What to Consider When Choosing a Software Application – Operations

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published August 28, 2023

“What do you mean, you’re double-booked?” asks James, the dispatcher, to Sam, the service technician.

“I mean, I’m already at Rockard,” replies Sam. “I can’t just leave and go to your emergency…”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” says James, puzzled. “Lorie was supposed to go to Rockard. You were supposed to go to the emergency…”

“I don’t know what to tell you, man,” says James. “You told me an hour ago to go to Rockard, so that’s where I went. Maybe—”

“Oh wait,” interrupts James. “Lorie’s calling. Talk later.” He hangs up with Sam and picks up with Lorie. “Hi, Lorie?”

“Nope,” answers Sam. “Still Sam… And Lorie’s here…”

“What? Ugh, I hung up on Lorie,” grunts James. “Let me call her. Bye.” James hangs up again and this time dials Lorie’s number. She picks up and immediately says “I’m so confused, James. Why is Sam where I’m supposed to be?”

“I don’t get it. I told him to go to the emergency!”

“Well, clearly someone messed up,” says Lorie. “Why can’t we just have a schedule like a normal company?”

“Yeah…” confirms James. “I’ll talk with the boss and we’ll figure something out…”

Scheduling service operations manually might be possible with one employee, but as soon as there are more, confusion may quickly arise. For the example above, having a software solution for scheduling and dispatching work would have easily solved the problem. And although nearly mandatory, it is not the only consideration when choosing a software for operations management in a small service company.

The Basics

In any construction service company, especially one doing field service and field work, several different pieces of the puzzle need to fit together to allow work to be executed seamlessly. In a standard flow, a work request is received from a client, assigned to a worker that has the ability, tools and material to execute and then is dispatched, executed, then invoiced and paid. In some cases, an estimate or quote will be needed, which will require an additional software consideration. In these two sentences, several apps need to work together for an efficient and effective process. And of course, materials are needed, which requires yet another set of apps. Since work cannot be done without materials, let’s start with what’s needed for purchasing and inventory management.

Material and Price Lists

Before being able to use any software tool to purchase items and manage inventory, items need to be created in a given system. The first and most important consideration is therefore that the chosen app has the ability to contain a database with parts including SKUs, sales and purchase prices, supplier information, categories, storage locations, and preferably barcodes, amongst many other things.

Purchasing, Receiving, Inspection and Inventory

When material and price lists have been created, purchasing can be done. The app therefore needs to have the capability of creating purchase orders with quantities which can then be sent to suppliers for purchasing. A useful benefit would be that the app also has RFP capabilities if the company needs multiple suppliers to bid for a given purchase. Once the order arrives, the system must be capable of efficiently and effectively confirming that the delivery matches the order and once received and inspected, be placed in an inventory database. Should there be something wrong with the order, the system must allow return to vendor for one or multiple items. Splitting purchase order lots is therefore necessary.


Some business will choose to operated without physical field presence, or will simply have a business model which does not require a lot of travel. The best example is e-commerce or SaaS service. Customers will buy products online and get instant access to them or get them delivered. In the case of instant access, delivery is unnecessary. However, for physical products being shipped to customers’ homes, a delivery service must be considered. It is therefore recommended to choose an app which allows third party delivery connections, significantly facilitating distribution.

Field Service – Scheduling and Dispatching

For field service work, the app must provide visibility on worker’s schedules and assignations and must include duration and location at a minimum. Other aspects such as descriptions, statuses, and a connection to inventory and accounting will maximize the benefit. The app must be able to notify workers that they have work queued, and workers must be able to complete the work orders, or tasks, on their mobile devices. Of course, the mobile interface must be simple to use, clean, and streamlined, to allow workers to waste as little time as possible filling in information and completing the work orders for efficient invoicing. It is also strongly recommended that the work orders are connected with worker’s timesheets for efficient payroll management.

Capacity Management

With a scheduling app, capacity management should be fairly straightforward. However, the app must be visually built in a way that the schedules of all workers are visible together. The app should also embed a connection to worker’s time off, vacations, and sick leaves, to ensure capacity is always realistically forecasted.

Quotes, Estimates and Construction Projects

Service calls generally do not require estimates or quotes, but in some cases, clients will ask for quotes before doing work. The app must therefore be capable of creating, sending, then invoicing quotes and estimates. For construction projects, the app must provide the capability to quote, of course, but also to manage larger-scope constructions projects which require multi-day commitment from multiple workers, with likely multiple work orders involved.

Other Considerations

For a service construction company, or even one that only does projects, vehicles are mandatory. It is therefore strongly recommended that the app be capable of fleet management, which would include allocation, maintenance, mileage tracking, amongst others.

For companies outside the construction service industry, app modules like manufacturing, product lifecycle management, as well as point of sales and e-commerce might be required based of course on the nature of operations.

Automation and Connections

Some connections were described above, but the app must be able to automatically connect to several other applications or modules. A connection to an accounting app is nearly mandatory while other connections may have a lesser impact.


Describing app considerations for an operations management software is nearly impossible within a few paragraphs. Some companies have generic needs while others have very specific requirements. However, considering materials and price lists, purchasing and inventory, field service, capacity management, and quotes and projects in the choice of an app will be a great start to understanding what is needed for your digital integration project. At Mondro, we will be able to list requirements and provide a recommendation as to which app is best suited for your needs. Contact us for a free discussion and demo!

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