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Elevators: New Innovations and Technological Advancements

IoT

Smart Elevator technology is on the rise! Over 12 million elevators are in operation around the globe, which move over a billion people each day.  This makes elevators the most frequently used mode of transport in the world – well ahead of cars, planes, or any other mode of transportation. 

In the past few years, we have witnessed many innovations that are transforming the way elevators operate as well as how elevators are serviced. Artificial intelligence, connected systems, and smart elevators are just the beginning of what will lead to more out-of-the-box technological innovation.

Here are 3 major advancements from the last couple of years.

1.Smart Elevators

Similar to other technology we use everyday, like televisions and phones, elevators are also becoming more high-tech. Skyscrapers continue to grow in number and in height making it necessary for elevator manufacturers and contractors to adjust the safety and speed of elevators in order to keep up. Smart elevators have brought big changes to the industry.

What is a smart elevator? A smart elevator uses technology to create a more efficient way of moving passengers, especially during high traffic hours in busy buildings. Smart elevators can even be programmed to operate in different ways at different times throughout the day. For example, a passenger pushes a button in order to set his destination. Then, an indicator directs them to a specific elevator that will transport him to that specific floor the fastest. This results not only in much faster and better organized service, but also a decrease in overall travel time and a reduction in energy consumption. 

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Connectivity is the future of elevators, and it won’t be long before internet-connected elevators become the norm.

How do they work? Elevators that work alongside the internet have sensors that gather data about usage and other factors such as wear and tear on parts and machinery on the elevator car. These devices are now making predictive maintenance easier, cheaper and less labor-intensive for elevator service providers. The information is retained on a cloud-based platform where it is then processed and analyzed to predict if, and when, maintenance will be needed. The information on the cloud could also predict future problems allowing elevator technicians to make repairs before there is a bigger issue/breakdown. As a result, the vertical transportation industry is starting to take advantage of the technology to help maintain these expensive assets with a high cost of failure.

3. Augmented Reality Diagnosis

There are thousands of different configurations and millions of parts for elevators, but with augmented reality, technicians can dig into the problems on site more quickly and safely. Before a technician even gets to the site he or she can get familiarized with the machine room layout, zoom in and out and learn how it all fits together. This new technology can give technicians the ability to look at a component and see a catalog of its parts right in their field of view.

There are major innovations and advancements happening in the elevator industry. Every year is bigger and better. With technology evolving, elevators, and the way they are maintained, will continue to evolve too. Who knows what will be new in the elevator industry by 2030.

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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Knowledge Management is Power in the Field

Knowledge Management

For service leaders, knowledge management must be a top priority. One reason? As field workers retire, companies are losing significant amounts of “tribal knowledge” that isn’t well-documented anywhere except in those technician’s minds. Customer expectations are higher than ever, and service organizations simply cannot afford to operate in a massive brain drain. Another reason is that companies increasingly recognize how powerful the collective knowledge of their workforce could be, if only every employee could access it. Knowledge management is power in the field.

But wait a minute, what is knowledge management?

Gartner defines knowledge management as “the formalized management of intellectual assets, enabling effective action through their use… which promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, and use of intellectual assets”.

The lack of knowledge at the point of service results in extended downtime for customers, secondary service visits, low productivity and lost revenue. Proper knowledge management benefits all stakeholders:

Customer Satisfaction

With real-time access to customer service history and equipment details, technicians will be able to diagnose and resolve problems faster, improve utilization and productivity, and resolve more customer issues on the first visit. Customers will have a better service experience, improved product uptime, and faster answers using self-service customer portal.

Money in Your Pocket

Field service organizations that leverage knowledge management have higher first-time fix rates, better Service Level Agreement compliance, and improved profit margins.

Dynamic Checklists Empower Your Service Technicians

Service technicians generally find themselves on their own when providing field services. However, this does not mean they have to be without access to key knowledge and insight. Nowadays, thanks to checklists and file libraries, they can remain connected to the know-how they need to provide quality service. Dynamic checklists enable workers to perform efficiently and effectively thus maximizing productivity and customer satisfaction.

Checklists also ensure conformity and compliance and guarantee that processes are standardized across the board. This means that all your customers receive the same level of quality service regardless of the level of experience and expertise of the assigned technician.

Service Excellence and Efficiency Through Shared Knowledge

With knowledge management, you can ensure that all team members share the same data by applying information captured in the field to business processes and practices. Whether online or offline, your employees in the field will have access to all the necessary information to ensure that your customers receive the right response on the first visit.

Centralize Knowledge Base in Cloud

Even if different teams create the content, having a centralized warehouse to publish the content makes it more effective to manage, maintain, and share. Data Silos, fragmented content, and disparate applications cost more and lower the user experience. With cost-effective and secure cloud storage, field service organizations can keep the information consistent, up-to-date, and available in real time, anytime and from any location.

Integration

A connection between key business tools provides your service technicians with access to the same information as your back-office team while they are on site with customers. This means, for example, that they have a complete overview of a customer’s history, previous product issues, and all the necessary handbooks, guidelines, SLAs, and more. And all of this adds up to a higher first-time-fix rate and more efficient customer service.

Capitalize on Knowledge Accumulated by Field Service Technicians

Integration with your CRM makes it possible for field service technicians to provide increased customer insight and overview to back-office employees. With shared access to information like follow-up visits, device models, upgrades and more, field service workers and back-end representatives can work together to increase cross-selling and upselling initiatives.

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 an easily accessible knowledge base so field workers can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location.

Knowledge is the key to success for any business. Collecting valuable field service information like documentation, product manuals, video tutorials, and invaluable accumulated knowledge from experienced service technicians empowers your field staff, and leads to increased employee and customer satisfaction.

Contact FIELDBOSS for a free demo and start building your knowledge base today.

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Employee Spotlight: JP Sebastian

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 JP Sebastian, our Dynamics GP Account Manager. JP was born in Manila, Philippines, but moved to the GTA when he was 2 years old, and has been living in Toronto since 2010. Prior to working at Rimrock, JP worked as a Finance Manager at ESKA Water.

In his free time, JP enjoys running, golfing, fishing (he can let you in on some of the best fishing spots in the city!), trying new restaurants, and attending as many sporting events as he can.

Read on to learn more about JP.

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

I’ve been with Rimrock for 3 months. I think the most enjoyable part of the job is helping identify solutions to make our clients jobs easier.

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

Port Antonio Jamaica. The food, the culture and the vibe of the people is contagious. 

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

Professional Fisherman like Bob Izumi. Being paid to travel to fish is kind of amazing!

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

Tough choice, but it would be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.  Of course, the resemblance is almost uncanny!

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

I really got into the show “A Million Little Things” this year. I am also a big fan of The Walking Dead.  

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

I would love to have a drink with LeBron James.  He is an athlete who has been in the spotlight since he was 18 years old, and is always being compared to basketball greats, Jordan and Kobe. I would love to hear about how he deals with juggling the demands of being a high-profile athlete, his family, reputation and legacy.  All in his own words- unplugged.

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

A few years ago, when I worked for Toronto FC, I had to stand in for a player who was injured and back home in France for the annual team picture.  One of the other players asked if I was a new player and why the team would sign someone so fat ☹

Any pet peeves?

Slow drivers in the passing lane, people who do not shovel or salt their sidewalks, and people that place large food/drink orders in the drive-through.

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6 KPIs You Should Be Tracking

KPI

Field service business owners want to know one thing: where exactly they need to make improvements in order to achieve more profitability, provide better service, make technicians more productive, and lower business expenses. But you can’t improve what you can’t measure, and KPIs allow service organizations to define, measure, monitor, and track performance to achieve their organizational goals.

A comprehensive field service management software can help you analyze your KPIs and optimize your productivity. Here are 6 KPIs you can use to measure your performance against your strategic plan:

1.First-Time Fix Rate (FTFR)

First-time fix rate is the percentage of repairs that are resolved on the first customer site visit. Being a leader in this regard indicates your field service processes are streamlined and your techs are enabled with the mobile tools they need. Research shows leaders have an average FTFR of 86 percent. This goes together with another important KPI, callback percentage. A good service department should have less than 2% of its service calls result in a callback.

2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Rate

Knowing how satisfied your customers are is critical for a field service organization. CSAT, a critical KPI, drives customer loyalty over the long-term and is directly linked to profitability. Loyal customers buy more from you,stay longer, refer business to you, and recommend your organization- all of which drive the top and bottom line. Which leads us to our next point.

3. Customer Retention

How good is your company at inspiring loyalty among its customers? Existing customers are worth more than new ones, as the revenue a company generates from loyal customers can sustain a business. Customer acquisition is often expensive due to the time, resources, and efforts that need to be put into finding new clients. Retaining clients means having ready-to-go word-of-mouth marketing that can help you acquire new customers. Similarly, if you provide great service and your technicians use their power to offer customers new products and services, you will be able to increase customer retention. 

4. Field Technician Utilization Rate

What percentage of appointments do our techs arrive to on time? How long does it take them to complete a service appointment? How much time are they spending on job sites? Breaks? Overtime? Do they frequently upsell additional maintenance, products, or services? How many jobs are they completing each day? Who are our best performing technicians, and why? Knowing how productive your employees are can show you where their skill strengths and weaknesses lie. It can also show you whether more training is required, new techs are needed, or if you need to restructure your current team.

5. Average SLA Compliance Rate

This KPI is crucial to both customer retention and service profitability. As the main contract between the field organization and the customer, SLA compliance rates have far-reaching implications. Did we make money on that job? Are our maintenance contracts profitable? Are we giving away free service? How many customers are on service contracts? If your service organization is routinely being penalized for missing SLAs, you are incurring financial penalties, not to mention providing less than stellar service to your customers. Industry research shows that top performing companies have a 90 percent SLA compliance rate while average companies are at 80 percent. It is crucial for field service companies to measure how much revenue is being made from services so that business processes can be adjusted and improved.

6. Completed vs. Invoiced Jobs

If a technician has completed a job, but the customer has not been invoiced, you would want to know, right? The clock for service-to-cash starts ticking the moment the job is done, not when the customer is invoiced. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your company’s invoicing and billing cycle. The longer the lag time between the service and invoice dates, the greater the cash flow crunch you will have to deal with. An unsent invoice after completed work means missing revenue for your business.

KPIs help provide a snapshot into how your company is performing overall- which is critical for the success of your field service company. Does the thought of measuring all these KPI’s seem overwhelming? With a comprehensive field service software, all of this information can be automated and analyzed in easy to read charts and graphs any time, any place. If you can measure these aspects of your business, you can identify what you’re doing well and what needs improvement – and make better-informed business decisions based on the real-time data your business is already generating.

Contact FIELDBOSS to learn how to better serve your customers – and to help your business thrive.

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7 Ways to Avoid Business Risks with HVAC Service Software

HVAC field service organizations are under a lot of pressure in today’s competitive environment, as more companies are entering the space, new technology is being developed and deployed, and customers have higher expectations for service than ever before. In order to be successful, HVAC management must be able to identify the greatest risks and apply effective solutions before they become a problem. Whether technicians call in sick, appointments are cancelled without notice, or a new regulation is put in place, risks are all around. Disruptions like these can be a logistical nightmare to resolve if you don’t have the systems in place to shift resources in real-time.

Here are 7 ways to avoid business risks with a comprehensive HVAC service software:

Risk 1: Single Point of Information

Solution: Build the company knowledge base

Mobile technology links field techs with each other and with back office staff, keeping everyone within the organization in sync and 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 an easily accessible knowledge base so field staff can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location.

Risk 2: New Regulations: Staying Compliant & Avoiding Fines

Solution: Automate dates, inspections, checklists

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. An end-to-end HVAC service management software will automatically and continuously update information, collect critical data, and issue alerts on violations, inspections, fines, and jobs for HVAC service companies.

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: Slow Billing Cycle

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: Cancelled Service Calls

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 HVAC 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. It will also alert you when the contract is about to expire so you can be sure to resign the customer to a new contract.

Risk 7: Seasonality

Solution: Build a Preventive Maintenance Program

The phone rings off the hook when it’s freezing cold and steaming hot, right? Naturally, business generally booms when the weather is at its most extreme. What all of this means for the HVAC business owner is that cash flow fluctuates seasonally, as do technician hiring schedules and customer calls. However, with an HVAC service software solution, you can build a successful preventive maintenance program to help maintain revenue during the down seasons. When homeowners sign up for these services, it means they’ll pay an annual fee for preventative HVAC check-ups during the spring and fall so you’re busy and making money all year.

A comprehensive HVAC service management software solution helps protect your company from unexpected events that can disrupt day to day operations and effect your bottom line. Manage business 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 HVAC company avoid business risks.

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4 Ways HVAC Software Can Optimize and Organize Your Service History

Superior service is becoming increasingly important for HVAC companies attempting to differentiate themselves from the competition. Are you still on the fence about why it makes sense to invest in HVAC field service management software to improve your service? Here are 4 ways HVAC software can optimize and organize your service history to help set you apart with excellent service.

1. Keep an Up-to-Date, Real-time Customer Database

If you use a rolodex or address book to keep track of customers, it’s probably hard to keep their most recent contact information, let alone their service history, on file. It’s easy for manual customer management systems to quickly become disorganized and outdated. Also, address cards and contacts apps don’t have fields to record information about service calls, work performed, or notes on their equipment.

The best way to keep an up-to-date customer database is to use HVAC software that will keep your customer database uncluttered and updated in real-time. With HVAC software, you’ll be able to digitally store, automatically update and save all information related to your customers, such as their address, their phone number, their email address and any alternate contacts who are added to their file. You can also record information about your customer’s equipment, their service history and any service agreements they have with you. So, when you want to reference a customer’s account, you’ll be able to see much more than their name and a telephone number scribbled on a 2×4 card.

2. Real-Time Information on Service Calls

Many HVAC technicians don’t take notes about a customer’s equipment or what they observed on a service call. Those that do tend to scribble them onto a notepad, or whatever paper they can find. These notes rarely make it back to the office and if they do, most are not legible.

A comprehensive HVAC service software that offers mobile access to technicians in the field makes it easy and effective for them to log and reference notes about the customer, the current call and their prior service history while on site. Mobile access allows techs to go paperless in the field. From a tablet or smartphone, techs can complete and update their jobs along with materials, parts, labor and other charges on a work order. They can even add pictures or video for further and more detailed information.

When techs have mobile access, it also helps them look prepared, organized, and able to provide top-notch customer service. A customer is looking for all of these things, and will be more likely to become a returning customer if your techs are consistently organized and providing excellent customer service.

3. Set Reminders for Services

With so many customers, assets, and service calls, it can be challenging to remember when a customer’s due for service or needs follow-up. With automatic alerts to notify you of your maintenance jobs, detailed checklists with tasks, all the historical data of previous work done and parts used, and so much more, your HVAC service company will always be organized, efficient and prepared for every maintenance job. With an all-inclusive HAVC contractor software solution, implementing these programs has never been easier.

4. Renew Service Agreements Before They’ve Expired

An end-to-end HVAC service software allows alerts to be set up to automatically email anyone in the company (or even customers) when contracts are about to expire. This way, you know well in advance when to start working on a contract renewal so that an existing contract never falls through the cracks. You can also get automatic email notifications or dashboard views when contracts aren’t hitting the profit benchmark you set for your company.

Preventive maintenance and service contracts are the most profitable source of revenue for HVAC service companies. Businesses that perform preventive maintenance out-earn companies that don’t. Give your technicians and office employees the tools they need to sell, renew, and manage contracts.

Clearly, there is no better way to improve customer service, increase field service technician utilization, and boost service efficiency than with a comprehensive HVAC service software. By equipping your technicians with the right tools, you can start providing the best service possible to your customers, while increasing business profitability.

Contact FIELDBOSS for a free demo.

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Elevator-Related Fatalities in Construction Industry On the Rise

According to a new report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, elevator-related fatalities in the construction industry are on the rise. A total of 145 construction workers were killed in elevator-related incidents from 2011 through 2016 – more than twice the combined total for all other industries.

Here are some stats from the report:

  • The construction industry experiences more elevator-related fatal and nonfatal injuries than any other major industry sector. From 2011 to 2016, elevator-related incidents caused 145 deaths and 2,410 severe injuries among construction workers.
  • Although nonfatal injuries involving elevators declined over time, both the number and rate of such fatal injuries increased in recent years.
  • More than one-third of elevator-related fatalities occurred while the victim was performing assembling or dismantling tasks, and the majority of elevator-related fatalities in construction were due to falls to a lower level.
  • Elevator installers and repairers had the highest risk of fatal injuries among all construction occupations.
  • Younger construction workers had a higher risk of both fatal and nonfatal injuries involving elevators than their older counterparts.
  • While Hispanic workers had a higher risk of elevator-related fatal injuries, they were less likely to experience nonfatal injuries related to elevators.
  • About 25,000 people in the general public were treated at hospitals due to elevator- or escalator-related injuries in 2017, and the number jumped by 30% in the last decade.

To ensure the safe operation of elevators and the protection of employees, OSHA requires employers to assure that employees who install and maintain elevators are adequately trained and knowledgeable about proper installation, wiring, and maintenance procedures. Organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have set standards for the construction and maintenance of elevators and escalators and their safe operation. In addition, NIOSH FACE reports have provided specific recommendations on how to prevent elevator-related injuries based on case evaluations.

As an elevator service contractor, you should ask yourself, does your elevator software help prevent accidents? Many of the elevator- and escalator-related deaths and injuries could have been prevented if adequate protection and safe work practices and procedures had been in place. Software like FIELDBOSS Elevator Contractor Management can help prevent accidents from happening. FIELDBOSS provides automatic alerts to notify you of your maintenance jobs, detailed checklists with tasks, all the historical data of previous work done and parts used, lists of all code required tests, and so much more. Our elevator service software puts critical information in the hands of field workers, improves office to field technician communication, as well as technician to technician communication, streamlines processes and boosts productivity. By staying connected, making regular service calls and being up to date on equipment, FIELDBOSS can help you prevent accidents before they happen.

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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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.

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

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