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Many oil and gas services companies still opt to use a manual process for scheduling service delivery, gathering field data, and translating that data into various systems. But in this day and age, there are abundant options to perform the same activities in a more accurate and efficient way.

A field mobility tool is an application installed on handheld devices, such as a tablet or smartphone, that enables field technicians to capture, send, and receive data to be used by several departments across the company. Yes, the tool is geared toward and primarily used by field technicians going to customer sites, performing a job, and finalizing invoice information. But the process doesn’t end there. Once the job is done, how does the captured data impact the rest of the organization?

There are consistent pain points we see across the services industry that can be addressed and resolved when introducing the right, fit-for-purpose mobility tool. The tool will introduce vast benefits that impact all aspects of the company, if selected and implemented the right way.

3 Common Pain Points and Benefits of a Mobility Tool

1. Internet connectivity

Issue: Most commonly, oil and gas services companies and their personnel travel to desolate or off-shore field locations where internet connectivity is sparse or nonexistent. This disconnect is the most disruptive issue and impacts real-time, daily activities. Without communication between field personnel, back office coordinators, and integrated systems, the process takes much longer to complete. As a result, field users find their own creative ways to get the job done.

Benefits: By implementing a field mobility solution, the dispatcher has the ability to view a technician’s availability and schedule jobs accordingly—a completely automated process. When technicians receive job notifications electronically, they can review details including job specifications, location, pricing, and parts needed to complete the service. A standard scheduling system also allows for quicker scheduling time and reduced mis-bookings.

But what if internet isn’t available once the technician arrives on site? No problem! The mobility tool will store the job information offline, which can be reviewed with the customer prior to beginning work. Once the work is complete, the technician can update the electronic field ticket to reflect actual time and materials used capture the customer signature and submit the ticket for invoicing. A copy of the field ticket can even be sent to the customers email straight from the handheld. Data can be collected offline and will immediately sync with integrated systems the next time the device is connected to the internet.

Of course, many customers in the industry do still require paper field tickets with job details. Even without internet connectivity, the mobility tool can directly connect to printers on site or in the technician’s vehicle and print the updated information and signatures.

2. Information gathering

Issue: In the world of hand-written field tickets, a dispatcher will quickly jot down job details on paper field tickets, but complete and accurate customer information is rarely collected. And is that a coffee stain? When the dispatcher is in a hurry or half-heartedly filling in the paper form, information is sloppy, incomplete, and often illegible. Additionally, many services companies do not have standardized templates for pricing from a price book and collecting customer requirements.

Benefits: By implementing a field mobility solution, end users are required to provide all necessary information up front. Price books can drive job pricing based on area of operation, and required job details will always be provided. This will ensure all information required for customer billing is captured and sent to the invoicing group upon job completion and the data is actually legible! Accounts Receivable clerks spend much of their time reviewing field tickets and reaching out the field technician for guidance, but most of all, they are coordinating  invoice details with the customer. When all information is available and the customer signature is provided, there is not much a client can dispute. Ultimately, this leads to decreased Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and personnel overhead expenses.

3. Integration with ERP

Issue: A field mobility tool is a standalone solution that incorporates the scheduling, pricing, and field information gathering processes. When a field ticket is sent to the back office, the accounting staff must re-input the information from the mobility tool to the accounting system. This is a dual effort and an unnecessary use of time. Maintaining a dual effort input process is feasible, but it’s not ideal as it increases the risk of human error and overall process timeline.

Benefits: Building an interface between the field mobility and accounting system doesn’t happen overnight, but with the correct ERP system and third-party integrator, the long-term benefits are well worth it. Such integration helps further reduce DSO by removing the need to enter data in multiple databases and reduces customer disputes, which are often due to human error. Overall, an automated and streamlined order-to-cash process reduces the company’s DSO and SG&A and increases process efficiency and customer satisfaction/retention.

How to Ensure Success

1. Select a fit-for-purpose tool. Many companies will select a tool that is demonstrated as a fully-functional and robust solution. We often find the company is over-promised and under-prepared to take on the implementation on their own. Conducting a full field mobility system selection is critical to ensure a successful implementation. Reviewing several options, comparing functionality to company requirements, and performing a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) comparative analysis gives the company the information needed to make the most fitting long-term decision.

2. Identify the right resources. Along with engaging the right consulting company to perform a system selection, a company should asses the appropriate project managers to guide the implementation. The worst approach a company can take is not planning the implementation steps, resources, budget, and timeline. Internal resources and third-party integrators should be discussed and determined early in the planning stage to delegate responsibilities and expectations and to reduce unknown factors and downstream issues.

3. Engage end users. Focus on change management and get all users involved to buy into the project before it begins. Choose key resources who are hardworking and respected by their colleagues. Interview and understand what makes their jobs more difficult (see above for their answers), and determine how the implementation would benefit their job. If stakeholders are engaged from the beginning and included throughout the duration of the project, their coworkers will understand the reasoning and have the ability to see the benefit. Although not all end users will buy in quickly, introducing the idea early and reiterating the long-term benefits will increase user buy-in.

Many companies are living in the stone age of manual field processes. There are plenty of failure anecdotes to deter companies from making the plunge into digitization. However, the reality of the benefits of digitization are easily realized when a tool is selected and implemented correctly. When the current manual process is compared against the long-term benefits of the right field mobility tool, the answer is simple.

Trenegy is a non-traditional consulting firm helping companies identify and implement fit-for-purpose field mobility solutions based on the company’s unique business model. For more information, contact

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