Ditch the Paperwork and Increase Efficiency With FIELDBOSS Mobile Forms and Checklists

Checklist

Ask yourself a simple question: How does your field service team handle forms for maintenance, service and inspections nearly two decades into the 21st century? If you answered “on paper,” you may not have made it to this century yet, but you’re also not alone. Many field service businesses still rely on paper forms and checklists. This opens up plenty of room for error, from misplaced papers and mis-keyed entries, to inconsistent processes and procedures. The solution? Ditch the paperwork!

Replacing paper-based forms and checklists for maintenance, service, and inspections with customized field service mobile forms and checklists enables the standardization of processes and procedures across the entire organization. The technician can follow and document approved maintenance or service procedures, including the performance of tests and collection of data, while on-site which is automatically synched to the back office.

FIELDBOSS’s automated mobile forms and checklists enable your field team to easily capture required information, add notes and pictures, and go completely paperless while streamlining workflow for inspections and maintenance schedules with an easy to follow to-do list.

The benefits of mobile forms and checklists:

  • CUSTOMIZABLE AND CONFIGURABLE
    Your business is unique and so are your forms and checklists. Whether it’s industry-specific or for different kinds of service calls, with configurable mobile forms and checklists, you can empower your technicians with clear instructions to reduce the margin of error.
  • SMART CHECKLISTS
    Advanced feature that prompts additional questions or actions based on the technician’s answers.
  • ALWAYS STAY COMPLIANT
    With ever-changing regulations, complicated equipment and so many customers, it can be hard to stay on top of what needs to be done. Automated checklists mean no step is ever skipped so you always stay compliant and avoid fines.
  • COMPLETE AUTOMATION
    Have checklists automatically applied to inspection or maintenance work orders and synched directly to technician’s mobile.
  • MANDATORY FIELDS
    Mandatory fields ensure no part of the inspection or procedure is missed before a work order can be closed out.
  • SAVE TIME AND MONEY
    Removing the need for a technician to return to the office to hand in paperwork allows for more time spent making money.
  • ACCURATE AND DETAILED DATA
    With the ability to customize forms and utilize automatic calculations, submitted data is always accurate and instantaneous. Technicians can also note when each task is completed, and follow up with pictures and notes.
  • STREAMLINED PROCESSES
    Your technicians follow the same procedures to keep your standards consistent and high, completing the same work each time.

Connected mobile forms play an essential role in streamlining workflows and driving operational efficiencies by enabling a flow of information directly from the field into the back office system. The result is measurable improvements in time savings and information quality. Drive consistency, efficiency and compliance within your field services team with FIELDBOSS’s mobile forms and checklists.

Contact FIELDBOSS or request a demo to see how mobile forms and checklists can save your field service company time and money.

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Elevator Contractors Call for Change in the Industry

Elevator contractor

In 2018, the elevator industry reached new heights. MSN reported that it was one of the fastest growing industries in 2018 alongside other building equipment specialists. This is in line with the trend of previous years. Elevator installation and repair are a key part of the construction industry, one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation. While the success and growth of the industry is a good thing, it can also lead to some challenges.

Aging Industry & Skills Gap

There has been an increasing worry in the industry that as seasoned mechanics retire, there is a lack of skilled, trained technicians to replace them. These new mechanics lack the same experience that aging technicians do. Many contractors and business owners also feel there is a lack of accountability in the industry. As the industry continues to grow, companies are hiring with quantity over quality in mind. An elevator mechanic is one of the highest paid, and one of the most crucial technical services, yet there is a huge lack of skilled people to do the work. Unfortunately, some mechanics take advantage of the situation by being careless on the job, as they know that they can quickly find another job with their highly coveted skill set in an industry lacking in people with technical expertise. At this point, there is no solution in sight for these problems.  After fifteen years of having the same industry issues, contractors feel that the Ministry of Labour is unmotivated to find solutions, even though the elevator industry provides an essential, yet undervalued, service.

Poor Representation

Elevator contractors are aware of how they are often portrayed in the media- as the villains of the service industry. Unfortunately, when elevator companies come under scrutiny, there is no media to represent, or vouch for them, and no real way for them to defend themselves when something goes wrong. In the past, the media has been quick to blame the elevator industry for not doing their job and portrays the elevator contractors in a negative light.

As the elevator industry continues to evolve and change, contractors want to see action taken to help alleviate these challenges. They are no longer satisfied having meeting after meeting about the same unresolved problems. The primary question they’re asking is “how can we convince the right people to make a change?” They want to establish concrete steps for how the governing bodies, the companies themselves, and the individuals in the industry can work together to overcome the challenges the industry is facing. Only time will tell if the industry can rally together to make meaningful, and lasting changes that have been long overdue.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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Help Wanted: Changing the Perception of the HVAC Trade

Technicians

Most kids dream of growing up to be professional athletes, dancers, doctors or even video game designers. Not many dream about becoming HVAC technicians. The negative perception of working in the trades has contributed to the growing labor shortage epidemic facing not only the HVAC industry but other skilled trades as well.

So how can industry representatives tackle one of their biggest challenges?

The first step is changing the perception of the HVAC industry.

Ultimately, in order to change its destiny, the HVAC industry will need to change the way outsiders perceive them. For too long, the image of a career in trades has been a terrible cliché. Many believe that trade jobs are dirty and dangerous, that they require little skill or thinking, and that they offer virtually no career advancement. Pop culture depicts trade workers as bumbling, poor, uneducated, lazy, and rude. These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. HVAC contractors are professionals in a highly technical field who work to preserve livelihoods, structures, and the environment.  Those involved in the industry must take advantage of every opportunity to highlight who they are, what they do, and how they do it.

This lesser view of the trades has created a culture where vocational programs have seen decreased enrolment. Technical colleges have had to cut programs that would offer opportunities for veterans, young adults, and others looking for fulfilling careers to gain the certifications they need to secure skilled positions. With a decrease in a trained workforce, many HVAC businesses are unable to find qualified, skilled workers.

One major misrepresentation is the idea that HVAC and other skilled-trades careers require hard work for low pay. The reality is, however, that the median income wage for HVAC mechanics and installers, last measured in 2017 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $47,080. In many cases, this wage can be earned without completing a four-year degree.

It’s not that finding a job in the trades means needing no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications or associate degrees. But those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree. HVAC students also have opportunities to learn through apprenticeships, which allows them to incur less debt and gain quicker entry into the workforce than students completing a 4-year college/university degree. People with career and technical educations are also more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials, and significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study. The industry must market the HVAC trade as a comparable option to the traditional college/university path. Encourage children to explore the trades. It might not be their career path, but allow it to be an option. Teach them to appreciate the training and education that goes into learning a skill.

The industry must do a better job of making a career in HVACR “sexy”. The HVAC industry has long been considered a dinosaur when it comes to innovation and adoption of technology — an image the industry is still fighting today, even as the industry itself is in the midst of a technological evolution. It’s time to sell young professionals on the transformation happening in this industry, and how innovations like AI, IOT and field service software are automating and simplifying work. Many HVACR technicians use IOT, work in smart homes and buildings, use cloud-based monitoring and controls, and so much more.

The skilled trades deficit developed over decades. We can start to shrink the gap if we emphasize all the benefits the skilled trades have to offer and market it in a flashier, modern way. The HVAC industry has not only a tremendous opportunity, but an obligation, to communicate to the younger generation and potential job-seekers the exciting career opportunities this industry has to offer.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

Read here to find out how the HVACR industry is tackling the labour shortage.

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Cashing Out. What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Exit strategy

There are two types of business sales in the field service industry.  One kind is a stress sale, where businesses are basically given away because the owners never gave thought to an exit strategy until it was too late. The other is a premium sale, where the business is sold based on assets plus three to five times pre-tax earnings. To receive a premium, the owner must begin working on his exit strategy years before he will need it. The problem is that often the business owner will have an overinflated view of what his company is worth, and how quickly he will get paid. From the moment you go into business you should be planning how to maximize your value to avoid becoming a risky business.

Here are the elements of a successful exit strategy for field service contractors:

Profitability – Can you accurately prove the profitability and cash flow of your maintenance contracts? If your business management system does not properly allocate costs against the work orders and contracts, your valuation will be subject to discounting.

Automated Business Processes – Is your business dependant on manual processes from key administrative employees? While every successful business has key employees, if your business processes are manual or dependant on multiple disconnected software products, you will take a hit on the cost to transition your operation to something more streamlined. Buyers will also discount your valuation because you are not operating as profitably as you could be.

Low Risk – If you are using manual or disconnected software systems, buyers will discount your valuation or lock you in longer to make sure that when they take over, there are no surprises that only the owner can deal with. Businesses with documented processes are a lot less dependant on the owner or the people who are loyal to him.

Riskier businesses are less attractive and draw a lower price than efficiently run businesses who use a comprehensive field service management software to take the guesswork out of valuating your business. Contractors whose operations systems are not properly connected to what is happening in the field or in the back office always pay a price when it is time to defend their valuation. If you plan on selling your field service business one day, investing in a system now that shows you are connected to and in control of your operation will help you obtain a better selling price and a shorter transition commitment.

FIELDBOSS is a comprehensive field service software solution designed to continuously expose the vital signs of your business. If you’re thinking about selling your field service business, let us help you create a profitable business that will be appealing to acquisition candidates and sell quickly for an attractive profit. Contact us here.

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Marijuana Legalization a Game Changer for the Field Service Industry

marijuana legalization

On October 17, 2018, the Federal government legalized the use of recreational marijuana in Canada. While many Canadians celebrated what’s come to be called “National Cannabis Day”, not everyone was feeling as jubilant. These changes to the legal status of marijuana have raised occupational health and safety concerns for many employers, especially for those in construction and field service where safety is already a concern and workers must be alert at all times. Millions of Canadians take risks every day in dozens of demanding “safety-sensitive” occupations: elevator mechanics working in shafts, commercial and industrial HVAC technicians working on rooftops or with dangerous refrigerants, and many more. With the legalization of recreational pot, business owners are facing some serious challenges: liability if a stoned employee causes an accident, pushback from workers who resist random drug and alcohol tests, and the lack of a settled standard around either how much cannabis is too much, or how to measure it.

Here are a few things contractors should know in order to reduce the safety risks that may arise from cannabis legalization:

The legalization of marijuana does not mean that employees can be impaired at work. Employers will have the right to set rules for non-medical use of marijuana in the workplace in much the same way that employers currently set rules for use of alcohol. In particular, employers may prohibit the use of marijuana at work or during working hours and may also prohibit employees from attending work while impaired. This zero tolerance policy should be recorded in a written drug and alcohol policy.

The duty to accommodate does extend to medical marijuana. As an employer, contractors have obligations under the Human Rights Code. If an employee is authorized to use cannabis for a medical purpose, the employer must treat it like any other medication and may have a duty to accommodate. The employer may be required to offer to the employee an alternative job that can be properly and safely done while using medical cannabis, if such a role exists.

However, the duty to accommodate is not without limits. If accommodating the employee will raise serious safety and health concerns on the site or significantly increase costs of operations, contractors may be exempt from providing the accommodation. Accommodating an employee does not mean that you should ever let employees carry out their duties while impaired, especially when driving, operating heavy machinery, or working at heights.

Contracting companies’ best line of defence for the legalization of cannabis in Canada starts with an updated drug and alcohol policy. Contractors should work with a legal adviser to ensure their drug and alcohol policies are clear and up to date. It is also important to ensure employees sign a written acknowledgment that they have read and understood the policy in its new and revised form

Train Your Employees About Dangers and Policy. Contractors should educate employees about the dangers of using equipment and working at heights while under the influence of cannabis. Although there have been numerous public education campaigns about the dangers of alcohol impairment, there is less public education about the impact of cannabis on a person’s reaction time and alertness. Employees may be under the misimpression that cannabis has little impact on their ability to work safely. Employees should also be taught all aspects of the new drug and alcohol policy with a particular emphasis on recognizing impairment in others and what to do if you suspect someone is impaired on-site.

With the construction industry already heavily regulated, it’s important now more than ever to make certain your company is in full compliance.  FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

For more information:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization#section-8

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Employee Spotlight: Erez Yaron

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This month we shine the light on Erez Yaron, our software engineer. Erez was born in Israel, then lived in the US, before moving to Toronto in 2013. Prior to working at Rimrock, Erez was coding professionally since 1998. Before that, he manufactured jeans.

In his free time, Erez loves learning new things, jumping out of planes, scuba diving, rock climbing, and slacklining.

Read on to learn more about Erez.

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
I’ve been here since June, so about nine months. I love the balance between office and working remotely. It’s just right.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?
Palau is my favorite, and Iceland is high on the list for the next vacation spot.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I would be an astronaut taking a trip to the moon.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Jason Statham

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead, famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?
Joe Rogan would make for interesting conversation.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.
I am writing a book, if I ever find the time.

Any pet peeves?
Stubbornness.

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70,000+ Attend AHR 2019 in Atlanta

The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), which began in 1931, has grown into the event of the year for the HVACR industry. AHR 2019 was just held in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot has changed since the show was last held there 18 years ago. This years expo drew more than 70,000 attendees and more than 2,100 exhibitors, and hosted industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.

The AHR Expo provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas. Everyone from major manufacturers to innovative new start-ups attended, and exhibitors showcased and demonstrated a variety of the latest HVACR-related products. More than 70 free, one- and two-hour sessions were presented by experts from prominent industry-leading organizations. Sessions were designed to allow for easy integration of valuable education time into attendees’ overall Show agendas.

This year FIELDBOSS was excited to unveil Version 3.0 of its HVAC contractor management software at The Software Center. The show was a huge success, and we thank everyone from around the world who stopped by the booth. We look forward to seeing you all at the AHR Expo in Orlando next year!

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DOB Service Updates for End-of-Year Elevator Filings

DOBDOB NOW is the Department’s new public facing web interface that allows customers to conduct transactions online. DOB NOW provides customers with the ability to manage more robust online accounts, making it easier to submit applications, make payments, schedule appointments, check the status of an application or inspection, pull permits, make renewals, and have virtual interactions with Agency staff. The DOB has released several Service Updates for end-of-year Elevator filings.

Here’s are 3 updates you need to know:

1. Elevator Compliance Filings Service Notice (Category 5 Inspection/Test Reports)

  • New functionality in DOB NOW: Safety to allow for the filing of Category 5 Inspection/Test Reports if it has been more than six years since the last filing. These Category 5 Inspection/Test Report filings are required to be submitted in DOB NOW: Safety at www.nyc.gov/dobnow by March 31, 2019
  • DOB NOW: Safety will not accept an inspection date that is older than one year of the filing date. For example, if a filing is submitted on January 15, 2019, the oldest inspection date that can be entered is January 15, 2018.
  • This is an update to Follow-up #4: Elevator Compliance Filings Service Notice that states filings submitted until March 31, 2019 in DOB NOW: Safety will not be charged late fees.
  • If the required report is not filed by March 31, 2019, the device will be subject to a violation for failure to file as per 1 RCNY§103-02.
  • For issues submitting an elevator compliance filing in DOB NOW: Safety (including device not found) please use the DOB NOW Help Form at www.nyc.gov/dobnowhelp and provide the specific device number and the type of report you are attempting to file (CAT1, CAT5, or AOC).
  • Please also note that submitting reports is different than performing inspections – while reports can be submitted through the date as listed above, 2018 inspections cannot be performed in 2019.

 

2. New option in DOB NOW: Safety to allow for Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) to be filed without a Witnessing Agency.

  • To accommodate circumstances where Appendix K, Table N1 of the NYC Building Code allows for the completion of an Elevator Inspection/Test Report (ELV3) without a Witnessing Agency, the following question will be added to DOB NOW: Safety on November 21, 2018:
  • Does NYC Building Code Appendix K, Table N1 allow all of the inspection(s) and/or test(s) referenced in this submission to be completed without a witnessing agency?  Yes  No
  • −If ‘Yes’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector will not appear for completion or signature.
    −If ‘No’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector must be completed and electronically signed.
  • NOTE: The above question will apply to all Elevator Inspections/Tests in a particular filing. Elevator Inspections/Tests that include a Witnessing Agency cannot be filed in the same submission as Elevator Inspections/Tests that do not include a Witnessing Agency.

 

3. Deadline for resubmissions is extended to June 30, 2019 for ‘rejected’ Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) and Affirmation of Correction (ELV29)

  • The deadline for resubmissions is extended to June 30, 2019 for ‘rejected’ Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) and Affirmation of Correction (ELV29) filings for 2017 and prior year reporting cycles.
  • After this date, violations for Failure to File and Failure to File Affirmation of Correction for these cycles will not be dismissed upon resubmission.

 

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world. Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter for all the latest news.

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Door Lock Monitoring Deadline Approaching for NY Elevator Industry

It’s crunch time for the New York elevator industry as the deadline to comply with the Door Lock Monitor code is quickly approaching. The City of New York issued new guidelines for elevator door lock monitoring systems which requires completion of upgrades and changes by 2020..

The new law requires all elevators to be equipped with an electronic fix that accomplishes two things: it prevents the elevator from moving if the doors are not properly closed; and it prevents the doors from opening if the elevator cab is not present. The deadline for compliance is January 1, 2020. A second upgrade, due by January 1, 2027, requires installation of an emergency brake. The deadline for compliance leaves less than one year to apply this safety device to the elevators. As the deadline is less than a year away, elevator service companies need to advise their clients as to the rule and its implications for non-compliance.

Elevators installed since the 2009 building code most likely have this type of system in place. It already might be in the elevator control system but just not activated, or it may just need some software or type of hardware. Elevators – generally older ones – without such a door-monitoring system will be more expensive, since new equipment must be integrated with the existing elevator control system.

It’s important to note that there are several DOB requirements besides simply installing the Door Lock Monitor.

  • Even if the component is already in place, the elevator servicing company has to file a permit.
  • Next, they must get a set of electrical prints showing the DOB that it exists electrically within the control-board circuit and have it stamped by a professional engineer.
  • Finally, the DOB must come out and test the elevator.

 

Elevators deemed non-compliant by January 1, 2020 will be subject to steep fines and potential shut-downs. It is a time consuming process that shouldn’t be left to the last minute as it can take up to 6 weeks just to obtain the necessary city permits to proceed.

The good news is that FIELDBOSS can help manage the process and ensure that all your elevators are compliant before the deadline.

FIELDBOSS can be configured to:

  • Easily monitor which elevators require the door lock monitor device, which have already been installed and which have yet to be installed
  • Create drop down lists under each elevator to keep track of Door Lock Monitor device status
  • Create quotes in seconds and send to those customers in need of a Door Lock Monitor device
  • Create easy to read dashboard views of Active Door Lock Monitor quotes, Active Sites for Door Lock Monitor Installations, and Building Locations without Door Lock Monitors so you can easily stay on-top of what’s going on and keep your customers devices compliant.

 

Contact us for more information on how FIELDBOSS can help manage your Door Lock Monitoring device installation.

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HVAC Salaries Continue to Rise

Skilled trades professionals continue to earn high wages, according to The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) 2018 Construction Craft Salary Survey. More than 130 industrial and commercial construction companies across the U.S., representing over 350,000 employees, participated in the survey. The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technicians as HVAC salaries continue to rise.

Of the 32 construction positions surveyed, average annual salaries ranged from $47,700 to $92,500. Project supervisors and program managers topped the list, earning over $88,000 and $92,500 respectively. Professions earning more than $65,000 include boilermaker, mobile crane operator, tower crane operator, millwright, industrial electrician, power line worker, pipe welder, instrumentation technician, and combo welder. Additionally, seven more craft areas made more than $60,000 per year.

The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technician, up 20 percent from previous years. Since NCCER’s previous survey of 2015 salaries, the average annual pay for HVAC technicians has increased the most (20%), from $52,026 in 2015 to $62,472 in 2018.

The HVACR industry is stable and thriving, HVAC technician salaries continue to rise, there are jobs to be filled and HVACR companies are busy. This is truly an exciting time to be a part of the HVACR industry.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

Read here to find out how the HVACR industry is tackling the labour shortage.

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