With the global population climbing ever higher, and technology continuing to advance, the market for trade service businesses is experiencing fantastic levels of growth. As it expands however, many owners and operators in this sector may find their business models unable to keep up, and staff struggling to meet customer demand and expectation.
Growth in any industry means that previously undetected inefficiencies in day-to-day operations and amongst employees will quickly reveal themselves, and become roadblocks to better profits and customer satisfaction. Without proper preparation to meet growing demand, administrative teams and business owners can quickly find profits dwindling and performance succumbing to the pressure.
So, in this era of growth and expansion, how can you meet demand and expectations, and improve job profitability?
The answer is job management software.
In 2015, 87% of high-performing companies used project management software and with the opportunities this tech provides, it’s no wonder why. Technological developments have produced a solution for most businesses in the blue-collar industry that can streamline complicated workflows like job scheduling, accounting, inventory, fleet monitoring and asset maintenance.
Job management software is, at its core, a sign of the times. We live now in age where you can learn about the history of the hammer within a few minutes thanks to an internet-connected screen that fits neatly into the palm of your hand.
Everything is far more simple, and business should be too. This software takes several different workflows and neatly places them in a single, online, location from which you can quickly, and easily, access various forms of data - anything from customer details to cost centres to inventory to maintenance scheduling - and execute common business processes.
simPRO’s offerings are proven examples of the value that job management technology adds to the trade services industry: by minimising the processes required to be used, and optimising workflows by digitising them, simPRO grants office staff the opportunity to maintain a watchful eye over their fleet and efficiently schedule jobs, contact engineers, and quote or invoice jobs.
By guiding office and field staff to more capable processes, simPRO allows owners to ensure their business is meeting demand and providing a top tier service that maximises billable hours and ensures customer satisfaction.
To help you better understand the efficiencies that this kind of software can afford your company, here’s eight ways you can improve job profitability using simPRO’s job management solutions:
1. Get your team to a job faster with speedy scheduling and dispatch tools
Different calendar views mean that your staff can see the best time to quote for a job, and the best employee available to attend it. Automated scheduling notifications for employees also mean that everyone is kept informed whenever you add, change, or delete a quote or job. Also avoid unnecessarily sending engineers halfway across town by calculating the distance between a job site and the nearest available employee when scheduling - this feature means you can appoint whoever lives or is working closest to the job to prevent unnecessary travel time.
2. Keep staff and customers informed with clear job instructions
By using the SMS function that can be purchased as an add-on for simPRO, office staff can keep clients up to date and let them know when engineers will be on site. SMS messages are able to be automated through notifications, this makes keeping your engineers and customers up to date a fast and easy process. Up to 100 SMS messages can be sent at any given time from either a phone number or company name so that you can ensure your business is communicating as effectively as possible with both customers and staff. This enhances customer satisfaction and avoids common communication gaps that could result in a customer demanding compensation through a discount of services or credit.
3. Avoid unnecessary travel time with a mobile app that enables capability and efficiency
simPRO’s Connect mobile app has onsite invoicing options and customer management, meaning that your engineers can invoice before they even leave a site, have visibility of customer information including contact and location data, and capture customer signatures (when they approve a quote ready for a job or sign off on a complete job). The app also has real-time update capability and geo-stamping so that you can easily see your field engineers’ travel status, and keep them informed of any schedule changes or activity through push notification to Connect - this increased efficiency will keep your engineers in the field maximising your company’s billable hours and customer satisfaction.
4. Save time by confirming whether you have the right tools and materials before arriving on site
Using simPRO’s intelligent inventory feature, your staff can track materials from warehouse to van. Opportunity for billable hours can be maximised by removing the risk of having to turn around for the correct tools, and your customer is kept happy when your engineer has everything he or she needs to do the job right the first time.
5. Monitor your fleet and avoid idle time or breakdowns
simTRAC is an add-on or stand alone tool by simPRO that has live GPS tracking, detailed reports and a maintenance planner. This means that you can log in from any device with an internet connection to see the location of your vehicles at any time, and receive reports that details everything from on-site time to travel time through to vehicle speeds. Such a feature allows you to monitor staff and ensure they are performing when it comes to job attendance and travel. The maintenance planner feature of simTRAC allows you to receive alerts when vehicles are due for servicing thanks to it’s built-in booking system, meaning that you can know what vehicles are out of action, and when.
6. Build long-lasting and loyal relationships with key customers by offering them the ability to create their own job requests
Using the Customer Portal, another feature offered by simPRO, business owners can provide customers with an online gateway through which they can request quotes and even book jobs themselves. Not only does this reduce admin costs and time, it means your customer is satisfied knowing they can call on you and your business quickly and efficiently.
7. Enhance those long-lasting and loyal relationships by introducing memberships to your business
Use memberships to apply a discount to all quotes, jobs, and recurring jobs / invoices for a customer over a specific period of time. This is useful for boosting customer loyalty and revenue, as customers with memberships are more likely to use your services again within the membership duration.
8. Store asset information in an easy-access location so your staff can be as readily informed as possible
simPRO’s preventative and reactive maintenance features and add-ons allow you and your staff to keep detailed configurable reports of every customer asset you create in simPRO. This, coupled with the availability of simPRO thanks to cloud storage, means that your engineers can quickly and efficiently access whatever information they need - maximising billable hours, and ensuring customer satisfaction through the knowledge that your business keeps detailed records of jobs and products. Even without the maintenance planner add-on, your staff can still pass/fail assets and record test readings!
Truth be told, any way that a business can integrate a proven, and effective, systemised approach to operations will help improve its profitability. Adopting, or adapting, even one of these eight suggestions to your business model could lead to an improvement.
These ideas are not only meant to encourage your own initiative to better prepare to meet the growing demand of the 21st century, but also to further your understanding of the true value that job management software can bring to any business.
The trade service industry is growing with the times and it is up to you as an owner, operator, administrator, manager, or employee in this sector to ensure that your company is taking the necessary steps to align itself on the right path for growth.