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8 Ways Connected Mobile Software Increases Field Efficiency & Productivity

Mobile Software

The goal of any field service company is to get as much productivity out of their available resources as possible. Compared to other business models, running a field service organization can be especially challenging. In addition to the financial, customer service and administrative tasks involved with running a business, you also need to manage field service technicians, keep track of schedules and equipment, and ensure your organization continues to deliver fast, efficient and effective service to your customers.

Without a connected mobile device, technicians are wasting time and money by dealing with unnecessary customer issues or driving back and forth from the office to the client. If a team of 10 field technicians who work 250 days a year could guarantee one new service call per day, that would equal 2500 additional service orders worked per year.

Here are 8 ways connected mobile software improves field efficiency and productivity:

Smart Scheduling

Automated scheduling and dispatch together with a connected mobile device create a two-way connection between schedulers and technicians. Technicians can update their status so dispatchers see their availability and know the right person to schedule for each job. Technicians receive job
details, addresses, and service information on their mobile device. Since many service organizations receive dozens of calls per day, saving as little as five seconds per call adds up to thousands of dollars per year.

Save Time and Resources

Automating work order processes eliminates paper from the operation. That means no more illegible handwriting, lost invoices or important forms, and no more time wasted re-entering data. Empower your entire team by making critical data readily accessible in the field and in the office, providing the visibility and velocity you need to succeed in this competitive environment.

Eliminate Duplicate Data Entry

An end-to-end field service software will connect your field service technicians to the back office, dispatch teams, and management to eliminate duplicate data entry and enable seamless data sharing. Data entered once is instantly synched across the company. A connected mobile allows the technician to enter data once and eliminate thousands of man-hours of duplicate entry and re-keying errors.

Real-Time Warranty Information

Warranty and service contract leakage happen when a technician performs a service at no charge, assuming it’s covered by the customer’s contract. A connected contractor management software will not only help technicians spot the “leaks,” but also “plug” them by providing them with the data they need, when they need it, to ensure they don’t give away service or parts for free. That means more money in your pocket!

Turn your Techs into Salespeople

Technicians often find themselves at a job when a customer approaches and asks for a quote on a new job or a new piece of equipment that needs service. Empower your field techs to communicate sales opportunities right on their mobile device. With a click of a button, a new case can be created and sent off to the sales team for immediate follow up. Don’t throw away money that’s already in your pocket with lost paperwork, forgotten emails, and missed opportunities. With a powerful, cohesive mobile tool, your team can turn quotes around in hours instead of days.

360° View of the Building Location and Equipment

Service the right equipment at the right location. For mobile workers who are constantly on the go, trying to figure out which piece of equipment needs repair and where that equipment is located can be a chore, especially if there are multiple locations, assets and tasks. With a connected mobile device, the building address automatically populates into the service activity.  The technician can also see the complete make, model and serial number of the equipment, its location in the building, warranty status, what work was previously done as well as any notes from the last service call. No more guessing which piece of equipment needs what type of service.

Make Time Tracking a Breeze

A fully connected mobile device makes it easy for technicians to let the office know where they are and what their status is. With the click of a button, techs can set their position as arrived, in progress, or done. Their time automatically synchronizes to the back office making payroll a breeze. With mobile capabilities such as time sheet input based on clock-in/clock-out, task status and more, tedious and error-prone time entries are eliminated, opening up time for additional work while freeing field professionals from administrative chores.

Integrated Inventory Management

With integrated inventory management, field technicians can view stock levels at “warehouse locations”, mark inventory items as “allocated” at the time the Work Order is created, receive a warning when placing a Work Order for out-of-stock items and more. Get control over the inventory management process, so that technicians are not manually entering pieces every time they have to build an invoice. 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.

Conclusion

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 productive your technicians are, how profitable you become and how satisfied your customers are.

FIELDBOSS Contractor Management software is an end-to-end solution built within Microsoft Dynamics 365. FIELDBOSS is a flexible and configurable platform that allows you to work the way you want to work, now and in the future. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business more efficiently, profitably, and with lower risk.

Contact us today for a free demo.

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The Energy Efficient Elevator Market in 2019

Millions of Americans don’t realize that the elevators and escalators they use consume five times the energy Washington, D.C. uses every year. Elevators and escalators account for 2-5% of energy use in multi-story buildings, and much of that happens when the units are idle. Currently, the elevator industry lacks incentives and energy savings recognition programs that would encourage building owners to incorporate elevator efficiency into their building plans. However, there is a growing interest in elevator efficiency and the energy-efficient elevator market is expected to grow considerably over the coming years.

New Technologies

Today, technologies that are more efficient are helping commercial building owners reduce energy costs by as much as 40%, according to a study released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report also offers a variety of public policy options to accelerate adoption of major energy-saving opportunities in buildings across the country. Providing utility incentives or tax credits for using existing energy-efficient elevator technologies, such as those that reduce standby power by turning off lights and cab ventilation systems while elevators are idle, will significantly reduce total energy use. Other technologies — such as coated steel belts that replace cable ropes and advance dispatching software that can reduce wait time while cutting energy use — are immediately available to building owners. Truly innovative technologies, such as regenerative drives that turn gravity from the elevator’s descent into energy to power the elevator when it goes up, can reduce elevator energy consumption up to 75 percent.

Embracing Change

1 World Trade Center is an example of a building that’s already embracing the change. The building’s efficient elevators use a number of systems that can cut a building’s overall energy needs by up to 30 percent. Not only are high-tech elevators more efficient; they can actually produce electricity. The 1 World Trade Center elevators are equipped with the aforementioned regenerative drive technologies, that generate enough power to potentially feed the building’s lighting system. Like a hybrid car, they take advantage of energy produced by the braking system.

Improved elevator technology can also enhance the experience of visitors by shortening wait times. At 1 World Trade Center, the elevators use a smart system that groups riders going to the same destination.  All elevators connect through a central electronic dispatching system. This prevents the stop-and-go associated with many people using an elevator at the same time; instead, each elevator is scheduled to go to one floor—with the people who want to go there—without a lot of stopping in between. This provides a dual benefit of saving energy and getting tenants to where they’re headed more quickly.

Another, relatively new cross-industry innovation is the cable-free elevator. These elevators can move both vertically and horizontally. These elevators are typically made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and are powered by linear motors that can move cabs up and down, forward and backward, and left or right on magnetic rails. Cable-free elevators are energy efficient and reduce carbon footprint impacts dramatically.

Conclusion

The demand for efficient elevators is increasing. The reason for this growth is that developers and building owners are becoming more environmentally conscious. Green elevators not only improve building efficiency and increase overall property value but can also help a building gain U.S. Green Buildings Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system points, which are awarded in six categories, four of which are directly impacted by elevators.  With energy consumption reaching all-time highs, more and more builders are looking for green alternatives. Whether modernizing your clients elevators or installing new elevator technology, choosing green elevators is more beneficial for building occupants, owners and the environment.

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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The Challenge of Cooling a Warming World

The world is heading for a significant growth in energy requirements for comfort cooling. With increasing populations and urbanization, and rising temperatures, cooling is no longer just a luxury, but an urgent priority for health and well-being, productivity, and in extreme cases, survival. However, the warmer it gets, the more we use air conditioning. The more we use air conditioning, the warmer it gets.  Therein lies the challenge of cooling a warming world.

The use of energy for cooling buildings more than tripled between 1990 and 2016, and is continuing to grow faster than for any other end use in buildings. Nearly 70% of this increase comes from the residential sector, particularly in developing economies. Nothing feels better than walking into an air-conditioned room after being outside with the sun beating down on a hot, humid summer day. But that air conditioning cooling your home relies on an electrical grid that most likely produces carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to climate change causing hot, humid days to occur more frequently and with more intensity. With hot regions predicted to get hotter, there’s more need for cooling relief. Billions of people are at risk of exposure to increasingly dangerous heat conditions. They need access to cooling, but without warming the planet.

A global necessity

Our planet is getting hotter. Already, 30 percent of the world’s population is exposed to potentially dangerous heat conditions; by 2100, up to three-quarters could be at risk. Affordable cooling is becoming a global necessity, allowing for increased productivity, positive health outcomes, and accelerated economic development.

There are currently 1.2 billion room air conditioning units in service around the world and is estimated to grow to at least 4.5 billion by 2050. That number increases fivefold for developing countries over the same period.

The increased demand for air-conditioning units would place a massive burden on electricity grids that are already straining at their limits. When combined with the atmospheric impact of the refrigerants used by air conditioners, the energy consumption associated with mechanical cooling represents one of the largest end-use risks to our climate. 

The world needs a breakthrough air conditioning technology

One solution towards solving the problem presented by air conditioning – and one that doesn’t require a complete overhaul of the modern city – would be to build a better air conditioner. There is plenty of room for improvement. The invention of air conditioning predates both the first airplane and the first public radio broadcast, and the underlying technology has not changed much since 1902. The affordability of the air conditioner has widened, but as far as efficiency, they’ve improved but they haven’t leaped. Breakthrough air conditioning technology could amount to the single biggest technology-based intervention we can make to address global warming.

It is clear that the world needs a breakthrough air-conditioning technology, one that meets the world’s booming demand for cooling without contributing to runaway climate change. To achieve a profound climate impact, this technology must simultaneously address the indirect emissions from electricity and the direct emissions from refrigerants. International initiatives, such as those centered on the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, have made significant headway in addressing this challenge. While important, these initiatives are not sufficient to address the full consequences of cooling demand growth, as refrigerants account for only 20 to 30 percent of RAC-related emissions. Through technology innovation, we can solve the critical climate threat that comes from growing demand for room air conditioning.

Solutions

One plan to encourage engineers to build a more efficient air conditioner is the Global Cooling prize. The aim is to design an air conditioner that is five times more efficient than the current standard model, but which costs no more than twice as much money to produce. The contest has received more than a hundred entries, from lone inventors to prominent universities, and even research teams from multibillion-dollar appliance giants.

New air-conditioner technology would be a huge part of the solution but there are other ways to help reduce the emissions from air conditioners. Among the suggestions are planting trees, retrofitting old buildings with proper ventilation and no longer building concrete and glass cages that cannot withstand a heatwave. While these things are technically cheaper, they require changes in behaviour and major policy shifts – and the open secret of the climate crisis is that nobody really knows how to make these kind of changes on the systematic, global scale that the severity of the crisis demands.

Conclusion

We need to do all of these things to address the cooling challenge and shake up an entrenched industry. It is possible to solve the global cooling challenge and enable thermal comfort for all without warming the planet: the solution lies in a breakthrough cooling technology along with behavioural and policy shifts. The result will improve people’s health, productivity, and well-being, all while avoiding climate change.

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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Why Purpose-Driven Companies Have a Competitive Advantage

Do you feel a sense of meaning or purpose in your work? The need for purpose is one of the defining characteristics of human beings. Yet, only about 30% of the U.S. workforce reports being actively involved, enthusiastic and committed to their jobs. Employees want to feel a sense of purpose at work and know how their contribution makes a difference. As Nicholas Pearce, author of The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursuing Your Authentic Life’s Work and professor at Kellogg School of Managementsays, “It is engaging in the radical act of connecting our souls with our roles.” There is a movement happening where employees want a job that gives them a sense of purpose and customers want to buy from companies whose brands are based on values that they identify with. Today, purpose-driven companies have a competitive advantage.

What is purpose?

Purpose is simply the reason why you do what you do. A clear purpose goes beyond products or services, and instead describes what impact or change the company can make in the largest context possible.  A company’s purpose should motivate what companies do every day because the “why” should drive the “what”.  For many companies, their focus has been on maximizing profit, which is not a compelling purpose or a convincing “why.” Without a doubt, making profit is important, but it not the reason why an organization exists.

An organization’s purpose is like an individual’s thumbprint or DNA. It is what differentiates it from other companies. What distinguishes one company from another should be their “why.” So, there’s an increasing importance on purpose because there are a lot of people who are making employment decisions not based solely on profit potential, or even salary potential, but on purpose alignment.

The why that drives the what

Having a higher purpose (“the why that drives the what”), beyond profit maximization, is different than having a mission statement, and is separate from corporate responsibility or explicitly socially impactful actions.  Pearce points out that workers often feel that community service activities are more for optics, and thus, these initiatives do little to combat purposelessness.

In fact, company purpose requires profound organizational reflection. Finding the reason for a firm’s existence is challenging and Pearce proposes these questions to help find and understand purpose:

  • Who would care if we ceased to exist?
  • Are our best or highest values dictating our company’s actions?
  • Do we feel authentic in our workplace?
  • Is this work I “cannot not do”?

LinkedIn conducted the most extensive global study on the role of purpose in the workforce. Their findings revealed that purpose-oriented employees have higher levels of engagement and fulfillment with their work and outperform their peers in every indicator, including expected tenure and leadership competencies like self-advocacy and comfort with senior leadership. These results were reinforced by another recent study which found that employees who find work meaningful are 69% less likely to quit their jobs within the next six months and have job tenures that are 7.4 months longer on average than employees who find work lacking in meaning.

Purpose-driven employees are also a company’s most influential brand ambassadors. Consumers are influenced to buy a brand, product or service by the words, actions, values and beliefs of a company’s employees—not just the CEO or marketing spokesperson. There is no more authentic way to promote an organization than through employees who are truly aligned with a company’s mission.

Purpose leads to profit

Companies that are thriving and growing understand that purpose is important in order to remain competitive. These companies recognize that purpose not only inspires employees and attracts customers but also improves the bottom line.

Clearly defining your company’s purpose can truly drive your company forward. Purpose helps set long-term business strategy, creates a bigger competitive advantage and differentiation in the marketplace, inspires innovation, increases brand trust and loyalty, and ultimately, helps the company stand the test of time. 

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

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Tell-Tale Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Field Service Management Software

Technicians

Today, most companies with mobile field technicians are using some type of field service management software. If the software is doing its job, your organization should be experiencing improvements in revenue generation, customer satisfaction, excellent first-time fix rates and high rates of technician utilization. If you are not realizing positive performance metrics, than it’s time to replace your field service software.

Unfortunately, many companies are caught in their operational trap; feeling that they’re too busy to make changes and now isn’t the right time to upgrade. They fear the change-induced disruption and extra work that any major software upgrade creates. They know they need to make changes not only for the health of their company, but for their own health as well. Every single day that decision makers put off upgrading their field service software, their business is missing out on growth and revenue opportunities.

Here are some tell-tale signs that now is the right time to make a change:

  • Your current solution lacks flexibility and scalability
  • Your software does not connect your office to the field
  • Lack of visibility into field service operations is resulting in poor forecasting
  • Field employees are driving to/from the office just to drop off or pick up paperwork
  • Service-to-cash cycle is slow
  • Information is being re-keyed into disconnected back-office systems
  • Inefficient Maintenance Control Program
  • Inventory is lost or being stock-piled in trucks
  • Invoices/Work orders are getting lost, destroyed or are illegible
  • Customer retention rate is low
  • Call-to-service time is causing customers to wait too long
  • Poor optimization in dispatch and scheduling, causing unnecessary truck rolls
  • Low first-time fix rate
  • Inflated timesheets/overtime
  • Your current system is costly to operate and maintain

Each day that you delay is costing you money, and potentially putting you at a competitive disadvantage. Companies that have taken the time to upgrade their field service operations and connect the field with their back office have realized significant improvements in field efficiency. This has not only created a more satisfied workforce, but ultimately it has improved customer satisfaction, resulting in additional opportunities for growth and revenue. With a knowledgeable and experienced partner, the transition from paper to automation can be seamless.

FIELDBOSS Contractor Management software is an end-to-end solution built within Microsoft Dynamics 365. FIELDBOSS is a flexible and configurable platform that allows you to work the way you want to work, now and in the future. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business more efficiently, profitably, and with lower risk.

Contact us today for a free demo.

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Ample Supply of R-22 Still Available For Future Use

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) most recent numbers, the total amount of R-22 reclaimed in 2017 dipped slightly when compared to 2016. With the production of R-22 ending at the end of this year, this is not great news for the HVACR industry. There is good news, however! Refrigerant reclaimers are adamant that there is ample supply of R-22 still widely available, affordable, and legal to meet the industry’s needs and will continue to be so long after production of R-22 ends on Dec. 31.

NO SHORTAGE

According to industry experts, the level of stockpiled R-22, as well as the reclaimed R-22 supply pipeline, is more than enough to meet market demand for the near future. The reclaim industry is robust and the market is educated about both the importance of refrigerant reclaim and the legal requirements for reclamation.

Even though the phase-out deadline for R-22 is looming, it is interesting to note that prices of R-22 have actually decreased over the last 12 months. This indicates that R-22 is readily available and that the amount of virgin and reclaimed material is sufficient to meet the installed base of equipment for at least the next few years.

CHALLENGES

Reclaimers would like contractors and technicians to be more careful when recovering refrigerant, as the amount of mixed refrigerants they are receiving has increased. While most mixed refrigerants can be reclaimed, it can be costly and time consuming which will eventually lead to higher prices being charged.

The percentage of mixed refrigerants has inevitably increased as the number of different replacement refrigerants and alternatives have increased. In order to minimize refrigerant mixing, HVACR companies need to educate their teams starting with labeling systems when replacements are installed to ensure they have recovery tanks for each kind of refrigerant.

Another challenge is the low-cost HFCs flooding the market that may not be of the highest quality. Those in the industry need to think carefully before purchasing any refrigerant. Always buy from reputable suppliers who have a long-term track record of supplying all types of refrigerants.

CONCLUSION

The myth that R-22 won’t be available and won’t be affordable is the biggest challenge to a continuing and growing reclaim market in the coming years. While recovering refrigerant from a system can be a hassle, the bottom line is that recovering and recycling refrigerant is absolutely vital if the industry wants to ensure it has enough refrigerant available to service the R-22 systems that will be in place for years to come. Otherwise, the myth could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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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7 Reasons to Move Your Field Service Business to the Cloud

Cloud Computing

Lets face it. For business owners, the thought of making changes to their business, like moving to the cloud, is a scary one. You may be worried that it is less secure than on-site data and file storage, or it will cost too much to migrate or take too much time and your business will suffer. Maybe you have invested a lot of money and time into refining your processes in on-premises servers and infrastructure to the point where it works…but does it really? Is it just working enough to get by? Or is it actually holding your business back because it’s a ticking time-bomb of patches, outdated software and hardware, and security nightmares?

For most field service business, it’s time to seriously look at upgrading your infrastructure to a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure. Field service companies who move to the cloud are reaping enormous benefits such as cost savings, increased productivity and enhanced security that will help their business today and into the future.

If you are unsure about moving from on-premise computing, here are 7 reasons why you should move your business to the Microsoft cloud.

 1. Reduce Costs

With an on-premise system, companies must take responsibility for maintaining, monitoring and updating their system. This includes everything from software and servers to the network infrastructure. The cloud can save businesses up to 80 per cent of their IT budget by avoiding time-consuming admin tasks. Cloud-based service solutions manage all hardware updates, system restores and security software, so IT resources can be utilized elsewhere.

2. Security

Security is a big concern for field service businesses. Every day there seems to be a new data-center security breach from an on-premises server. Thousands or even millions of customers’ data is leaked. It’s a scary thought and you should be doing everything you can to protect yourself from something like that. Microsoft has taken great measures to protect and secure their clients’ data and infrastructure from external threats and malicious activity. The Microsoft Azure Cloud is among the most advanced and protected cloud services in the market, using the latest security protocols to encrypt data. Your data stays secure while it travels between your devices and Microsoft’s datacenters and while it is in the Azure Cloud storage.

3. Scalability

With on-premise software, facilitating business growth often means investing in new servers and processors to handle increased demand. However, with cloud-based software, customers are paying for the ability to use the software, and not the computing power or space to run it. Adding or
removing users, or even apps, is as simple as issuing a service request. In the cloud, your software solution is as large or as small as you need it to be and will flex to your current situation and requirements.

4. Disaster Recovery

Microsoft has you covered should any kind of disaster recovery be necessary. In the event your services are interrupted, Dynamics 365 includes some of the most robust disaster recovery features on the business application market. Built to help organizations bounce back from both planned and unexpected service outages, Microsoft’s recovery protocols include keeping a synchronized, duplicate copy of a company’s data on a second server, allowing users to continue their operations with minimal disruption.

5. Backups

Backing up data should be second nature to all businesses, but it’s one of those tasks that often gets pushed down the agenda. Cloud deployment gives users peace of mind by not only removing the need to safeguard their own servers, but also automatically backing up data, so no information will ever slip through the cracks.

6. Flexibility

In field service, your staff is always on the go. By using cloud-based systems, employees can work anytime, and from anywhere; all they need is an internet connection. This means they can work as productively outside the office as they do in.

7. Improved collaboration

Cloud computing is among the most effective ways of improving team performance. Staff members can easily share data and collaborate to complete projects even from different locations. Field workers can easily share real time data and updates with those in the office. In addition, cloud computing eliminates redundant or repetitive tasks such as data re-entry. The cloud gives you the opportunity to connect separate departments of your business like never before for increased collaboration. This can have a direct positive impact on your
bottom line.

If you’re ready to take your field service company to the cloud and reach a new level of business efficiency, contact us at FIELDBOSS. When it comes to managing your business, the flexibility, reliability, and convenience of the cloud are unmatched. Moreover, adopting a cloud solution is becoming a necessity for contractors in a data driven world.

Click here to download our ebook: The Resourceful Contractor.

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Ransomware: What Your Field Service Company Needs to Know

Ransomware

When you hear the words cyber attack, automatically your thoughts shift to data breaches in well-known companies.  Don’t be fooled by thinking your small to medium sized field service business is safe.  Cyber attacks can happen at any moment to companies of all sizes.  Ransomware attacks are on the rise but there are ways to protect your field service company.

Ransomware is a form of malware that threatens to publish private data or make the victims files inaccessible until a payment is received which will unencrypt them.  Small businesses can be more vulnerable due to lack of awareness and education about cyber security as the business becomes more reliant on technology.  Ransomware is highly profitable for criminals because they can target many small companies in a short period. That is why ransomware has emerged as one of the most serious online threats facing businesses, and the number of attacks has skyrocketed. In fact, a 2017 report from Osterman Research showed that more than one-third of small- or medium-sized businesses around the globe experienced a ransomware attack in the last year.

These attacks can be costly, so now is the time to get smart and protect yourselves before the unexpected intrusion threatens your business.  As contractors, you need to focus on not only keeping your customers data safe, but also your own.  Being diligent about cyber safety will save
your reputation as well as your bottom line. That is why it is imperative for contractors to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from this kind of attack.

PRACTICING PREVENTION

  • Ensure that all computers have updated antivirus/anti-ransomware software; Ensure automatic weekly updates are enabled for antivirus/anti-ransomware software as well as for Windows.
  • Vulnerable passwords are one entry point of ransom attacks. Enforcing rigorous password protocols with your employees can help ward off intruders.
  • Infected web pages, ads and email attachments are also entry points for attackers to gain access to your systems.  Train and educate employees on how to spot malicious files.  Antivirus software with automatic updates is a necessity when it comes to warding off cyber strikes.
  • Back ups are key.  If your company does get a ransomware attack, all of your files will be restored from the last back up (maybe off by a few hours).   You cannot trust a hacker to decrypt your files, even after they receive a payment so this is another way to stay safe.

By regularly backing up data, training employees to strengthen passwords and delete suspicious emails, installing and regularly updating antivirus and anti-ransomware software, and creating a plan to prepare for an attack,
contractors can keep their businesses and their reputations safe and secure.

FIELDBOSS field service software is built within the Microsoft cloud platform, which helps to protect and defend your data from malware, ransomware, and other online threats. Contact FIELDBOSS to learn more.

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Old School vs. New School: Managing a Multi-generational Workforce

Technicians

Today’s field service workforce is more multi-generational then ever before.  Baby boomers are retiring at a later age then in the past, and the younger generation is entering the workforce right out of school.  While this can be beneficial to companies, as employers have both experienced older professionals, as well as aspiring new employees who bring a different mindset and work style, it can also be difficult to bring them together in an efficient and acceptable way.  Each generation provides different values and skill-sets, and it is the duty of the employer to ensure they can all work together in harmony.

Old School vs. New School

  • Technology. Many older workers fear technology; they haven’t grown up with it, and may find it overwhelming. They are well practiced at traditional business skills, face-to-face communication, and a more formal way of operating.  Conversely, millennials embrace technology and believe it can help them learn new skills and make their jobs easier. Telecommuting, social networks, online demonstrations, and all things tech-savvy are what young employees thrive on and rely on to get the job done. 
  • Work ethic. Baby boomers tend to view their jobs as a means to an end: in exchange for showing up and getting their work done on a daily basis, they receive long-term security (salary, health insurance and 401k plans). Millennials, on the other hand, tend to view their jobs as stepping-stones on the path to a better job.
  • Values.Money is the most important benefit that older workers expect from their jobs, but for millennials, work-life balance is most important.
  • Learning. Baby boomers have deep knowledge and experience gained over many years; millennials are comfortable with app-based learning and are confident they can quickly become competent when taking on a new job.

Knowledge exchange vs. knowledge transfer

As many field service workers are getting older, companies are focusing on preventing the loss of knowledge in the workplace by ensuring that knowledge is passed down to younger workers. However, the transfer of knowledge should not be one directional. Instead, field service companies need to think about helping different generations of staff to exchange knowledge. For example, younger generations can share technical skills, while older generations pass on industry knowledge and overall wisdom about the workplace.

Since customers also come in all ages, it is important to remember both the older and younger employees bring important skills to the table and that each generation can learn a lot from one another.  Employers should inspire strong communications throughout the workforce and a company culture inclusive of all. Access to training and development, offering mentors to new employees, and organizing events that encourage teamwork are simple ways for organizations to bridge the generation gap. 

The Bottom Line

When there is generational conflict, it is usually due to managers and the team pitting “old school” vs. “new school” as a battle between right and wrong. Successful field service companies see “old school” and “new school” not as polar opposites but as diverse sources of knowledge, experience, and energy that — when embraced — can contribute to a richer and more productive work environment. An age diverse workforce comes with benefits that can be ground-breaking.  Embrace it and see how your business will thrive.

FIELDBOSS is an end-to-end field service solution built within Microsoft Dynamics 365. FIELDBOSS is a flexible and configurable platform that allows you to work the way you want to work, now and in the future. Our focus is to help you get the most out of your labour resources and deliver the information you and your staff need to run your business more efficiently, profitably, and with lower risk. Contact us for more information.

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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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