How To Attract And Retain Top Millennial Talent In The HVAC Workforce

Technician_kpis_featureMillennials are the single largest demographic in the workforce today, outnumbering generation x and the baby boomers. Millennials, which are defined as individuals in between the ages of 18 and 34, aren’t done their invasion yet. Construction Executive reports that as much as 40% of the millennial generation are still in high school or post-secondary school and have yet to grace the workforce with their presence. So that means the future of the modern workforce involves integrating the habits and methods of young millennials with traditional ways of doing business. This could mean big changes to a few large aspects of how business is typically done.

Millennials are consistently described by their older peers as “good with technology”. This common description is without a doubt grained in some truth; millennials are the first generation to grow up with computers as a common household device rather than a novelty. They are the first generation to really popularize and inhabit online social networks and communities. So when millennials show up for work and see what they perceive as old and out-dated business practices still in place, they are not inclined to stick around.

So how can established HVAC contractors hope to attract and retain top millennial talent going forward? One possible solution is the adoption of technology in all business processes. Millennials intuitively understand and see value in upending old ways of doing things and replacing it with something newer and faster. As a demographic, they are more open to new experiences and less concerned with a conservative attitude towards business processes. If things can be done better using a new process, millennials are inclined to be on board.

This is where FIELDBOSS® enters the picture. FIELDBOSS® is exactly what technologically-inclined millennials prospecting for job opportunities will want to see at HVAC contracting companies. Top millennial talent wants to be assured that the company they decide to work for is doing everything they can to be at the forefront of the industry. That means having a sophisticated, industry-specific software that helps the business run smoothly and efficiently. It means not relying on carbon paper and copying information on clipboards to transfer data. It means having a searchable database of clients and job sites, or being able to view real-time profit on a work order.

Millennials know that the world is changing. They have grown up in a world of rapid technological development and quick change. What would your world view be like if you were in middle school while the iPhone made its debut and you barely remember the time before everyone had the internet on their phones? The key to attracting and retaining the best of the incoming millennials is presenting a business environment that they can work with. And since millennials are only going to become more and more of a prominent force in the workforce, you can expect that this trend will only increase. For more information about FIELDBOSS®, please contact us 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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Lose Your Operational ‘Blind Spots’ and Grow Your Field Service Business

In order to grow, be successful and stay ahead of the competition, field service organizations must improve the visibility of their business. Improved visibility is not only essential for business owners and managers but the back office team and their service technicians as well. From knowing what jobs are being worked on in real-time to tracking weekly trends with accurate data, it is only through having 24/7 access to key information that field service companies can start to run the most effective, efficient organization possible.

A comprehensive field service management software solution eliminates the operational blind spots and helps achieve the visibility your company needs in order to grow.

With improved visibility, you will:

Access Real-Time Business Intelligence, 24/7

Business owners and managers need to know what is happening in their business at any time no matter where they are. Whether they are in the office or out and about they need to have a good understanding of what is actually happening at that moment and be able to easily view all their key information in a single place. Dashboards and 360° record views are perfect for a quick glance at important data on the go.

Extend the Back Office into the Field

The connection between the back office and the field are essential in any service operation. The right field service solution gives the whole organization the ability to manage the workflow seamlessly and keeps all operational elements connected. A constant two-way flow of information between the teams keeps everybody up to speed with what is happening.

Eliminate Paperwork

Paperwork causes field service organizations constant headaches. Whether it is completed on time or not at all, delayed as workers don’t go into offices for days at a time, or inevitably being lost, paperwork most certainly leads to costly mistakes. Jobs may not be marked as completed so they are left outstanding and work is not invoiced. When a field service solution is integrated with the back office, data just needs to be captured once and all systems are updated automatically creating improved visibility across the workflow. It means that no data is lost or delayed waiting on paperwork to be sent in and an audit trail is in place.

Grow Revenue

The combination of improved instant, real-time visibility and flow of information with the longer term identification of trends are critical to business and revenue growth. Trends will show best practice, uncover problems and show profitability by customer, service or product. This will help improve service, retain customers and increase the productivity of technicians.

Improve Customer Service

Access to information in real-time significantly helps the back office and the field technicians work together to provide the highest level of service to your customers. Through one cohesive system, the field worker has access to the job history and customer records allowing for a more detailed understanding of not only the task at hand but also what has happened before and why. This means better decision-making and ultimately improved resolution for the customer.

Save time

A field service organization’s daily operation is constantly changing and the business has to adjust in real-time as it happens. Appointments cancelled, emergency jobs created, or jobs taking longer than anticipated all require a schedule that can be adjusted in a matter of seconds. With the right field service software, once a job is scheduled, technicians instantly see all the information they need to complete the job and, with the system being updated continuously, operations can keep tabs on jobs at all times. Field techs can then document the work from the job site much more quickly, using drop down menus on their mobile and then capture the customer’s signature electronically – all significantly reducing the time taken to close out work orders.

Work Offline

Field service solutions that are designed specifically for the mobile environment have the ability for mobile workers to use their device offline, which ensures that there is no loss of data while out in the field.

 

The benefits of improved visibility are far reaching for field service companies and touch all departments and employees in the company. For the business owner or manager, the health of the business is easily monitored as customizable reports can be run, allowing focus on driving higher overall revenue and increased margins. The service manager sees real-time status updates of all jobs across the teams, and for the field technician critical information can be accessed and shared in real time in the office and the field. For those in the back office, invoices can be automated immediately upon job completion, achieving a quicker payment cycle.

To help eliminate your company’s blind spots, call FIELDBOSS today

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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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OSHA Rule Provisions Delayed to December 1

downloadOn May 12, 2016, OSHA published a final rule amending its existing recordkeeping rule. The revised rule requires affected employers to electronically submit, annually, specified occupational injury and illness information directly to the agency in an effort to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The provisions, which prevent employers from discouraging workers to report work-related injuries and illnesses, have been delayed again, this time from November 1, 2016, to December 1, 2016.

Make sure your company is in compliance with the new OSHA recordkeeping rule by December 1st. To be in compliance you’ll have to:

  • Inform each worker of how to report a work-related injury or illness;
  • Establish a “reasonable procedure” for your workers to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately;
  • Provide your workers with information about the company’s “reasonable procedure” for reporting work -related injuries and illnesses;
  • Provide access for your workers and their representatives to the company’s work-related injury and illness records;
  • Ensure that your company’s reporting procedures do not deter or discourage workers from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness;
  • Inform each worker of his or her right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without retaliation; and
  • Inform each worker that employers are prohibited from discharging, or in any manner discriminating against workers for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

A comprehensive field service software solution can help to accurately and carefully document all your company actions related to compliance with these new requirements. So when it’s time to submit documentation, all the information is ready to be sent with the click of a button.

If you would like more information on OSHA’s recent recordkeeping rule changes, click here.

For more information on how FIELDBOSS can help you stay safe and compliant, contact us here.

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FIELDBOSS Welcomes Josh Ford

joshFIELDBOSS is excited to welcome Josh Ford to the team as a Junior Consultant. Josh was born in Durban, South Africa. Prior to FIELDBOSS, he studied Business Commerce at Ryerson University and worked as a senior accountant for Russian Standard Vodka. Outside of work you will find Josh working out, taking road trips, and playing various sports and video games.

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More Women Pursuing Careers in the HVAC Industry

we_can_do_itEmployment of HVAC (heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration) mechanics and installers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. However, many in the industry are concerned that companies may be unable to find enough skilled talent to fill all these positions. A simple solution is to encourage more women to pursue careers in the trades.

The HVAC-R industry has traditionally been male-dominated. In fact, according to the 2015 Bureau of Labor statistics, women represent only 1.7 percent of all people working in the industry. Despite that low number, women who are involved in the industry are beginning to notice an increase in more women becoming HVACR technicians and contractors, and taking on leadership roles with distributors, wholesalers, and manufacturers.

The long-standing stereotype that the role of a service technician is typically male is slowly starting to change. As more women join HVAC contracting companies, they are changing the perception and proving that the job isn’t just for men. These women are presenting themselves as strong, positive female role models for other women. Additionally, many trades schools, local and federal governments, and private institutions are helping to make it easier for women to train for jobs in AC maintenance, industrial air conditioning, and more. This drive to encourage women to become HVAC contractors and work in the industry has led to the formation of Women in HVACR, an organization that provides support, mentorship, scholarships, and helps women get into the industry. Through the organization, they connect with schools and help to make the HVAC industry less of a mystery to women and encourage women to consider it as a career choice. Meanwhile, HVAC companies themselves are trying to assist women in making the transition by hosting career fairs, awarding scholarships, and helping to support women new to the field.

Not every challenge of being a woman in a primarily male industry has been lifted, but the HVACR industry continues to further open its doors to women seeking a stable, well-paying career. With the increasing open-mindedness and equality, career opportunities, ownership abilities, and established support systems in place, more women are starting to take notice and consider the HVAC-R industry as a career. As the skilled trades shortage grows larger each day, it’s imperative to begin changing the perception of a woman’s ability to excel in the trade professions. For HVAC-R businesses to continue to grow they need to find enough quality employees for the future. Owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a service technician looks like. It is exciting to see this transformation beginning to take place and to see more women getting involved and succeeding in the HVAC-R world.

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6 Risks that HVAC Managers Can Avoid with Field Service Software

exclamation-48283_1280Running an HVAC business can be a daunting task The key to success is identifying the greatest risks and finding effective solutions. Whether technicians call in sick, appointments are cancelled without notice, or a new regulation is put in place, risks are all around. Disruptions like this to the everyday schedule can be a logistical nightmare to resolve if you don’t have the systems in place to shift resources in real-time.

Risk 1: Technician Departure

Solution: Build the company knowledge base

By linking field techs with each other and with back office personnel, mobile technology keeps everyone within the organization in sync, transcending the limitations of geography. Whether you have technicians that are retiring, off sick, or busy on another job, automating and sharing data reduces the risk of having a single point of information. A connected mobile device helps build easily accessible knowledge bases so field workers can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location.

Risk 2: New Regulations: Staying compliant & avoiding fines

Solution: Automate dates, inspections, checklists

The only way to stay compliant and avoid fines is to use a field service management software that automatically and continuously updates information, collects critical data, and issues alerts on violations, complaints, inspections, fines, hearings, jobs, and permits for property owners, managers, and service companies. In today’s environment, compiling manual information on a spreadsheet is not enough to prevent critical issues from slipping through the cracks. Constant attention and technology are required to prevent the accumulation of risk factors that can lead to violations and fines.

Risk 3: Unknown KPI’s

Solution: Increase Business Intelligence

In order to identify revenue-generating opportunities and profit throttling snags, your company must have software that can collect the necessary data from your technicians and provide quick answers to key questions. Once you collect the information you want to analyze, service dashboards display it in easy to read, real-time charts and graphs. Being able to link operational and financial modules offers an opportunity to have detailed visibility into both your processes and profitability. With increased transparency comes the ability to identify and target money-making opportunities or financial pitfalls that would otherwise go unnoticed and unaddressed.

Risk 4: Cash flow issues

Solution: Eliminate paper

While sales and profit look great on paper, cash is what keeps your business afloat. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your company’s invoicing, billing and collection cycle. A paper-based system creates complicated paper trails, resulting in lost work orders and invoices. With such a system, accountability is difficult to track, revenue can be lost, and a company’s reputation compromised. The key to simplifying the paper trail is automating work orders and invoice processing so that virtually all manual and paper methods are replaced by automated functions that limit input errors and streamline processes. Not only does automation solve issues in the field, it also simplifies administrative functions by reducing data entry, eliminating transcription of work orders, and jumpstarts the billing process so that cash flows into the business more quickly.

Risk 5: Schedule cancellations

Solution: Create visibility in the scheduling calendar

What happens when your technicians are on their way to a job and the customer suddenly cancels or isn’t home? With automated scheduling and dispatch together with a connected mobile device, a cancelled appointment no longer means wasted time. A dispatcher can easily re-assign that technician to another nearby job. As well, the technician can catch up with a maintenance job closest to his location by simply viewing the map on his mobile device. The map shows his current position, and techs can easily zoom in and out to see which upcoming maintenance jobs are nearby. No more time wasted or money lost for cancelled service calls.

Risk 6: Revenue Leakage

Solution: Provide real-time warranty information

Warranty and service contract leakage happens when a technician performs a service at no charge, assuming it’s covered by the customer’s contract. An end-to-end field service software will not only help spot the “leaks,” but also “plug” them by providing service techs with the warranty and contract information they need, when they need it, to ensure they won’t give away service or parts for free.

A comprehensive field service management software solution helps protect your company from unexpected events that can disrupt day to day operations and effect your bottom line. Manage risks by ensuring that all your company data and knowledge are collected and stored in one cohesive system so you always stay one step ahead.

Contact FIELDBOSS to find out how we can help your company.

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IAPMO Votes to Limit Flex Duct Usage in Residential Construction

IAPMO_logo (2)A recent ruling by the Uniform Mechanical Code Technical Committee of the IAPMO calls to restrict the usage of flexible air ducting in residential construction. This ruling is causing a stir within the HVAC-R industry and many are calling for it to be overturned.

If this ruling is adopted, it will become part of the 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code and eventually inserted into the California Mechanical Code.

HVAC-R contractors have legitimate concerns around how they will be able to keep costs under control when the new regulation becomes mandatory. Phillip Grosenbach, President of the Institute of Heating & Air Conditioning Industries, Inc. (IHACI) responded to the ruling. “We are at a loss regarding IAMPO’s decision. Our organization strongly objects to the vote and urges industry leaders to voice their opposition.” His concern is that, with the California HVAC/R/SM industry already severely regulated, this new regulation will cause an even more significant cost increase to California residents. He believes the benefits of the flex duct, when installed properly, are too great to overlook and with a third party air flow test already mandated in California, those ducts not installed properly will be flagged.

The IAPMO is offering several opportunities for the public to voice their opinion on the new ruling.           On September 27, 2016, they will hold an assembly session in Albuquerque, NM and they also invite comment through January 3, 2017, at the following link:

http://codes.iapmo.org/form_comments_upc_umc_2018.aspx

Additionally, during the week of May 1, 2017, the Mechanical Technical Committee will meet in Anaheim, CA to allow audience members to directly address the Technical Committee in regards to the development of the 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code.

The HVAC/R industry is constantly changing and evolving and, therefore, so are the rules and regulations. FIELDBOSS® Contractor Management Software tackles business challenges to help your company adapt more easily to any new regulations. Contact FIELDBOSS for more information.

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