The answer is ‘yes.’ Time tracking helps identify work-hour bottlenecks and improve an employee’s performance. Employee productivity is directly related to the profitability of your business. So, tracking your technicians’ performance and monitoring their productivity is essential. Tracking their performance can reveal a lot, including savings opportunities and where they exist.
Tracking technicians’ time reduces “time theft” by showing the time spent on jobs. According to Forbes, an employee steals approximately 4.5 hours per week during work hours. There is always the possibility of including slack time in billable hours if time is not tracked efficiently; this is a problem since charging a customer for the time a technician was not actually working is not something you should do.
But with time tracking tools, you can easily spot mundane tasks that are not job-related and categorize them separately from billable hours. Tracking time lets you understand the productivity of your technicians and how efficiently they accomplish projects and tasks—and it lets you do it without micromanaging them.
Benefits of time tracking for field service business
- Automate and streamline the payroll management using time tracking data
- Calculate the number of hours required for each project
- Run cost-benefit analysis and get reports on project time and budgeting
- Improve the field service technician’s productivity and prevent burnout
- Differentiate billable hours and non-billable hours and improves billing efficiency
- Provide insightful data to outline a business plan for growth and well-planned upscaling
Ways of time tracking
Paper pen method
Believe it or not, some businesses still track time using pen and paper to record how much time was spent on each activity. Some businesses concerned about cutting costs use this method, though; it is not very effective—and they know it. The simplicity of pen and paper appeals to small businesses, but it has significant drawbacks.
Inaccurate time reporting is the biggest shortcoming. The human factor is a complicating one; whether accidental or intentional, an employee relying on written time reports is likely to submit something that does not line up with reality. In the end, this lack of precision is going to hurt you.
Spreadsheets represent a significant step forward for the small and mid-sized businesses that choose to employ them. The advantage of spreadsheets comes from the flexibility and customizable templates available to them.
These spreadsheets can be used to track the times that employees clocked in and out. In some ways, this is very similar to the pen and paper method, though it provides definite advantages. You can not accidentally spill water on a spreadsheet (not unless it is printed, anyway).
And you won’t run out of space on the page for your notes; you can type as much as necessary to track customer location, work performed, and technician’s real-time location. There are other advantages to spreadsheets. Unlike pen and paper, you can set up formulas in your templates to help calculate costs based on entered data. You can also use charts to present data visually—providing a visual analysis of your technicians’ performance.
Spreadsheets are a significant improvement but have their limitations. Logs are entered by technicians or back-office staff, so the human factor is there, and inaccuracy is still considerable risk. If they are busy at work, an employee may forget to update the log—now, it is incorrect. These inaccuracies can be fixed, but it will take time to track them down, which is costly.
Creating charts is a real advantage over paper, but it still is not an instant process, and analysis can take longer than expected. Significantly, spreadsheets do not perform well if multiple people try to enter data at the same time; it can lead to issues.
Punch cards and biometrics
Many businesses, regardless of size, use punch cards and biometrics widely for accurate timesheets. It is a simple way for employees to clock in and out and generate a time log. Employees place a punch card or biometric device into the “punch card” system when entering or leaving the office.
Unlike other time tracking methods, it is easy to capture the accurate time without starting the timer. Simple and inexpensive, the system is exemplary for tracking attendance, but it provides little insight into productivity or how employee spends their time. There is also the risk of “buddy punching,” where one employee will punch in or out for another—this can cost thousands of dollars if it goes unnoticed.
Punch cards and biometric systems may be adequate for office environments, but they fall short for field service businesses that need to track a technician’s work hours. Field technicians would have to travel all the way to the office to punch in or out; this simply is not practical—especially if the tech is already near the customer location. So while a punch system is fine for office workers, it will not work for a field service company.
Android time tracking app
The Android time-tracking app provides a way to accurately and securely track employees’ working hours for each activity automatically on a per technician basis.
Using a facial recognition module in the time tracker app, your field technicians can punch in and out using a mobile camera. The app uses an Android device’s onboard GPS to track when a tech arrives at the office or a customer’s location. When this arrival (or departure) is detected, the software automatically clocks the technician in or out, as appropriate.
Since the time tracker can integrate with your field service management software, stakeholders and team managers have a much better sense of technician availability. Field techs can mark their break and travel time in the app, which will list them as unavailable. If a dispatcher tries to assign a job or dispatch a tech on break, it will send an alert to the system indicating a conflict.
Employee time tracking aside, the Android time tracker can help simplify the payroll process. Based on data from the time tracker app, you can import billable hours and convert them into payroll slips in your human resource software. Today’s time tracking apps can provide a variety of benefits to field service businesses. Productivity reports generated from the software can be turned into an invoice to bill customers appropriately.
Some smaller businesses might be afraid that it is expensive or complicated to adopt such a tool. But the truth is, it can be highly cost-effective. Time theft is minimized, and you have an accurate picture of all major activities, including idle time, travel time, breaks, and meetings. Android time tracking apps come with add-on location tracking providing greater insight on jobs performed by technicians at different customer locations.
With this data, your business can easily monitor time spent on tasks and service projects in a non-invasive manner. With the android time-tracker, you can produce employee flowcharts and worksheets to facilitate the comparison of job completion by different technicians. Comparing field techs gives you an idea of who finishes jobs sooner, and who may need more time.
This can give you some real insight into what is going on with your workforce and how to increase your efficiency. You can even promote healthy competition among your workers and reward them for increased efficiency. With the help of the Android time-tracker, doing individual comparisons With the assistance of the Android time-tracker, you can categorize employees according to their individual capacity, making work assignments that much easier to complete.
While opinions may differ on if the Android time tracking app is the best way to improve productivity for field service businesses, we believe it will offer you more than the other options discussed in this article. Try and see if you agree.