Acting quickly during a crisis, whether it’s the COVID-19 pandemic or a natural disaster, is critical. Unlike many other industries, field service can’t take a break from keeping the world running during these situations. In today’s current crisis, many service organizations are providing critical remediation. Companies like 3D Systems, BioTek, and Roche are working around the clock to support COVID-19 testing and vaccine creation.

During disasters, technology can be leveraged in both new and existing ways to help accelerate emergency response times and ensure technicians are in compliance and kept safe.

Prominent field service organizations have used ProntoForms across multiple to states to hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, Dorian, and Florence. Our platform has also been used to respond to the damage caused by vast forest fires on the United States’ west coast.

As our experience in supporting field teams with custom emergency management apps grows, I’d like to share the five ways custom apps can improve your response.

1. Ensure Technician Safety

Emergencies bring about the development of new protocols to ensure technicians stay safe while performing their jobs in hot zones, be it installation, repair, or maintenance work.

By integrating these protocols into your technicians’ workflow, you can help prevent exposure and preserve the field force for ongoing duties. Your technicians’ peace of mind that their safety is first and foremost on your mind goes a long way.

2. Respond Swiftly

Speed is of utmost importance during an emergency. With a custom, easily configurable solution, the people who best know the installation and maintenance processes can build and deploy apps in a matter of hours.

In addition to building these apps, they can easily iterate and create situation-specific instances. Say you have field service technicians across multiple states that each have unique environmental factors or compliance regulations. And all these techs are out doing inspections on high-value assets before, or in the aftermath of, a disaster. With a custom app, you can make tweaks to fit each state’s situation to a tee.

3. Respond at Scale

The impacts of a natural disaster or a pandemic can be far reaching and move exceptionally fast. The ability to scale your emergency response to hundreds or thousands of workers quickly is paramount to an effective response.

As a disaster unfolds, the demands placed on technicians will significantly increase as assets are more heavily operated and require more frequent and urgent maintenance. Using a custom field app, you can onboard as many workers as necessary in minutes­ and build new processes just as fast. If technicians themselves become impacted by the emergency, as is likely during the COVID-19 crisis, replacement contract technicians can be rapidly onboarded and deployed with detailed task instructions.

The true value of an effective emergency app comes from its ease of use and proficiency in guiding technicians step-by-step through complex scenarios, ensuring fast resolutions no matter the tech’s tenure.

4. Guarantee Compliance

Regardless of if it’s business as usual or an emergency situation, installation, maintenance, and service compliance are fundamental for safety and asset uptime. As infectious disease control compliance regulations evolve, you must be able to quickly update your emergency management app to guarantee compliance during service work.

5. Collect Quality Data

Emergencies, natural disasters, and pandemics are not the time to be sifting through copious amounts of data to determine if it’s even useful. During emergencies, the data collected has to be high quality and directed to the right people, right away.

The best custom field apps have a powerful analytics platform that makes it easy to use the collected field data. This drives rapid decision making and helps you allocate, or reallocate, precious resources to areas where most dearly needed.

Further Resources

On Friday, April 3 at 1:00 pm EST, John Carroll from Service Council, Lenny Cumberledge from Purell, and I will be holding a webinar to discuss how field service organizations are addressing the pandemic.

I encourage you to join us. You can learn more about the topics and register here: Responding to the Pandemic: 5 Guiding Principles for Field Service Leaders


ABOUT Mark Scott

Avatar photoMark Scott is the V.P. of Marketing at Prontoforms, the global leader in field-focused low-code application platforms for the enterprise.