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Salesforce Winter 18 Features – Field Service Lightning

Winter 18

As of this weekend, Winter 18 is live and everyone is able to get at the packed release. We’re on our last post covering the Winter 18 features and in this one we’ll be doing a special focus on all of the Field Service Lightning features. Just as a reminder, in Part 1 of our write-up we focused on the Sales Cloud features. In Part 2, we covered Service Cloud and in Part 3 we covered Communities and Chatter.

This is our first dedicated write-up to Field Service Lightning (FSL). We’ve covered the updates in previous Service Cloud write-ups, but Winter 18 is packed with new features for FSL so we thought it deserved its own post. For those of you not familiar with it, FSL is a stand-alone product that is part of Service Cloud. Typically, FSL is used to enable Field Technicians to do their work in remote locations, but it can also be used for anyone with scheduling or dispatching needs as well as for teams with a mobile workforce that needs a more robust mobile experience. The products supports the entire range of field needs from dispatching the correct resource, to managing those resources from a Skills and Location stand-point, to the actual Work Order management of what the technicians need to accomplish once they are onsite. From there, FSL has a powerful mobile app that allows technicians to track their work, time and even parts – whether they are online or in a location with no connectivity. It’s a powerful product and it has come a long way since being launched a little over a year ago. There is an additional cost for this – it’s not included in Service Cloud – but if you have a remote team, this can be an indispensable tool to manage them and make them more productive out in the field.

Enough of the product overview. Let’s dive into all of the great new features coming out in Winter 18 for Field Service Lightning. As always, in no real order outside of what I think is coolest:

    • Crews – FSL already supported having multiple resources assigned to a Service Appointment, but what if your teams are always dispatched as the same team? Instead of having to repeat the assignments each time for all team members, now you can create a Crew. Crews have multiple members that are assigned and they can be dispatched as one group. Keep in mind, some customers have resources that are also equipment – like a crane or a truck. The crew doesn’t necessarily need to just be people, but could also be the equipment that team always is with. As part of the introduction of Crews, now Service Resources can either be a user or a Crew. When you get to the Service Appointment, you also have some new options with Crews. If you need to to see all of the assigned members in the Assigned Resources list or if you need to track travel time separately for each member of the crew, you can still break out the Service Resources from the Service Crew on the Appointment (if your Crews are big you could automate this pretty easily, but it’s not out of the box). All of this is a big time saver for dispatchers.

      Crews in Field Service Lightning

      Crews in Service Appointments


    • Multiple Signatures on Service Reports – Terrific new feature. Service Reports are a critical part of FSL. Think about when you have a mover, Comcast, Verizon, etc. appearing in your home to do work. All of them make you sign the Work Order. In some cases though – like movers – there needs to be multiple signatures: one for when they first show up to confirm what your house looks like and then once when they leave to confirm there was no damage. In the corporate world you have the same. Sometimes multiple people need to sign, or you have signatures to make the technician / equipment arriving and another when they leave. Previously, without going custom, you could only have one signature block on a Work Order. Now, you can designate signature types and have multiple signature types captured on the Service Report.

      Multiple Signature from the FSL App


    • FSL on Android – The world doesn’t revolve around Apple and the iPhone and there are a lot of us out there (like me) that love their Androids. Now the FSL app is available on these devices as well. It doesn’t have all of the features of iOS (I can’t find a nice easy table listing what isn’t supported though), however it looks to support all of the major features: Offline, Work Orders, Signature Capture, Branding, Flow, Parts Consumption, Geolocation Tracking, Knowledge and others. If I do find a nice list of what is missing, I’ll do an update here.

      FSL on Android


      • Multi-Day Support for Schedules – Huge new feature. Not everyone has Work Orders that are completed within a day. Sometimes Work Orders could be a job that is a multi-day project, or sometimes this could be equipment that is assigned to a job site for weeks or months at a time. Now you can create these multi-day appointments with all of the same powerful functionality as single day appointments. No more needing to break a multi-day assignment into multiple appointments. From the same interface, your dispatchers can manage their single day and multi-day appointments and assignments.

        Multi-Day Appointments in FSL


      • Map Polygons – This feature is really cool. A territory isn’t always a nice clean box or zip code designation. Sometimes territories are just weird shapes. Now, you can draw these territories directly on a map as a Polygon and then assign them to a Service Territory. In addition to being able to map out the territories, these polygons can be used with bulk actions to hit multiple Service Appointments as once. Really cool new feature.

        Polygon Territories


      • Service Location Updates – Two quick but very nice updates to Service Locations. First, you can now add a Hierarchy to your Service Locations (similar to how Account Hierarchies work). This is pretty cool as you might have a parent Work Site – like a massive warehouse or even a skyscraper – and that Work Site has many locations within it (boiler room, elevators, security, etc.). Now, you can add those as part of a Hierarchy to make it clearer how the Work Site is organized. The second enhancement is Service Locations now has a related list for Files. This is great as you can add Files – like sitemaps, photos, blueprints, etc. – directly to the location to help the technician navigate the Location.


      • Service Report Previews – Now directly from their mobile device, your Technicians can view a preview of the Service Report. The preview can’t see images that are sitting in rich text fields, but this should give them a quick way to double check the report for accuracy – and also even show a customer prior to signature.

        Service Report Preview on the FSL App


      • Enhanced Product Search – If your Technicians are using the mobile app to track the parts they need as well as the parts they consume while on the job, the new enhancements to Product Search will make that job even easier. Now users can search for products in specific locations to try and see if someone else has the part they need. In addition, they can now consume products across multiple locations when completing the job. Makes it a ton easier to find and track products.

        Enhanced Product Search


      • Work Type Sharing Rules – Not all Work Types should be seen by all Technicians. Now Work Types has Sharing Rules and you can set that security as needed.


      • Mobile Settings Expansion – You can now setup different mobile app settings for different users. This is especially important if you are sub-contracting some of your Work Orders. Now, you can give your sub-contractors a more limited mobile app while you give your full-time employees a full experience. Also, could be handy when you have different team of field technicians that do entirely different processes.


      • Better Night Shift Scheduling – A nice fix to allow for smoother night shift scheduling. Technicians aren’t always dispatched during the day, and sometimes that dispatch might carry over into the next day by going over midnight. Previously, there was an issue with this in that a shift couldn’t end right at midnight. With Winter 18, this is now fixed, so you can schedule someone from like 9PM-12AM and then from 12AM-3AM smoothly.


      • Geolocation Flexibility – If you haven’t turned off the feature, the FSL mobile app is being polled on a regular basis to track the location of your Technician. This allows you to view a map of where all of your Technicians are at a particular time. There’s a fine balance on this polling between frequency and battery life of the mobile device. Now you can choose your own settings to determine what you feel is more important. You can now opt for more frequent and accurate polls, but those will impact the battery life, or you can go for more general accuracy and a less frequent rate of polling to conserve battery life. It’s up to you. As always, if this is a feature you don’t need or want, you can turn this off and then there won’t be any polling done.


      • Display all Service Resources in the Gantt – Previously, the Gantt chart only displayed primary service resources within a territory. Now, even secondary resources are displayed within the Gantt. Much easier to get full visibility to a territory.

        All Resources in the Gantt


      • Display Planned & Actual Travel Routes – Great new update that lets you see the Planned Route on the same map as the Actual Route a Technician took to travel to an appointment. The planned route is in blue, and the actual is in pink. Extremely handy if you’re trying to figure out why travel times are off or if a Technician / Crew is consistently showing up late to appointments.

        Planned & Actual Travel Routes


      • Approved Absences – A quick but nice update around Absences. Now, until the Absence is approved, it will not block the Technician’s availability or appear in the resource Gantt Chart.


    • Automatically Follow Appointments – Another quick but handy update. Technicians now automatically follow any Appointments that have been assigned to them as well as the parent record of the Appointment. Previously, they’d have to do this manually which means it probably wasn’t happening. This will ensure they are getting key updates without having to do anything themselves.


Alright, that’s it for Field Service and Winter 18 as a whole. Huge release for FSL – and as we covered in the last posts, a monster release for Winter 18 in general. Now in less than a month we get to see all of the Dreamforce announcements too. Exciting times! As always, please let us know if you have any questions and feel free to Contact Us with any help you might need on any of these features. Thanks again for reading.

Harry Radenberg

Harry is the President and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 15 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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