Advice from an Expert: How to Prepare for Field Service Lightning

Field Service Lightning is an onsite support solution that automates essential aspects of field service coordination: Scheduling service appointments, dispatching

4 min. read

Field Service Lightning is an onsite support solution that automates essential aspects of field service coordination: Scheduling service appointments, dispatching mobile workers, tracking vehicle locations and product stock… And the list goes on. This kind of service management is essential for any number of industries, including public utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing.

If your business employs mobile workers or contractors, you might’ve already looked into Field Service Lightning. And that’s great! But before you dive into an implementation project, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Here are 3 recommendations from one of our Field Service Lightning experts.

Recommendation #1: Have an inventory management system in place.

One huge advantage of Field Service Lightning is its ability to track product and part availability. Here’s a scenario:

Your company services household appliances, and your team receives a call about a broken water heater. As soon as possible, they issue a work order and dispatch a technician. When the technician arrives on site, she realizes that she doesn’t have the right part to complete the repair. Normally, she’d have to return to the shop and your team would need to schedule another service appointment (likely for another day). With Field Service Lightning, though, your tech can use a mobile app to find the closest technician who has that part in their truck and quickly retrieve it.

Obviously, a process like this is a major boon for your imaginary appliance repair company. Thankfully, Field Service Lightning can just as easily help your real business (whatever kind it may be) by empowering your team members out in the field to find the products and parts they need as fast as possible.

However, this use of Field Service Lightning will only be possible if you’ve already got a great system for tracking your inventory. Think of it this way: If you don’t know exactly where your product is, neither will Field Service Lightning. And if you don’t already have a great inventory management system, don’t worry. A Salesforce consultant will be able to advise you on whether you company should consider a custom solution or a third-party integration.

Recommendation #2: Dispatch optimization can be a heavy lift, so be prepared.

Field Service Lightning’s Dispatcher Console — the main working space for dispatchers — gives an excellent overview of your entire service crew, including the locations of every technician and every appointment. And with intelligent scheduling, dispatchers can optimize efficiency by automatically assigning the right person based on time, skills and location.

However, this kind of optimization requires a good deal of set up. Before dispatchers can automatically assign the right resource to a job, a number of objects will need to be customized, including:

  • Service Territories (regions in which field service can be performed)
  • Operating Hours (times when field service work can be performed for service territories, service resources and customer accounts)
  • Service Resources (mobile employees who can perform service work)
  • Skills (skills required to perform field service tasks)

…and more.

You’ll also need to set up Field Service Work Rules, which are essentially yes/no qualifiers that help determine the right technician for a given job. Things like:

  • Match Territory (“Consider only Service Resources who are assigned to the Service Territory of the Service Appointment.”)
  • Match Skill (“Consider only Service Resources with the correct skill set.”)
  • Maximum Travel from Home (“Limit scheduling to a radius of distance or travel time around the Service Resource’s Homebase.”)

It’ll be up to you and your team to define how these objects and work rules relate to your business (for instance, how would you break down your service territories?). However, you should have someone with Field Service Lightning experience handle the actual set up in your Salesforce org.

Recommendation #3: Analyze your case/quote/order → work order process.

Any time you’re preparing for a Salesforce implementation (of any kind, really), you should spend time thinking about your business processes. After all, Salesforce’s platforms aren’t meant to dictate how you run your company — they’re meant to help you run it how you want to.

When it comes to Field Service Lightning, you should ask yourself a few questions about how your company handles the case/quote/order-to-work-order process: What are the essential steps? Are you happy with the process? Or do you think some changes need to be made?

Before you can proceed with your Field Service Lightning implementation, you’ll need these answers. They’ll dictate the build.

Parting Thoughts

The name is probably a hint here, but Field Service Lightning shouldn’t be used with Salesforce Classic. The experience will be much smoother if your Service Cloud users stick exclusively with Lightning. (If you need help getting your team to adopt Lightning, check out this on-demand webinar.)