Canada’s Prompt Payment Act: Why it Needs to Pass

atologwiAs employment in the construction industry contributes to 6.4% of Ontario’s workforce, delayed payments are bound to negatively affect our Canadian economy. A prompt payment act would benefit the 1.3 million people working in Canada’s construction sector. Many countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. have implemented a prompt payment legislation so why has Canada not yet taken the plunge?

Over the last decade, these delayed payments have grown immensely leading to job losses, slowed projects and small business bankruptcies. Largely affected by overdue payments are Canada’s trade contractors. While they wait for payment, they must still pay their staff and suppliers. This causes an increase in construction costs to customers. This results in a reduction in the amount of hiring and training that a firm can take on leading to declining growth across the sector and limiting the long-term availability of skilled labor.

Since 2015, the Canadian government has created a new legislation to resolve the issues in regards to prompt payment. Bill S-224 or the Prompt Payment Act was created in order to promote consistency and punctuality when it comes to payments. The new legislation aims to not only help contractors, workers and their families, but it aims to help stimulate the overall economy.

As the legislation was introduced, there has been immense support for the bill including the Contractors Division of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC). Support from these associations that both happen to also be a part of the National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada (NTCCC) helped take the bill to the Senate so quickly.

To read more about Canada’s Prompt Payment Act, or to express your support, click here.

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Do You Know Your Call Back Rate?

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The service promise that customers hold their contractors to is not too far-reaching: ensure that the equipment and/or assets under contract remain operational. Is that too much to ask?

According to Aberdeen research, the most aggravating occurrence and the primary reason that customers complain about a service organization involves their inability to fix it right the first time. Call back rates, or first-time fix, is one of the most vital metrics in measuring field service performance. Having to make a second appointment was more frustrating for 61% of respondents than waiting time for appointments and technician not arriving on time. In today’s competitive environment, just showing up isn’t good enough. The technician must have the parts, the skills, and the information to solve the problem on the first visit. A poor first-time fix number not only reflects poor field service processes, but is also an indicator of disgruntled customers, likely customer attrition, and reduced service profitability. The ability to measure and manage your call back rate is the first step to improving your field service processes and achieving operational excellence.

Improving your call back number requires the ability to capture and analyze critical data in real-time. A configurable call back dashboard can facilitate the easy monitoring of this important metric. The configurable dashboards provide you with easy to read graphs and charts that visually alert you to what is working and what is not. Is there a certain technician that is struggling with first-time fix? Is it a particular client? A bad month? How much money are you losing on second and third truck rolls? Once you have this real-time information readily available, it will be easy to analyze what caused the deficit and allow management to quickly adjust as necessary. Performance dashboards facilitate getting the right information to the right users at the right time to optimize decisions, enhance efficiency, and accelerate results.

Today’s fast-paced, competitive service environment demands a top-notch call-back rate. Having the right data in hand is critical to making informed decisions, rather than managing your service business on “gut feel”. Contact FIELDBOSS and learn how to keep customers happy and service revenues flowing by cutting your call back rate and improving your first time fix.

 

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Preparing for a Successful Implementation


7-tips-to-successful-ehs-software-implementationFailing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Your field service company has realized they need help as workflow inefficiencies and disconnected systems are preventing growth and limiting revenue. After months and months of searching for new field service software, your team has finally found a solution they like. There is only one thing left standing between your service operation and pure, unhindered efficiency: a successful implementation.

Here are some must-haves to ensure a successful implementation:

  • Managers who are committed to leveraging technologies for organizational productivity and situational awareness.
  • A strong accounting person who is responsible for the success of the implementation, coupled with a strong operations person.
  • A person solely dedicated to maintenance contracts, if you have more than 50 contracts.
  • Adequate time for testing your new business process in a test environment.
  • One staff member who has a passion for doing a deeper dive into the new system post-implementation.
  • Iterative improvements based on the existing and future capabilities of the Microsoft platform and improvements to FIELDBOSS®

An unprepared and poorly planned implementation will not only discourage employees from using the new program but also destroy any benefits the software would have provided. Take the time to plan and do it right. Your employees and customers will thank you.

Contact FIELDBOSS® to learn how to plan for a system conversion, how to spot implementation risks before they happen and how to set and measure the ROI and Payback on such projects.

Join us at the NAEC Convention in Orlando this Fall where we will be speaking about Business System Conversions – Best Practices, Lessons Learned and ROI Expectations. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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How to Keep Your Staff Happy So They Stick Around

Happy EmployeeThe field service industry has been facing huge challenges: the aging workforce reaching retirement age, key employees leaving and a lack of skilled workers to replace them. The fear of losing key staff is one of the greatest challenges field service companies face, as these employees take with them all the knowledge and customer relationships they have built up over the years. The fact is, it’s cheaper, easier and generally preferable to retain skilled, loyal workers so it’s important to invest in your staff to prevent employee churn, increase productivity, and improve morale across your workforce.

Here are a couple of investments that will have lasting, positive effects for your workers and your field service organization:

1. Invest in Training

While training technicians on the job may seem obvious, routine training is easy to overlook in service organizations, especially busy ones. Providing continuous training for your technicians, whether it’s in person or online, will help them master various repairs, inspection processes, solidify their understanding of the operation and ensure they have the skillset needed to fulfill your customers’ maintenance agreements. If you need to teach new topics quickly, facilitate a newsletter or company blog that details trending product issues and provides instructions/tools needed to address those issues.

2. Invest in a Comprehensive Field Service Solution that Includes Mobile

Making your technicians’ jobs easier and work-lives happier will lead to a more productive organization and ensure employee loyalty. That’s why investing in a field service management software and mobile solution is imperative; it allows your techs to work better and faster. With a mobile app at their fingertips, techs can:

·        View schedules in real-time

·        Update technician status and labor time

·        Track and manage assets and inventory

·        Gain full access to service & work-order history

·        View warranty and contract details

·        Access repair instructions

·        Perform inspections

3. Invest in Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration Tools

Field service companies must eliminate the tribal knowledge within their organization. Invest in an automated solution to collect, centralize, and organize all your data and documentation so it’s always up to date and accessible to anyone in the company. You can also have your senior-level technicians grow your documentation library by having them create troubleshooting guides and videos while on the job which can be shared and viewed by newer technicians. It is important to promote a team-based culture and communication programs to encourage greater levels of collaboration among field technicians. With your best technicians’ wisdom stored in a company-wide database, you won’t lose that expert knowledge when they do retire or leave the company.

4. Prevent Employee Churn

Measure your field technician’s status frequently. Knowing what drives your technicians is integral to ensuring you can keep them around for the long haul and prevent a premature exit from the team. More and more service organizations are beginning to monitor and measure their field service team’s engagement and, more importantly, acting on what they gather. If you don’t know there is a problem, you won’t be able to address it.

5. Show Your Appreciation

One of the best ways to improve employee relationships is by showing them they’re appreciated and preparing them with the right training and tools. Your technicians will thank you with their hard work and loyalty.

6. Establish Mentors and Coaches

Retain retiring workers in part-time training or technical support roles and as mentors and coaches to pass along knowledge. Retiring workers and top field technicians can help shape and train the next crop of workers. Underperforming organizations don’t even know who their top technicians are and therefore don’t know they should both keep those employees and give them ways to help the entire team learn how to excel at service. Mentorship programs will play a bigger role in service as the wave of millennials coming into the workforce continues to grow and the baby boomers retire. Build a bridge between your expert workers and the next wave of technicians.

When key employees leave your field service company, they take their individual knowledge, expertise and customer relationships with them. You must do everything you can to keep your top people on your team for as long as you can.

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Still using paper-based checklists? Check out the new FIELDBOSS Service Task Configurator

service-task-config-no-back One of the major new features in FIELDBOSS® 2.5 is the Service Task Configurator. Today, contractors use paper-based checklists to record maintenance or service work in the field. With our Service Task Configurator, it is possible to create customized and automated checklists in the office which are then synched to the mobile device so techs can follow and document procedures or collect data while on-site. The checklists walk your techs through specific processes and make sure that the job is done completely and accurately. Uses include maintenance procedures and Government mandated checks, such as health and safety procedures.

Our new service task configurator:

    • Allows for the creation of unlimited standard Service Tasks and Service Task Configurations (combinations/groups)
    • Gives steps, checks, and tests to perform on a piece of equipment at a specific service interval (maintenance).
    • Allows recording of test values where applicable.
    • Provides date, time and Geo-coordinate stamping on the record to validate when and where the work was done.
    • Allows you to flag a Service Task as S (Satisfactory), U (Unsatisfactory) or N/A (Not Applicable) and record a note and quoted amount for the Planned Maintenance Report.

 

Contact FIELDBOSS to learn more about FIELDBOSS 2.5.

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Finding & retaining talent in the future of field service

It’s no secret that baby boomers are slowly beginning to age out of the workforce. This year the average boomer age is 65, an age at which many individuals decide to retire. It’s also no secret that many of the positions at construction and field service companies are filled by these very same baby boomers who are inching closer to retirement.

Another idea to consider is the fact that much of the millennial generation has demonstrated that they prefer university and college to trade school, and are approaching the workforce from a position quite different from construction and field service. These trends, coupled with a general upswing in demand, are creating the perfect conditions for a talent war. With this information in mind, here are some things your business can do to help attract, retain, and manage talent in an increasingly competitive market.

Proper feedback and regular employee evaluation have proved time and time again to be essential for maintaining a healthy roster of top talent. Not only do individuals like to be appreciated for their hard work but they also look up to management for help and suggestions. Construction Executive magazine has suggested that companies with a culture of respect where honest feedback can be given without it feeling personal and bruising egos is one of the number one most important factors to success in any industry.

Another way to maintain an inventory of top talent is to invest in a field service solution that attracts that oh-so-sought-after millennial talent. Millennials have consistently demonstrated that they care little for traditional business practices and are far more interested in finding new and more optimized ways of getting things done. This is of course because they are the first generation to be raised fully immersed in the technological revolution and are extremely computer-inclined as a result. Having a cutting edge software system managing the business is the best way to demonstrate to millennial talent that you are an excellent place for them to set up shop.

If you are interested in ensuring that your company will be staffed by the best and brightest in the industry or are simply interested in what our field service software FIELDBOSS® can do for your company, please do call or click here today to schedule a free demo. We would love to show you what we’ve been working on!

 

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Unique Car Elevator ­for Porsche Design Tower in Miami

miamiporschepenthouseIf you consider your car to be a work of art, then you then you might want to consider buying one of the few remaining oceanfront apartments in Miami’s Porsche Design Tower. The condo will house three robotic elevators that deliver both the driver and their car right into the home while parking their car in the showcase styled garage. Residents will be able to see their cars from their living room. Although automated parking garages are nothing new, this is the first residential car elevator where you can stay in your vehicle. The elevators will weigh about 40,000 lb each and travel upward at 800 fpm. Each elevator is air conditioned and has fire-suppression capabilities.

When a resident drives into the complex, the car is scanned and proceeds onto a turntable. With the car’s engine switched off, the turntable aligns with the glass elevator capsule that uses a robotic arm to pull the car into the elevator. But don’t worry, laser scanners will ensure the arms don’t scrape the vehicle’s paint job.

Upon reaching the desired floor, the same arm will then park the car in the apartment sky garage, delivering the owner to the front door. While riding in your luxury car to your luxury apartment, you can use the 45 to 90-second ride to take in the panoramic ocean views and watch the in-elevator TV giving new meaning to the term “drive in”.

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Improving Business Processes with a New Software System

dreamstime_12660438How your company handles day-to-day work, from the time sales come in the door until the work is complete, has likely developed over many years of business experience and staffing changes.   Often a business will have very senior resources both in the office and in the field that have over the years put their stamp on the business by instituting new and improved ways of working.  The desire to improve how you do things is a good thing and generally encouraged by successful companies.  Improving the way you work has been around a long time before technology and the micro-chip.  It’s just a matter of how fast it needs to happen.

With the rapid pace of technology and automation now available to business, the need to change and improve is not only more important but it is in some cases essential to growth or even survival.  “Change” can be extremely difficult to accomplish for businesses with their processes still stuck in a hybrid of manual paper, phone calls and old back-office systems.  It also becomes nearly impossible to implement change quickly due to the many old manual paper process and legacy systems.  Along with this hybrid of manual processes and technology, there is usually a parallel of old and new staff using them.  This combination of manual or old systems and the staff that are holding on to them dearly, creates significant tension and resistance to change.  The newer generation are born and grow up with smart phones, tablet and social media while the people with the deep business acumen in your business in many cases are still writing manual work orders and phoning or emailing when they want something.

The good news is that all of the technologies have now evolved to the point that most all sizes of businesses can afford them.  Yes, sometimes it is a stretch, but a lot is on the line.  You can now remove the majority of paper and have end-to-end integrated processes with intelligent data at your fingertips through mobile devices, secure browser or even directly inside Outlook. All of this great technology is served up in the cloud from servers that you no longer worry about.  The not-so-good news is there is both a cost and effort to make the decision to dive-in and to implement a new system across your business.  The easier decision is to procrastinate and put it off for another year.  When you finally do make the jump, and you probably know you will have to, your staff will need to be managed and supported through the change and the way you work will need to adapt at most all levels, including management.  More than ever you need an experienced company to partner with to help you through this transition.  Change is not always easy for people.  However, there is never a better time to slow down and do it right.  You don’t have to change everything overnight, nor use all the great new capabilities, but you will find that the short term pain will be just that, short term.  Your more experienced staff may take longer to come on board but once they do, their creative juices will be re-invigorated.  It is pretty exciting to see your teams not only embrace the culture of change, but finally have the tools and technology to do it quickly.

For more information on how you can improve your business processes, contact us here. 

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How Important is Customer Service Software in the Field Service Industry?

Well, how long does it take a customer to receive service from us upon request? What is the average time it takes to turn around a quote? How efficient is our customer relationship process today?

This information is invaluable when you own a service business. The answer to these questions is typically the difference between an unsatisfied customer and a long term relationship. Every field service company should have some type of customer service software.

As a FIELDBOSS consultant I often get to speak to clients and prospects about what their desires are for a new software. The list always starts with Customer Service. My clients want the best experience for their customers, just like I want the best experience for mine.

To improve any process you need to first know how it works today. FIELDBOSS allows you to track the time it takes between a customer raising their hand and the solution to be delivered by utilizing Case Management.

Utilizing the functions of Case Management within FIELDBOSS you can see how long it takes your team to respond to any requests that are started from outside the business. The three major types of customer requests are:

  1. Request for Service
  2. Request for a Sales Quote
  3. Request for Information

Case Management gives your team the ability to track the completion of customer or technician requests in real time. The image below shows a Case that has been opened by a customer service employee at a Mechanical contractor business. Every case is assigned a Case Type, a Customer, a User or Team that will complete the work, a Follow Up By date and many other functional bits of information.

No cold air screenshot - corey

In this scenario a customer has called in requesting service on piece of equipment that is not working properly. The information is captured in a case, assigned to the Service Department, where that case will sit in a Queue (similar to a To Do List function for a team). That Queue can be handled by a manager that will assign work accordingly or can be picked up like a ticketing system by any member of that team and simply monitored by management. The case will contain all necessary information throughout this process, allowing anyone whose role it is to complete the case with the means to do so.

Once the Service department has completed the case, the case is closed and time stamped.

Views and Charts within the system allow management to see the completion of these actions in real time and historically. By utilizing the fields on a case we can run dynamic reports that track things such as ‘Overdue Cases by Case Type’, ‘Average Time to Case Closure’ and ‘Open Cases by Specific Employee’ among many others.

To find out more about how Case Management can help you and your team efficiently satisfy customers, monitor employee workloads and make sure nothing falls through the cracks reach out to us here or watch this recorded webcast.

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Reducing The Stress and Risk of Litigation

litigationIt is a fact of life that some of the people you do business with, be they customers, employees or suppliers, are going to sue you. Or they may threaten you with some sort of litigation. Whatever the claim, the threat of litigation is completely stress inducing to owners of contractor organizations. It is also expensive and can be demoralizing on the other people you work and live with.

Luckily, companies using FIELDBOSS can deal with litigation or the threat of litigation better than most. FIELDBOSS clients have a lot more control over these threats because the fundamental benefit of FIELDOBOSS is that all the data and knowledge of the organization’s customers, suppliers, staff, and equipment is connected, documented, and readily accessible. That means producing documentation to defend yourself can be compiled quickly, and cost effectively. This allows you to make strong defences against challenges easy, on target, and sends an early message they might want to think twice before they take you on.

FIELDBOSS is an activity based system. That means that everything going on in your business, such as service activities, phone calls, emails, pictures are logged against a service call, maintenance procedure or installation project. A detailed claim defence file that is quickly turned around to the other side’s lawyers will start conversations about ‘do we really want to do this?’

With FIELDBOSS, your business risk is lower, and that means you should be able to relax a little more, with more energy and head space to focus on the things that matter.

For more information or for a demo of how the FIELDBOSS solution can help your business, please contact us here.

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