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Employee Spotlight: Saadia Zakki

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 Saadia Zakki, our Project Coordinator. Saadia was born and raised in Pakistan. She spent 7 years studying and working in England before moving to Toronto in 2012. Prior to working at Rimrock, Saadia worked in various administrative and Project Management roles in several industries from Business to Food and IT services.

In her spare time, Saadia loves music, painting, baking and long nature walks.

Read on to find out more about Saadia:.

 

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
It’s just been over a month now and I am loving it here! Wonderful team to work with. I love the work life balance that Rimrock offers.

 

What is your favorite place that you have visited and where is your next dream vacation spot?
We had some friends in Leominster (South Wales, UK) and I loved visiting them. They had a lovely 18th century cottage at the bottom of the hills. It was always refreshing to take a break from fast paced city life and rediscover my own self.

Dream vacation spot is Bali!

 

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

A Fire Fighter.

 

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

I would like to cast myself as ME 😊

 

What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?
None! I hardly get any time for these with two little young ones.

 

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

I am a good cook! (I think…..lol)

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The Growth of the HVAC Industry

The HVAC industry has been steadily growing over the last few years and according to the Bureau of Labour and Statistics, it looks like that trend is going to continue. With 2018 coming to a close, air conditioning and heat pump unit shipments are on track to bring 2018 numbers closer than ever to 2005’s record-breaking 8.3 million combined units shipped. Employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. It’s definitely a good time to be in the HVAC industry!

What is driving the growth?

More factors than just the economy and new technology are contributing to the continued success of the HVAC market. A combination of direct and indirect factors is influencing shipments, installations, and current HVAC trends.

  • Commercial and residential building construction is driving employment growth, and job opportunities for HVACR technicians are expected to be good.
  • The growing number of sophisticated climate-control systems is also expected to increase demand for qualified HVACR technicians. Repair and replacement of HVACR systems is a large part of what technicians do. The growing emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction is likely to increase the demand for HVACR technicians as climate-control systems are retrofitted, upgraded, or replaced entirely.
  • Maintenance and repair work is always relatively stable. Business owners and homeowners depend on their climate-control or refrigeration systems year round and must keep them in good working order, regardless of economic conditions.
  • During the economic downturn between 2007-2011, many consumers couldn’t afford to replace their aging systems. Instead, the industry witnessed a trend of increased repair demand in the HVAC marketplace. Now that unemployment is down and consumer confidence is returning, there is a fair amount of pent-up demand for the replacement of these old systems.
  • Weather is another factor that influences the HVAC industry’s numbers. With spring and summer 2018 in the books, weather records have already been set across the nation. This summer ranked the fourth hottest on record for the U.S driving the need for HVAC systems maintenance, repair and installations.
  • Government regulations regarding energy efficiency and the use of environmentally-friendly refrigerants will increase the sales of HVAC equipment.

 

What to expect moving forward?

The HVACR industry is currently stable and thriving and most see the future as exciting. However, any downturn in the economy or financial markets and the longer-term impact of the tariffs are wild cards for the HVACR industry, so we must continue to monitor those areas very closely.

That being said, there are jobs to be filled and HVACR companies are busy. This is truly an exciting time to be in the HVAC 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.

 

 

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FIELDBOSS Timesheet Processing

Timesheet approval for payroll and invoicing is an area that FIELDBOSS excels at streamlining. For most contractors it’s the same frustration loop every other week. Technicians come into the office with stacks of timesheets that were signed off by clients. The back-office rushes to get everything processed in time for payroll, and then someone else needs to review the time so the work can be billed properly.

With FIELDBOSS, technician service activities are the digital time card for the job. The system will automatically create the timesheet, which can be reviewed and adjusted in real time as required. Additional modifications can be made, such as accurately accounting for overtime or dealing with travel time. The system will also allow for the mechanic to have a helper, and for that helper to clock in and out at different times. FIELDBOSS can also be configured to make sure staff submit time as they go through their day so no more waiting for the timesheets to come in.

Once time cards are approved, data can be filtered and viewed in lists or charts, so you can see at a glance what is going on. Typical views include:

  • Time that has been started this week that has not been submitted
  • Time that has been submitted but not approved
  • Time submitted and approved
  • Time incurred but not charged to a job

 

Moving along the process, FIELDBOSS can use the technician’s pre-defined burden rate, and add that cost to the job. This is beneficial since most systems do not have a way to calculate burden rates, and if they do, it is typically a manual process. With FIELDBOSS, once the technician’s burden rate is set up in the system, that rate will be referenced going forward as required.

Additionally, FIELDBOSS timesheet data can be automatically uploaded into Dynamics GP payroll, or whichever payroll program your company is using.

If time processing is creating a bottleneck for your company, contact FIELDBOSS to learn how we might be able to help you with this problem.

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5 Signs Your Field Service Software is Due for an Upgrade

If you run a field service company, you know that technology is propelling the industry in a new direction. How quickly and efficiently you implement these technologies and processes into your business practices will determine how profitable you become and how satisfied your customers are. The intense competition to retain and attract new clients is prompting many field service leaders to consider if now might be the right time to replace their existing FSM solution.

 

How do you know when it’s time to replace your field service software? Here are 5 tell-tale signs to guide you through your thought process:

  1. Your current system is costly to operate and maintain. The reality is if you are spending too much money to operate and maintain your existing system, then it is probably time to replace it. Typically, companies that operate older, disjointed, and/or fragmented systems experience higher IT operating costs than those who do not.
  2. Your existing field service software is hindering your growth. Depending on its feature functionality, your FSM software can either enable or limit your company’s growth. If your existing system does not have industry specific functionality to manage the processes and workflows of your business than it is time to consider a new software.
  3. Your software does not connect your office to the field. This is one of the most frequently mentioned reasons for replacing software. To succeed in the field service industry, it is imperative that your field service software integrates the mobile field service with the back office, allowing data from the technicians, the scheduling engine, and the business systems to be seamlessly integrated. If not, it’s time to upgrade your system.
  4. Your current solution doesn’t track KPIs. Ultimately, your ability to successfully meet financial targets, grow your business and keep customers happy depends on your ability to manage service processes against KPIs. If your current system doesn’t advise you in real-time of your company’s performance on first-time fix rate, completed vs invoiced jobs, customer retention etc, then perhaps its time to consider replacing your current system with one that does a better job and drives performance gains.
  5. Your current solution lacks flexibility and scalability. It is important that your FSM software can scale up or down without a massive investment in capital or labor. In addition, it should offer flexibility in terms of how workers can share and access data. otherwise, you guessed it, time for a system upgrade.

 

With the quick pace the field service industry is moving, the intense competition for business, the demands from customers and the lack of qualified technicians, the only way to survive and thrive is with the help of a comprehensive field service management software.

 

Contact FIELDBOSS for a free demo and learn about our industry specific features and remarkable technological innovations..

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Turn Your Inventory into Cash: How to Manage Optimal Inventory Levels

Managing inventory is a continuous balancing act. If you carry too little, then you may lose revenue opportunities, have a low first-time fix rate, and disappoint your customers. If you carry too much inventory, it will sit in a warehouse and become obsolete, tying up cash or causing costly write-downs. FIELDBOSS’s new Inventory Management features take care of the little things that help you manage optimal inventory levels. Real-time inventory tracking includes features to ensure an up-to-date, accurate, and audited inventory, that will minimize inventory shrinkage and write-downs.

FIELDBOSS 3.0 introduces support for inventory management integrated with Dynamics GP. Users can now:

  • view stock levels at “warehouse locations” directly in Dynamics 365
  • mark inventory items as “allocated” at the time the Work Order is created. Views are available to see the Work Orders for which the items are allocated
  • mark stock “issuances” in Dynamics 365 and have them integrate over to GP
  • receive a warning when placing a Work Order for out-of-stock items

 

FIELDBOSS allows you to get control over the inventory management process, so that you’re not manually entering pieces every time you have to build an invoice. FIELDBOSS give you updates when items are running low and helps you understand what’s being used in the field so that you can order more effectively. It also helps to ensure that technicians have what they need for each service call, resulting in greater first call resolution and more satisfied customers.

By using a more robust inventory management system that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics GP, you can track the value of the inventory you currently have, keep an eye on reordering inventory that you know you’ll need, and cut down on the amount of inventory you have languishing on the shelves.

Contact FIELDBOSS for a free demo and learn how to manage optimal inventory levels. You’ll never run low on the tools you need to get the job done right the first time.

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It’s a Good Time to Be an Elevator Mechanic!

The elevator industry is booming. Employment of elevator mechanics was estimated at 22,100 in 2016, and is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026. This is faster than the average for all occupations according to the BLS. New installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators in stores and residential and commercial buildings is expected to drive demand for workers. Another factor driving demand for this role is a growing number of elderly people requiring elevators and stair lifts in their homes.

Today, the color of your collar doesn’t have to dictate the level of your income. Year over year, Elevator Installers and Repairers rank in the Top 5 Paying Blue Collar jobs according to Forbes and the US BLS, with a median pay in 2017 of $79,480/year or $38.21/hour. Even more impressively, the top ten percent of elevator mechanics can earn $115,880.

 

 

Elevator mechanics can sleep soundly year-round, as they need to worry less about employment volatility than other construction occupations. The elevator industry is typically less affected by economic downturns and seasonality. That being said, salaries do vary considerably depending on factors such as education, experience, industry, and location, as noted by the examples in the chart below. If you’re an elevator mechanic working in Massachusetts, you could be making up to $104,170 per year!

 

 

As previously mentioned, salary variability in the elevator space is also dependant on which sector you work in. The highest paying industry sector for elevator mechanics is the federal, state, and local government sector with an annual salary of $94,030. The lowest paying sector is the real estate and rental and leasing sector with a yearly wage of $33,770.

Regardless of where you work or which sector you work for, it’s clear that working as an elevator mechanic is a promising career path in an industry that’s only expected 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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Maryland and Connecticut Join New York, California in Phasing Out HFCs

This past week, Connecticut and Maryland announced that they would be joining New York and California in phasing out HFC refrigerants. The four states are taking the lead and hope to encourage others to follow suit in defiance of US government policy.

All four states will model their new regulations off of the previous EPA’s SNAP rules from 2015, which were dropped by the government of President Donald Trump.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York hoped to pick up the responsibility of climate leadership in the US in protest at what he called efforts by the Trump administration to roll back environmental protections and deny the impact of climate change.

Gov. Cuomo stated: “While the Trump administration denies climate change and rolls back efforts to protect our planet, New York is picking up the mantle of climate leadership and forging a path forward. We are taking action to begin the phase out of the use of hydrofluorocarbons, and I encourage other states to join with New York and California to combat dangerous HFCs. In New York we believe denial is not a life strategy, and we will continue to fight climate change to protect our economy, our planet, and our future.”

With Maryland and Connecticut now joining New York, California and Canada in calling for the phase-out of HFCs, it will help to drive the industry nationally and globally to phase out these pollutants. This will also benefit those U.S.-based businesses that produce the substitutes for HFCs.

With 3 states coming forward in the last week, it is likely that we will see more states join in the HFC phase-out. These states are all a part of the United States Climate Alliance. The United States Climate Alliance is a gathering of States and Territories that aim to uphold the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which the Trump Administration pulled the United States out of last summer.

While there are only seventeen States in this alliance, it’s the size of the states that’s important. Over forty percent of the United States population resides in these States and over forty-five percent of the US GDP comes from these States.

States in the alliance are:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

As more states follow suit, we will begin to phase out HFCs by default. If just under half of the country’s population are living in HFC phase down States, then it wouldn’t make sense for companies to continue using HFCs in newer applications. Why make two different models for different States if we can just make the switch and have one model in both States?

Several major HVAC and Refrigerant manufacturers have already announced their support for California’s HFC phase down law. If they are in favor, then we are inevitably going to see the end of HFC refrigerants in the United States.

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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What the Perkins Career and Technical Education Law Means for the HVACR Industry

Some relief is on its way for the technician shortage plaguing the HVACR industry! The U.S. federal government offered hope to the HVACR industry by ushering the Perkins Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act into law. What does this mean for the HVACR industry?

The objective of the Perkins Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, also known as Perkins V, is to improve the way career and technical education (CTE) programs are run in schools by easing state and local requirements. The updated law will gradually increase annual funding from $1.2 to $1.3 billion over six years, creating a nearly 11 percent increase over fiscal year 2018 funding levels, expanding the reach of CTE programs to ensure more students can participate.

“It is encouraging to see Congress acting in a bipartisan way to pass a measure that will provide a long-overdue boost to career and technical education in this country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “For too long we have chosen to push every student to college instead of providing them with essential and valuable skills. [This] vote marks a key milestone in rebalancing the nation’s educational approach by offering students multiple paths to success.”

Perkins IV went into effect in 2006 and was supposed to be updated five years ago. During that time, the HVAC industry has experienced a shrinking talent pool while the demand for labor has increased faster than the average for all occupations. Technician jobs are expected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. Not only is the demand increasing, but the current workforce is preparing to retire within the next 10 years.

ACCA played a critical role in Perkins V becoming a law and in encouraging revisions to aid the HVAC industry in particular. Barton James, ACCA’s senior vice president for government relations stated, “ACCA is pleased to see the agreement includes new flexibility to allow states to set benchmarks for career and technical education using grants from the $1.2 billion program, a departure from existing law, which had a complete lack of focus on in-demand job opportunities, like those in HVAC,”.

Perkins V offers each state the ability to design their own grant usage. Rather than following a one-size-fits-all agenda, each state can now design their training to fit with upcoming job opportunities.

HVAC training program curriculums have not been updated in 20 years. The opportunity to update what actually gets taught within HVAC training programs was one of ACCA’s objectives during discussions around Perkins V. ACCAs director of industry relations, Todd Washam, stated, “We need to try to get more schools to teach a curriculum that allows their students to hit the ground running and be productive,” he said. “I mean, on our internal board forum, we see the frustration shine through from contractors about the poor quality of students that they’re getting from the technical schools.”

ACCA has been pressing congress for a level playing field for support for technical training, on par to four-year college programs, as well a DOL approved HVAC curriculum to ensure quality work-force training.

ACCA will continue working with committees in both chambers to clarify the legislative language to ensure that there are no unintended consequences from the new flexibility provided to states or time-consuming administrative requirements for the technical colleges, instead of focusing on provding high-quality CTE programs.

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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How FIELDBOSS Maintenance Management Can Help Your Company’s Valuation

Elevator contractor business valuations are largely based on the net present value of the maintenance contract cash flow, discounted for risk. With FIELDBOSS Elevator contractor management, you can target the key elements that go into the valuation calculation, which  maximizes your business valuation to any potential buyer. Even if you are not planning to sell your company anytime soon, it’s a good idea to manage your company as if you were. Here are a few things to keep your eye on:

Maintenance Contract Cash Flow

Contractors who bill faster get paid faster. With FIELDBOSS, you can customize the level of detail that customers receive in order to keep billing disputes, write-offs and bad debts down to a minimum. The FIELDBOSS mobile app functionality includes maintenance task management and field oversight, which reduces costly unplanned repairs, saving both you and your customer money.

Back Office Contract Management Productivity

FIELDBOSS has numerous automation capabilities so the staff who manage maintenance can get more done in their day. Business processes we typically automate include scheduling maintenance visits and tasks, purchasing, timesheet approval and accommodating your customers’ various billing requirements

Maintenance Contract Business Risk

With elevator maintenance contract profitability, the little things all add up to significantly impact your valuation. FIELDBOSS allows you to manage your elevator MCP program checklists, enforce safety procedures, and make sure that any regulatory or manufacturer requirements never slip through the cracks. When maintenance is structured and monitored, your company can focus on cash generating client service, rather than the distracting and non-cash producing activities associated with compliance or regulatory adherence.

Whether you are managing maintenance for hundreds or thousands of elevators, FIELDBOSS gives you the tools and information your company needs to stay organized, connected, and in control of your contractual responsibilities. Contact us for more information.

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FIELDBOSS is Heading to NAEC Convention 2018

FIELDBOSS is hitting the road again. We are heading to NAEC 2018 at the Atlantic City Convention Center from September 26-27. We recognize that as busy elevator contractors you have hundreds of things on the go every day, which can lead to stress, headaches and frustration. That’s why we created FIELDBOSS, an elevator contractor management software built within Microsoft Dynamics 365. FIELDBOSS leverages the best technology and functionality available allowing you to automate business processes and fully integrate your operations in the office and the field. We deliver solutions that eliminate paper, increase sales, reduce costs, minimize risk, and facilitate regulatory compliance. FIELDBOSS focuses on solving industry problems and staying ahead of industry trends, so you can focus on growing your business without the headaches. Come visit us at booth 2122 or  contact us to find out more about our industry leading solution.

HOW YOU FEEL:

 

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