5 Tips to Drive Field Service Software User Adoption

Technicians

You have finally made the decision to upgrade to a new field service management software. In order to have a smooth transition and ensure user adoption, you need to have a clear strategy in place from the beginning. The success of any software adoption within a field service organization depends on how well employees understand and accept the technology and its functions. With proper preparation and by following a few simple tips, you can ensure the buy-in of the users who will ultimately determine the success or failure of your investment.

Here are 5 tips to drive field service software user adoption:

1. Tell Them Why

When implementing software across an organization, one of the biggest roadblocks to adoption and success is the lack of transparency. Without explaining the value, or the ‘why’, employees will quickly become resentful and end up using the software for the bare minimum. Why would they want to make a change when the way they have been doing it for years was fine?

It is critical that you help them understand how it makes their lives better. Explaining the value – the reasons why you need this software, and making it clear how it benefits them – encourages them to invest the time and energy into becoming tech savvy.

You have to sell it internally. Of course selling to your employees isn’t as simple as saying the new solution has “this cool feature” or “that cool future.” You must demonstrate the value of the product for each user group, and show how it addresses their pains and helps the organization as a whole.

2. Simplicity

To ask your employees to use a new field service management system, the user interface has to be simple, fast and easy to use. It needs to be designed in a way where staff feel that they are working more efficiently instead of performing data input tasks.

3. Get Influencers On-Board

Selling value to your entire field service organization might be difficult if you haven’t actually been in your employees’ shoes. Sure, you know the new solution will simplify processes and improve the bottom line, but do you now what pains your employees experience each day?

Begin by getting buy-in from a small group of experienced employees in each user role—planners, dispatchers, technicians, and supervisors. Having been in field service for a while, they know the business and have experienced the pains more than anybody. They might even be more willing than newer employees to accept changes if they understand how the new technology will make their jobs easier. Make sure this group has good communication and networking skills. These influencers can become ‘power users’ who will be the software experts. They will come to know the product inside-out and be the go-to people for anyone in your company who has questions about it.

4. Process and Procedure Management

Process and Procedure Management is the cornerstone to user adoption success. Organizational leaders who can explain, motivate and continually drive standardized processes will ensure employee buy-in and project success. Organizations who back away will find that the staff may return to their old ways of working – negating any system replacement objectives.

5. Schedule Training Often

In addition to including the team in the selection process and getting them on board early, make sure you schedule frequent training sessions. Weak training leads to weak adoption since your staff won’t know what to do with the field service system.  Schedule training and make sure you have several experts trained who can troubleshoot problems and provide on-the-spot training as needed.

There is no magic potion for turning your staff into software wizards. Most of your team have been doing their job a certain way for their entire career. Introducing a new system without the proper preparation can create a steep learning curve and a lot of frustration. While some might be tech-savvy, others may not. And in order to really get the full value from your field service management solution, you need everyone on board – all employees using all the features, allowing management full visibility across the organization and empowering them to make better decisions.

If you are considering implementing field service management software, working with a knowledgeable experienced partner like FIELDBOSS can help ensure a successful transition and user adoption. Contact us for more information.

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8 Benefits of Using Mobile Forms and Checklists

Every day, your field service technicians collect and manage piles of paper-based form data that they then hand over to your back office staff. Accurate and consistent data collection is essential for the success of any field service business. 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! Paper forms simply aren’t cut out to manage the unpredictable and remote nature of field service operations.

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.

8 benefits of mobile forms and checklists:

  1. 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.
  2. SMART CHECKLISTS
    Advanced feature that prompts additional questions or actions based on the technician’s answers.
  3. 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.
  4. COMPLETE AUTOMATION
    Have checklists automatically applied to inspection or maintenance work orders and synched directly to technician’s mobile.
  5. MANDATORY FIELDS
    Mandatory fields ensure no part of the inspection or procedure is missed before a work order can be closed out.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. STREAMLINED PROCESSES
    Your technicians follow the same procedures to keep your standards consistent and high, completing the same work each time.

Automated mobile forms and checklists have the potential to revolutionize the way your business manages data, and if you’re not capturing accurate data, you’ll be unable to make smart data-driven business decisions. Streamline workflows and drive operational efficiencies by enabling a flow of information directly from the field into the back office system. 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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Impact of Section 301 Tariffs on HVAC Industry

Tariffs and their impact on the HVAC industry have been a hot topic among industry professionals. Many fear the HVACR industry will be negatively impacted by the tariffs, as will the consumers that rely on the products. How has section 301 tariffs impacted the HVAC industry?

There are two types of tariffs. The first tariffs are the Section 232 tariffs that apply to steel and aluminum. They directly affect the basic materials that manufacturers who import those materials would use in constructing their equipment such as boilers, air conditioners, furnaces and water heaters. The second set of tariffs that gets most of the news these days are the Section 301 tariffs with China.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in opposition to a fourth round of Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports. If imposed, this fourth round would cover an additional $300 billion worth of goods. AHRI wanted to reiterate that Section 301 tariffs limit industry access to a global supply chain for components, while bringing about several harmful economic consequences such as:

  • Increased costs for manufacturers leading to negative cost impacts on consumers.
  • Creating a more challenging environment for the HVACR industry to produce more energy efficient equipment.
  • Obstruction of the industry’s ability to address climate change because of higher than necessary demand on the electric grid due to reduced access to energy efficient equipment.

AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek stated, “For many of our members, the uncertainty of the exclusion process combined with the continued threat of tariffs creates a business climate that stymies their ability to continue to create jobs that power the U.S. economy. We will continue to interact on behalf of our negatively affected member companies in hopes that the injurious tariff situation is resolved quickly.”.

AHRI also expressed its frustration with the tariff exclusion process. The 301 tariffs allow the importer to ask for a particular product to be excluded from the tariff. This is a time-consuming process because the forms require a great deal of information to complete and can take anywhere from two hours to 14 hours, depending on the number of lines to fill out. AHRI has also recently discovered that the exclusion rate for the HVACR industry is almost 40 percent lower than the average for all other industries. Surprisingly, only 11 percent of the requested AHRI member products and equipment have thus far been granted an exclusion. Of the 1,877 exclusion requests AHRI members have made to the USTR, 858 are still awaiting a decision.

If the Section 301 tariffs continue, many industry professionals will be adversely impacted, which would then impact consumers via price increases and limited product choice. 

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.

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FIELDBOSS IS NOMINATED FOR AN ELLIE

FIELDBOSS is honored to be nominated as a finalist for an Elevator Award in the category “Best Supplier – Software”.  

The Awards, known as the Ellies, are presented by Elevator World, Inc., publisher of Elevator World Magazine.  The Ellies recognizes North American elevator and escalator industry businesses that go above and beyond for their customers, employees, community, and the industry as a whole.  This is the inaugural year for the “Best Supplier – Software” category.

We are excited to be recognized as a top software provider in the elevator industry, and proud of our owner and President, Jonathan Taub and the rest of the hard working FIELDBOSS team.

So, you want to know a little more about FIELDBOSS?

FIELDBOSS was developed by its parent company, Rimrock Corporation.

Rimrock is a consulting firm specializing in Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 software solutions for the field service industry. Rimrock has been around for over 20 years, which means our staff are industry experts drawing upon decades of relevant industry experience. We are also a Gold Certified Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner, which means we have the opportunity to leverage Microsoft technology so you don’t have to worry about product uptime, security, or IT costs. Over the years, we have configured the Microsoft Dynamics platform for specific industries, and successfully implemented software tailored to the elevator industry.

Ellies Voting begins on July 16th through August 31st online at www.elevatorworld.com/ellies.  Thank you to everyone who voted for us.

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Down to the Wire for New York Elevator Door Lock Monitor Upgrades

It’s down to the wire now for the New York elevator industry as the deadline to comply with the Door Lock Monitor code is just a few months away. The City of New York issued new guidelines for elevator door lock monitoring systems which requires completion of upgrades and changes by 2020.

In 2014, the city’s Department of Buildings required all elevators to have door-lock monitors installed by Jan. 1, 2020. According to Andrew Rudansky, a buildings department spokesman, the DOB will disclose its enforcement plan before the deadline, but there will be financial penalties for noncompliance.

Rudansky urged owners who are not in compliance to get to work and not leave planning to the last minute. “Building owners have had five years to comply with city regulations requiring them to install these door-lock monitors. The deadline to meet this code requirement is right around the corner.”

Door-lock monitor upgrades on newer elevators won’t cost much, because the required system is likely already in place and only has to be activated or needs only a simple software upgrade. For elevators between five and 10 years old, the modifications could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, and for those 10 years and older, the price could rise to $25,000. Those prices might go up as the deadline nears.

Regardless of the extent of the work to be done, you will have to go through the new Department of Buildings procedure.  There are four basic steps:

  1. The elevator contractor will have to file a permit.
  2. They will have to obtain a set of elevator electrical prints showing that the door lock monitoring system exists electrically within the control board circuit.
  3. The electrical prints must be stamped by a professional engineer.
  4. The elevator(s) must pass a Department of Buildings inspection.

As the January 1, 2020 deadline approaches, building owners need to bear in mind that it takes some time to obtain a bid and proposal from an elevator contractor, ensure that there are sufficient funds to cover the cost of the work, file the permit, and complete the necessary work on multiple elevators.  The best practice would be to get started on this process as soon as possible in order to meet the compliance deadline.  Non-compliance with Rule 3.10.12 could result not only in violations and fines, but also in loss of service, cancelled insurance coverage, and legal liabilities.  The Department of Buildings will also require installation of secondary emergency brakes on all traction elevators by January 1, 2027 (NYC Building Code Appendix K3 Rule 3.8.4.1), so building owners may want to plan ahead and have this done at the same time as the door lock monitors.

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

FIELDBOSS can be configured to:

  1. Easily monitor which elevators require the door lock monitor device, which have already been installed and which have yet to be installed
  2. Create drop down lists under each elevator to keep track of Door Lock Monitor device status
  3. Create quotes in seconds and send to those customers in need of a Door Lock Monitor device
  4. 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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Employee Spotlight: Valentina Li

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 Valentina Li, our Controller. Valentina is originally from Moscow, Russia, and moved to Toronto almost 14 years ago. Prior to working at Rimrock, Valentina worked at ASSA ABLOY as an accountant. In her spare time, Valentina loves spending time with her daughter. She also loves dogs, traveling, drawing, cooking, reading, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Read on to learn more about Valentina. 

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

I have only been working for Rimrock for 2 months, but I can already tell I am very lucky to be a part of such an incredible and welcoming team of professionals. Every day is new and exciting and I am looking forward to being part of an organization that truly values its team members and customers.

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?

I have mostly travelled to the Caribbean so far and my favourite place is probably St Maarten. My dream vacation spot is Hawaii – natural beauty beyond words.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

Travel blogger! But I don’t think one day is enough.

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed
with right now?

TV shows: Game of Thrones, Chernobyl – I don’t really have much time for TV so my list is very short.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.

I am Korean, but Russian is my first language.

If you could have a drink with anyone (fictional, alive, dead,
famous, non-famous) who would it be and why?

With my past self. I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy every day, time truly flies.

Any pet peeves?

Road construction, traffic, and my morning alarm!

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Ottawa Announces New Carbon Tax Rebate Programs

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna unveiled two carbon tax rebate programs for the four Canadian provinces charged with Ottawa’s carbon tax. They will get back a portion of that money in the form of rebates for small- and medium-sized businesses implementing energy-efficient projects.

Proceeds from the fuel charge imposed on Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan will unlock $1.45 billion over the next five years — though, for some, this is just not enough.

Details of the first stream of funding, the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) SME Project, were released on May 30. The funds would cover up to 25 per cent of the cost of larger, energy-efficient retrofit projects, such as building retrofits, fuel switching and renewable energy production, for example. Details on the second stream — the CAIF Rebate program — will be released in June. The program would cover between 25 and 50 per cent of eligible costs of specified energy-efficient appliances, such as heating and cooling equipment. The minister expects the rebate will be limited to a maximum amount of $20,000 per applicant.

Another $10 million in funding will be made available through the Low Carbon Economy Fund Partnerships program for small businesses taking on smaller projects, with funding levels ranging between $20,000 and $250,000.

These carbon tax rebate programs are subject to Royal Assent of the Budget Implementation Act and subsequent decisions from the Minister of Finance.

Over the next year, $150 million in rebates will be made available, based on the percentage of revenue collected within each province. Still, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) is underwhelmed. The organization says the funding will “do little to relieve small businesses of the financial burden imposed by the carbon tax.”

More than half a million small businesses in Canada are affected by the national carbon price in the four covered provinces. CFIB has called on the federal government to axe the carbon tax — or provide businesses with “rebates equal to the amount they will pay.”

“Small- and medium-sized businesses are now in the position of having to spend even more money just to get a fraction of their carbon taxes back,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. “This is simply too little, too late for small firms. Nothing short of a full rebate equal to the amount they will spend in carbon taxes would be satisfactory.”

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.

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Canada, U.S. Reach Deal to End Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The nearly year-long tariff war between Canada and the U.S. is over. On May 17, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. announced plans to end steel and aluminum tariffs.

The deal applies to the tariffs the U.S. imposed last June. Canada has long argued last summer’s tariffs were illegal. As part of the deal, the Trudeau government has agreed to end its legal challenge against the U.S at the World Trade Organization on the section 232 tariffs.

The deal also includes:

  • A monitoring system to watch out for any potential surges in the metals markets.
  • A commitment to stop the importation of aluminum and steel that is unfairly subsidized or sold at ‘dumped’ prices.
  • A promise to prevent the transshipment of aluminum and steel made outside of Canada or the United States to either country.

Tariffs may be re-imposed if the principles of the agreement are not upheld.

The tariffs have disrupted supply chains and added extra costs for consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries on both sides of the border. They were also becoming an obstacle to ratifying the new North American free trade pact. The end of the steel and aluminum tariffs increases the chances of all three parties passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“This decision reflects what is known to be true by friends on both sides of the border: Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally for more than a hundred years, and our long-standing partnership and closely linked economies make us more competitive around the world and improve our combined security,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“With this decision, Canadian and American businesses can get back to what they do best, working constructively together to the benefit of our economies, our people, and our communities.”

Next on the agenda is the USMCA. Ottawa is set to soon introduce legislation to ratify it. Time is short, as the House of Commons and the Senate rise in late June ahead of the fall election. US VP Mike Pence was in Ottawa on May 30 to press the urgency.

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.

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NY State to Create Elevator Safety and Standards Board

Millions of people in New York rely on elevators to get safely to and from work and home. It is one of the few states that doesn’t require people working on elevators to receive any education, training, or licensing by the state. However, last week the Senate passed legislation to reduce unsafe elevator hazards and help protect New York elevator riders and the people who work on them. The bill, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino, will create the New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Board, and establish license requirements and standards for elevator contractors, mechanics, and inspectors.

The Elevator Safety Act had been introduced 5 times without any luck. This is the first time the bill has made it to the Senate floor, let alone secured approval from the legislative body. If the Assembly passes the measure, New York’s licensing requirements would fall in line with the majority of the country. In 36 states and the District of Columbia, elevator mechanics are required by law to be licensed, which typically involves the completion of an accredited program that can run as long as five years.

To obtain a mechanic’s license, under the requirements of the bill, workers must complete a union apprenticeship, or complete the National Association of Elevator Contractors’ Certified Elevator Technician program or other approved training programs.

“There’s a path to this license for anyone working in the industry, “said Michael Halpin, of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1.

Within the first year of the bill becoming a law, mechanics who have worked on elevators for at least 4 years can apply for a license. The bill would also requires mechanics to participate in eight hours of continuing education every year in order to renew their licenses. The state Department of Labour and the city’s Department of Buildings will be responsible for issuing statewide and city-based licenses, respectively.

The bill also creates a nine-member Elevator Safety and Standards Board, which will oversee the implementation and enforcement of the new training requirements. Under the legislation, the DOB must maintain a list of licensed mechanics, contractors and inspectors and make it available on the agency’s website. The DOB currently doesn’t have any record of the number of mechanics operating in the city.

The measure still awaits approval from the state Assembly. The legislative session ends June 19.

Senate Bill, S.4080-B, will:

  • Require the licensing of persons engaged in the design, construction, inspection, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators and other automated people moving devices.
  • Create the elevator contractor license, elevator mechanics license and elevator inspector license.
  • Establish the New York State Elevator Safety and Standards Board which will consist of nine (9) members of which three (3) each are appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the Assembly and Temporary President of the Senate.

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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Elevator Mechanic Ranks High in Canada’s Top Jobs 2019

Technicians

The crowded skyline of Toronto is about to get even more crowded. Toronto is adding 31 skyscrapers by 2024 to accommodate the city’s housing shortage. This vertical building boom also means more elevators.  Are there enough technicians to service all these elevators? According to Canadian Business, this field has been on a growth tear, with 83% more people working as elevator mechanics than there were five years ago.Canadian Business magazine has ranked Canada’s top 100 jobs for 2019 and elevator mechanic came in at number 22.

According to the most updated statistics provided by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in Ontario, there are 55,812 elevators regulated by the TSSA and 4,634 licensed registered technicians to fix them. That’s a 12:1 ratio. According to the president of the National Elevator and Escalator Association, Kelly Leitch, that is a reasonable
number.

“We do not see a shortage. We have 400 new apprentices coming into the system anywhere from the first to fourth year of (school). We see over the last 10-year period, we’ve seen a (30%) increase in the number of apprentices coming into the system. “said Leitch.

In Ontario, training to become an elevator mechanic takes four years. There’s a 720-hour apprenticeship program which includes one night a week of school for unionized workers at Canadian Elevator Industry Educational Program (CEIEP) or at Durham College for non-unionized workers. According to Canadian Business, the median salary for elevator mechanics is $81,000.

It’s clear that working as an elevator mechanic is a promising career path in an industry that is continuing to grow. This upward trajectory signals a healthy future for anyone looking to enter the elevator business.

FIELDBOSS is a proud member of CECA, NAEC, and ECNY and a supporter of the elevator industry. Please contact us for a free demo or to learn more about our elevator contractor management software.

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