leads to the managed package settings.

(Source https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=pfs_install.htm)

Field Service Lightning is also a Time & Attendance system for field workers

While some may think of FSL as more of a route scheduler and optimiser, it is also an excellent Time & Attendance system for your field workers.

Each Field worker can record their location, travel time, mileage (odometer readings), tasks and breaks within the FSL app. FSL also allows users to upload photos, information, and notes etc. while onsite and offline. You can also see field workers most recent location in real-time on the Gantt Chart.  

FSL also has a Resource Time Sheets option available. What’s impressive is that within the resources time sheets section, you can create ‘Resource Absences’. Optionally, you can give these resource absences a Gantt label (eg. ‘Vacation’) which will display in the Gantt Chart. When running statistics and optimising, FSL’s route optimiser will not assign any appointments for this user during the absence time period. You can get complete details on how to set this up in the ‘Complete Guide to Field Service’ PDF from Salesforce.

Mobile functionality is being constantly updated and improved.

One thing to note about FSL, like most things, is that it’s being constantly updated and improved on. We briefly touched on this point in our last post and while the mobile app works great, sometimes, while offline, there can be limitations.

It is best if users try to only update records, rather than create them within the app. When creating flows to extend the functionality of FSL on the mobile app, it is best to try to pre-create as many records as far in advance as possible. Pre-creating data in advance can save issues and prevent data loss. The more data that is pre-created provides better potential for the app to work offline.

One thing to understand is that the amount of data that is cached is limited. When looking at the workflows, it is important to note that no more than two levels away will be cached. This can be significant depending on what records you are working on.

Salesforce is constantly improving the functionality of the app and we are sure it won't be long before this is no longer a drawback.

Scheduling and Optimisation is an ongoing process.

It is important to understand that optimisation is a journey and requires ongoing refinement - it’s not just set it and forget it. As locations, employees, vehicles etc constantly change, FSL takes in new information and continues to optimise routes and time. Configuration is an ongoing basis and development is constantly improving.

One feature that is great is the ability to add a field called “Visiting Hours”. The Visiting hour's field is inherited when creating service appointments and will not schedule an appointment for outside these hours.

Optimisation is also recommended on a 21-day basis, however, it is possible to optimise and schedule for longer periods. Of course, this will run the potential risk of issues with the optimisation.

A separate user licence is required for the Route Optimisation.

One thing that may not be highlighted and is something a lot of admins might not realise when looking into and setting up FSL is the need for an additional route optimisation user licence. Once the user licence is purchased, it needs to be applied to the route optimiser. Once this is set up, you can start customising your route optimisation.

ROI and time savings really are that high.

The stats from FSL speak for themselves. We’ve listed just a few stats to give you an idea of the potential savings you can achieve.

  • 50% reduction in cancelled jobs
  • 30% reduction in travel time
  • 40% reduction in Field service Costs
  • 72% of executives use field service management software for faster case resolution

Being realistic, it is certainly not possible to run these complex statistics and route optimisation formulas efficiently by hand, excel sheets, etc. For an employee to run these statistics would take days, if not weeks. By that time, the details could be completely different and all the work becomes irrelevant. It also would not allow for real-time changes and updates. Yet, FSL can create an optimised schedule in less than 1 minute. With FSL, time and workforce will be your biggest saving, and when you save time and workforce, you directly save money. 

By visiting extra locations, field agents can accomplish more work and increase their productivity. One of our customers went from previously visiting 4-5 sites, to 7-8 sites a day. In some circumstances, it went all the way up to a whopping 12 sites. That means they were visiting at least 2 more locations a day, which amounts to over 500 extra visits a year per person (pending location, preferences, route etc of course).

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