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The Importance of Staff Scheduling Software

Whether you run a real world business, an online enterprise or a company that has both brick and mortar storefronts and digital websites, staff scheduling software can optimise your workforce and help minimise worker schedule complaints and other common headaches.

Most line level managers and supervisors will attest that creating an employee work schedule that satisfies everybody is practically impossible. Upper-level executives and business owners want to ensure that there is enough labour scheduled to handle business levels, but not too much so that the business is overspending for its labour, driving costs up and profits down.

Line level workers, on the other hand, are real people with real demands, such as family obligations, health issues, social lives, and other issues that can influence when and where they want to work. That means that balancing the needs of the business against the desires of the workforce can be a frustrating and thankless task for scheduling managers and supervisors.

Staff Scheduling Software can take the responsibilities and challenges out of the hands of human scheduling managers and supervisors and put it into the digital files of a computerised scheduling software program that can create, adapt and manage schedules automatically according to a pre-determined set of criteria.

Staff Scheduling Software can be integrated with sophisticated forecasting tools that can accurately predict business volumes based on such factors as history, seasonality, economic changes, and even the weather. It also can automatically protect the business against unnecessary overtime, over-scheduling labour, or scheduling individual workers’ shifts too close to one another without enough time off in between shifts.

staff scheduling software

The Advantages of Staff Scheduling Software:

  • Increases Productivity and Efficiency

When human managers create work schedules, they will often build in a little extra labour to make sure they aren’t caught short in case of call-offs, shortages, or workers asking to go home early. But this is based entirely on guesswork and hunches.

  • Saves Time and Money

Creating work schedules is not just the most difficult part of a manager’s job, it’s also one of the most time-consuming. And every minute your managers and supervisors spend cooped up in their offices working on work schedules is the time they aren’t on the floor supervising your workers and managing your business.

  • Procedural Consistency

Most small business owners have had the experience of misplacing or forgetting a time off request from one of their employees which result in somebody being scheduled for a day they can’t work. While this may seem like a little thing, it can be a major problem for both the individual worker and the organisation as a whole.

  • Increased Access to Critical Information

Staff scheduling software gives businesses more information they can use to successfully guide the organisation to profitability. Schedules can be accessed online from anywhere. Workers can easily track their time and attendance using their mobile devices. Managers can create schedules and check shifts with complex filtering specification.

Businesses of every size and complexity can benefit from staff scheduling software that streamlines operations and helps the business build the bottom line. We invite you to browse our E Works Manager website or start your obligation Free 14 Day Trial to see what makes E Works Manager an award winning software system for all businesses of every size and complexity.

Field Service Management Software

Field Service Management software is an ever-changing industry and because of its evolving nature, consumers have a lot of expectations and of course frustrations.

E works manager are researching and gathering evidence on what customers main complaints are when it comes to their field service provider. The collation of these facts and figures is to ensure that E works manager is carrying out the right steps to provide an up to date, efficient service for you.

A recent study to decipher the issues that occur when selecting a field service provider surveyed 2,000 British adults. The outcome confirmed what the factors are that affect whether a consumer will use the same company for a second time.

The British public’s main concern when it comes to a field service issue is efficiency. 52% of those surveyed considered a technician who can solve the problem on the first visit to be a huge factor. However, one in four reported that unfortunately a return visit is almost always necessary. Commonly a return visit is due to poor inventory or an inexperienced work force – with 40% complaining their technician did not have appropriate tools or parts on the first visit. 27% even said the technician lacked the skills to complete the job.

Another aspect of efficiency is the waiting factor. One to three hours is thought of as the acceptable waiting appointment time, however, 36% of people reported wait times longer than this. In some cases, customers found themselves waiting up to 8 hours for assistance.

Field service management software with enhanced schedule accuracy, improved productivity and workforce utilization is likely to occur in improved service delivery times. This can be achieved through a unique algorithm which will learn the preferences of each technician, which mobile workers serve each area and what skills a technician may specify in and will allocate tasks accordingly.

Some sources believe that to achieve high standards of management and scheduling, it is necessary to rely on third party contractors and on demand technicians to deliver timely and efficient services. So that if an on demand/third party technician is in the area or has the appropriate parts, they can solve the problem in a quicker, more efficient fashion. As long as a tailored field service management software is used to track and show relevant and accurate information from the third party, which can then be used by any other software user, to keep the feedback all in one place, then contractors would be of no issue.

Customer services and price are seen as equally important to customers of field service management software. Therefore, a competent, friendly service must be provided at a reasonable, steady price, to achieve balanced customer satisfaction, retention and profitability.

Consumers start to make judgments about customer service from the very first interaction with a provider. They appreciate being informed of an accurate time when the technician will arrive. Lack of communication with a service technician prior to arrival is viewed as a major problem.

A huge 55% of consumers would refuse to use a service provider again if they had a poor customer service experience. Not only can this lose software providers current but also potential customers. If left unhappy, half of customers will make a formal complaint to the company, one in five to the technician and a worrying one in ten would take to social media to vent their frustration.

 

 

Three Ways Field Service Data Can Improve Your Business Intelligence

Businesses in every industry are dealing with the “big data” dilemma. Where do we store it? How do we keep it accurate? How do we use it for competitive advantage? According to a study by IDG Enterprise, 65 percent of IT decision-makers said they feel overwhelmed by the volume of incoming data, and 53 percent said it has slowed down important decisions.

 

Service companies in particular are constantly seeking data-driven ways to optimize portfolios, address customer pain points, and outperform competitors. Sadly, these companies often leave one of their richest sources of data untapped: field service. That’s because field service management (FSM) has been long underestimated, and often viewed as a form of damage control. In reality, your FSM framework presents a huge opportunity to improve high-level decisions with item-level data.

Data? What Data?

Field service management is far from linear. It’s more like a neural map, a network of dependencies between personnel (dispatchers, contractors, technicians), customers, equipment, logistics, administrative tasks, and environmental factors, all of which must be perfectly in sync to bring about an effective service call.

These interactions generate numerous data points that are unique to FSM. Here are a few examples:

 

  • Asset data (performance, specs, maintenance history)
  • Technician data (availability, performance)
  • First-time fix rates
  • Parts/tools/materials inventory
  • Customer account data (invoicing, billing)
  • Job details (cost, start/end time, follow-up info)
  • Geospatial data (job locations, routes, heatmaps)

 

Many service companies try to find field service management software with built-in analytics tools. This is an excellent first step, and usually fruitful in the long run: field service companies that invest in analytics technology have seen profits increase as much as 18 percent, and customer retention as much 42 percent.

But putting your field service data to work requires more than a plug-and-chug solution. Business intelligence is about making better decisions and turning insight into action. This could be as simple as planning a better route between jobs, or as complex as adopting a servitization based business-model. Either way, don’t just peruse your data; decide what insight you’re looking for, what tools you have to find it, and how you plan on putting it to work.

 

Three Strategies to Get You Started

 

See where you’re failing your SLA: If you promise quick, efficient resolution of service interruptions and free maintenance of proprietary equipment, are your teams delivering this on a daily basis? Your FSM data can show you where the bottlenecks are, where your technicians encounter obstacles to productivity, and which issues customers complain about the most. These insights can help you make the changes necessary to uphold your service level agreement, which has a strong influence on satisfaction and loyalty.

Trim the fat: Field service data can help decision makers identify opportunities to reduce overhead costs in several areas. Asset performance metrics (for equipment, fleet vehicles, firmware, etc.) can indicate when assets need to be serviced or replaced. This reduces downtime and unnecessary maintenance. Geospatial and fleet data can save vehicles wear and cut-down fuel costs by providing insight on optimal routes. You can also use data from job trends to anticipate demand for specific parts and materials (demand planning) and decide which ones don’t need to stay in your truck/van/warehouse inventory.

Better workforce management: Business intelligence isn’t just about the work, but also the workers. By tracking technician/contractor KPIs (first-time fix rate, on-time arrival, jobs per day, units installed, schedule adherence, etc.), managers can decide when it’s time to reassign or restructure the workforce, provide additional training, hire additional workers, or in some cases take disciplinary action.

Gather field service data requires that you have the right technology in place, whether that’s a few basic reporting tools built in to your field service management software, or a dedicated business intelligence platform. But it also requires a shift in mentality for many companies: instead of seeing your field service department as a clean-up crew, see it as an active player in core business growth – one that can drive better decision-making and provide unique insights.

 

Author Bio

Aleksandr Peterson is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, CRMs, project management, and other emerging business technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

Service Industry Technology: 5 Ways to Get the Best out of your Data from Field Service Management Software

Field service management software is used in many industries, including industries where previously technology was unlikely to be a part of their day to day activities.

Much has been said about the need for all companies to use cloud computing to track their demand and use any information provided to their advantage. This is all part of a digital transformation and the service industry must take heed of technology and what they can gain from it in order to manage customer experience and optimise their workers. It also gives an edge in the form of flexibility through enabling a mobile workforce. Field service management software is a cost effective way of transforming a workforce, to meet the specific needs of the business and of their consumers.

More so than ever before, service organisations have to keep their customers happy, as in these competitive industries there is always an alternative company that their business can go to instead. Furthermore, customers have a voice that demands to be heard through the platform of social media. Their comments about services online have the power to build or destroy the reputation of a company.

A proactive company will use their field service management software and the data it provides to create valuable solutions to how members of their team work. Here are  just five of the ways that the data created from field service management software can be used to optimise the service a business provides.

Service Based Technician Compensation

Essentially this means using the data logged to manage performance. Analysis of time keeping,  customer levels of satisfaction and how workers have gone out of their way to fix any unexpected problems they have been up against can act as performance measures. Using the data from field service technology to reward high performance is motivating to employees, leading to greater results for the customer.

Share Performance Metrics with HR

The performance data is more or less crucial to how new employees are trained. HR might have tried and tested methods which have worked but this technology is a powerful real time indicator of performance and should be used to be constantly seeking new ways of learning or training.

Make Executives Accountable

Executives using cloud technology and field service management software have no excuse to not be aware of what is going on in the day to day realities of their workers. Executives need to be on the ball, examining performance metrics then looking for ways to improve difficulties or areas of underperformance.

Performance Data is Easily Accessible

Some business owners have been cautious about the security of the data stored within their field service management software especially with large and complex data sets. Any good cloud will have additional security measures. The advantage of this is that the data is there and easily accessible. It is accessible to be shared across different departments of a company, strengths and weaknesses can be assessed and discussed by managers so that the whole organisation can learn from top performers.

Real Time Analytics can Really Make a Change

One of the main strengths of field service management software is the fact that data is provided in real time. Real time analytics being distributed through the cloud are a real game changer, as it will speed up any delays and ensure that if necessary somebody else from the team can be on hand to help with a problem if needed before it escalates.

 

In field service industries customers won’t wait for answers to their problems to be solved, they’ll simply look elsewhere. Real time intelligence in the form of field service management software can be used to solve problems immediately, whilst providing the metrics needed for long term performance improvements within an organisation on the whole, regardless of how big or small they are.

Field Service Management Software: More than Just a Game

Keeping your employees organised is hard. Keeping your employees motivated is harder. Fortunately field service management software has the potential to offer a solution to these problems.

Managers often find themselves trying to find ways to engage their staff and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to, especially in the field service industries. Staff on the go all day? How do you know what they’re doing with their time? Are you getting feedback from them?

Field service management software has gained popularity as a way for workers to stay in contact, find solutions to problems, give feedback and receive feedback from both their customers and their managers. Managers of those in the field service industries need to be constantly making sure that their staff always provide the very best of service or else it runs the risk that customers will take their business elsewhere.

In order to get workers interested in using new field service management software, managers can implement the software alongside a well executed change management or training strategy, in order to ease the workers into using it. A strategy that will make learning how to use it interesting and even fun for the staff, whilst they get used to the procedures of the technology. It will also improve the technology skills of some workers who may be lacking.

Gamification of field service management software can happen when it is first introduced, but managers need to make it clear to their service workers that it is more than just a game. There are several directions to take, from methods of increased transparency to restructuring rewards systems so that the software tracks performance linked to rewards. Increased transparency can exist in feedback from the customer or supplying better information to managers about who did what and how well they did it.

Workers should feel inspired to do better and to enhance their customer service whilst out on the field but managers and leaders should also pay attention to what their workers are doing and offer incentives to do better so that if field service management software is ever viewed as a game, it will be one that all workers want to win.

Field Service Management Software can Drive Business Transformation

“From a technology that was initially adopted for efficiency and cost savings, the cloud has emerged into a powerhouse of innovation throughout organisations” is a quote from Robert LeBlanc, the senior Vice President of Software and Cloud Solutions for IBM. There is no reason why field service management software using cloud technology shouldn’t be added to any organisation. In the cloud, companies can innovate faster to scale their business using field service management software.

The eworks manager system uses mobile and cloud computing to transform an entire business through greater opportunities for innovation. These are the ways that field service management software touches different parts of a business.

INCREASES COLLABORATION AND HARNESSES KNOWLEDGE

Using field service management software means that companies are able to locate and leverage the expertise of their employees. Whilst employees are in the field, cloud computing works in conjunction with mobile technology to improve communication amongst teams. The mobile cloud app helps organisations to cut down on employee’s not doing their job whilst out on the field, integrate mobile apps and increase efficiency.

It works as a collaboration tool to help teams function more effectively and it provides the ubiquitous platform for all to share.  It can also be used to work in collaboration with other businesses as it provides an unprecedented wave of collaborations between enterprises.

MAKE SMARTER DATA BASED DECISIONS

With the data and analytics constantly flowing through the field service management software, organizations can bring disparate datasets to one place. All relevant info is at their fingertips and makes it easier to make data-driven decisions.

CAN REINVENT CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS

Better data insights and more collaborative teams allow field service technologies to deliver an experience that is aligned with what customers are looking for and to better serve customers through in person and digital interactions.

Field Service Organisations will benefit from Field Service Management Software as it can boost business performance by impacting every area of operation within the company. Initially field service technology was invested in by teams for its productivity but now it shows promise in being used to improve innovation within the company and transform the way it works.

Field Service Management Software: Re-inventing the Industry, one technology at a time.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ll be familiar with the fact technology is taking over. We’re more likely to communicate via text, imessage, twitter or Facebook than to have a face-to-face conversation. Businesses  gain and manage clients they’ve never even met over video calls. And although this may have been hard to imagine in the 80s or 90s, it works rather well.

Now, when it comes to industries like manufacturers, plumbers and electricians, they’ve done their best to keep up, but it hasn’t always been necessary. Therefore, these industries tend to have adopted the ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ mentality in regards to new technologies. When really they need to be thinking of the return on investment in technology.

These job sectors need a bit of a recast, a brand reinvention – this way, they can market themselves as hip and innovative and primarily as an exciting, up to date career that teens should be fighting over job opportunities in. As the veteran employees retire or branch out to start their own businesses, companies need to attract fresh meat. To do so, listening to what younger employees or apprentices want is vital. Flexibility, technology driven, company culture and opportunities tend to be the popular expectations for those entering the working world, so if you’re not a company that offers these perks, why not?

 

What is the most important aspect of a business?

Now, all employers should answer the same: the employees (if not, you should seriously quit, or at least consider it). Those who do the work, day in and day out, will have a pretty good idea of what it is the company needs. So you, the company, should listen.

As time goes on, a majority of employees are beginning to lack the means to work in an increasingly mobile and tech savvy industry. This is how the manufacturers, plumbers and electricians end up with negative stigmas such as ‘stuck in the dark ages’. When what they should be hearing is ‘world-class, leading edge’. It’s up to you the company to ensure that your employees are up to date, educated and equipped with the latest technologies and systems to feel confident in the ever developing world. It’s called ‘preventative and predictive maintenance’ and your company needs to be doing it. However, if you fail to do so, plumbing, plastering etc will become a pretty undesirable career path. Don’t let your company lack the ability to attract new comers, a whopping 52% of students said they have no interest in the manufacturing industry. This could be for any number of reasons, but it’s most likely these specters are seen as unappealing due to their unattractive skills, behind the times technology and the lack of growth they offer.

So, make sure you’re company appeals, get a head start and adopt the latest technology in Field Service Management Software, for your staff management software needs. This digital organisation tool will bring your business right into the present and not only help you organise your staff and let your staff feel valued and involved, but you can give clients the option of using your software to give their feedback too.

Last of all, remember this is not a dead end, it is a cross roads where innovation, technologies, entrepreneurial companies and big trends are paving the way. Make yourself and your company one of them.

 

 

 

words – Sinead Morrissey

Field Service Management Software for Businesses Who Want to Take Care of the Customer

In each of our careers, we all have our own individual skill set, which varies drastically across a range of differing work roles. When aspiring to a certain role, or undertaking training for our careers we tend to forget that there is an additional component needed for success in any career. Everyone has at a minimum, two responsibilities at work. The first is the job you have studied towards or trained to do. The second is related to customer services. You must take care of the customer regardless of customer service being part of your job description or not.

A salesperson is hired to sell. A plumber installs and maintains plumbing systems. A hairdresser styles hair. One thing that that each of these professions has in common; with each other and hundreds of other occupations worldwide, is that taking care of the customer is key. Regardless of the role an individual is hired to do, service responsibilities are part of the job. Workers on the front line are used to communicating with a customer, but for those working behind the scenes and just happen to get a call, the role of customer service must then be recognised. Impression is formed with all interactions with any member of a company and brands must consider that consistent good communication and customer service is  tantamount to the reputation of the company.

Field Service Management

Field Service Management software has become popular with businesses of many different kinds. This becomes understandable when you consider the range of features many systems have. E Works Manager, for example, has two main elements; the App and the System. When used together, managers can have total control over jobs and staff, and can track all work. Delays can be picked up on and dealt with immediately and other issues can be rectified without delay. This is cost effective and a streamlined way of communicating with others in the business. All jobs can be kept track of in one place. Field workers can complete electronic sheets and additional digital documents can be created such as invoices, at the member of staff or client’s desire.

Field Service Management for the Customer

Using Field Service Management Software can be one of the best decisions that a company can make in terms of improving their customer service. Managers setting up the software can choose to import  customers into the system and control just how much input they would like to receive from them. The use of Field Service management software E Works Manager, allows accounts to be created for individual customers and customers can log in to view the progress of the jobs they are having done for them and approve invoices for payments. Field Service Management Software cuts out the middle man and the hassle that often leads to confusing incidents which lead to diminishing reputations of companies.

Field Service Management Software is a must for improving relations and organisation within a company and for an easier base for communicating with clients.

How could Field Service Management Software improve your Plumbing company

Finding the best way to improve your company’s service is difficult. Costly expenditures that have little real world value can hurt your company’s profits as can huge changes to the service you provide if they are not appreciated by your customers. However, the right changes can lead to incredible improvements in both productivity and profit margins, something no company can say no to. In the Plumbing industry especially with a relatively saturated market, often the littlest change can have a huge effect on your company’s ability to compete. Introducing Field Service Management software could be that change for you; a way of improving your efficiency without costing too much.

What exactly is Field Service Management software? Well it’s a programme that can be installed on to computers, laptops and tablets that helps your company to share information in the field. For a plumbing company it can mean all your workers being connected with each other no matter where they are out on assignment. This may not sound revolutionary but when you put this technology into practice, it can profoundly change your company for the better.

Field Service Management software will help all your employees stay in contact at all times. What this means in practice is that a supervisor can login and see all jobs that are currently active, move them around, re-assign them, check in on the ones that are running over, and at all times keep in contact with your company’s most vital resource; its workers. Your company can only complete as many jobs as can be scheduled and carried out by your employees, but with good quality Field Service Management software you can optimize your workforce’s efficiency by staying in contact with them. Some FSM software even has features that inform clients of an assignment’s state of completion, letting your focus on the job at hand, instead of dealing with customers. In the plumbing trade the flexibility and information that Field Service Management software gives, could lead to more jobs completed, better customer service and higher levels of efficiency.

It’s not just in employee communication that efficiency can improve. Using a cloud based Field Service Management system can mean access to customer’s history and to keep documents such as invoices and payment systems. All of this can be done electronically, meaning less time between charge and payment and ultimately a higher rate of cash flow.

Ultimately with the introduction of Field Service Management software your plumbing company could see an increase in cash flow, employee efficiency and profit, making it a change you need to think about for the future.

The benefits of Field Service Management software as told by two new users

Field Service Management software could revolutionize your company. Whether your field is plumbing, property sales, car maintenance or something else entirely, with good Field Service Management software you could see an increase in productivity and efficiency that could greatly increase your company’s potential. That’s exactly what happened to Stowe Properties Company and Audiolux Electrical Company. Both these companies recently introduced Webpoint E works Manager FSM software, one of the best on the market, into their companies and the benefits have been clear to see.

Audiolux

“E Works Manager’s Field Service Management software is incredible for my business. I am constantly on the go and so is my staff so it’s very rare we get a chance to talk throughout the day. With E Works Manager I can login and see all jobs that are currently active, move them around, re-assign them and check in on the ones that are running over. With all this information in front of me I can make quick decisions on who is best doing what and when. What Field Service Management software really does is help make the company as efficient as possible. Workers that finish a job early can move on to others, those that are running late can be replaced with colleagues. This fluidity helps us get more work done, quicker, whilst providing the same quality of service to our customers.”

Stowe Properties

“We were impressed with the Field Service Management’s features as well as how easy it was to use. We now don’t need a server in the office as our Field Service Management software works in the cloud, integrates directly with our accounting software (Xero), and reduces double handling and the amount of staff we need as a company. The client portal is an excellent idea and hopefully it will reduce the number of calls from clients as they can access their information and updates with a few clicks. I would recommend field service management software to any business who wants to move up a gear and embrace better, newer I.T. systems.”

This is what good Field Service Management Software can do; it can help a company to move up a gear, making it more efficient, more productive and ultimately more profitable. Why not your company?