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.

This entry was posted in Elevators, HVAC and tagged , on by .

8 Benefits of Using Mobile Forms and Checklists

Every day, your field service technicians collect and manage piles of paper-based form data that they then hand over to your back office staff. Accurate and consistent data collection is essential for the success of any field service business. Many field service businesses still rely on paper forms and checklists. This opens up plenty of room for error, from misplaced papers and mis-keyed entries, to inconsistent processes and procedures. The solution? Ditch the paperwork! Paper forms simply aren’t cut out to manage the unpredictable and remote nature of field service operations.

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

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

8 benefits of mobile forms and checklists:

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

Automated mobile forms and checklists have the potential to revolutionize the way your business manages data, and if you’re not capturing accurate data, you’ll be unable to make smart data-driven business decisions. Streamline workflows and drive operational efficiencies by enabling a flow of information directly from the field into the back office system. Drive consistency, efficiency and compliance within your field services team with FIELDBOSS’s mobile forms and checklists.

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

This entry was posted in Elevators, HVAC and tagged on by .

Impact of Section 301 Tariffs on HVAC Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted in HVAC and tagged , on by .

Ottawa Announces New Carbon Tax Rebate Programs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted in HVAC, Uncategorized and tagged on by .

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

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

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

The deal also includes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted in HVAC and tagged on by .

Washington & Vermont Latest States to Regulate HFCs

US State leadership is keeping the HFC transition on track, and keeping the U.S. in sync with the global phase-down now underway under the Kigali Amendment. This past month, Washington State’s HFC phase down passed the legislature and Governor Jay Inslee signed bill HB 1112. Meanwhile, Vermont has announced that they are intending to phase down HFC refrigerants as well through their new bill ‘S. 30.’ The bill passed the legislature and is expected to have a signature from the governor soon. This adds to the ever growing list of states that have chosen to regulate HFCs.

So far all of these state planned phase downs have been modeled after the original Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP Rule 20 and 21 from 2015. Vermont and Washington, along with twenty-three other states, are part of what’s known as the United States Climate Alliance. This alliance was formed when the Trump Administration pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. The goal of the alliance is to create a coalition of states that work together to fight Climate Change and Global Warming. If the Federal Government isn’t going to do anything then the states will get it done and regulate HFCs themselves. The other states in the Climate Alliance are all expected to follow suit in the coming years.

The Federal Government’s positions on regulating HFCs has been confusing for the industry. The EPA’s SNAP Rule was thrown out by the courts. The Kigali Amendment went into effect at the beginning of this year but the United States never ratified the treaty. As more states join the phase down, manufacturing companies are going to be forced to move away from HFCs even without a Federal mandate. If enough states choose to regulate HFCs then manufacturers will either have to produce two different models,one for HFC states and one for non-HFC states, or the they will have to do a complete transition to lower GWP refrigerants.

The bottom line is that HFCs are going to be replaced by either natural refrigerants, hydrocarbons, or HFOs. If the U.S. government doesn’t ratify the Kigali amendment and/or the EPA doesn’t take charge of HFC’s, the U.S. may end up with a haphazard set of rules varying from state to state leading to even more refrigerant confusion.

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.

This entry was posted in HVAC and tagged , , on by .

HVACR Contractors Finding Success in Indoor Grow Market

marijuana legalization

Marijuana is legal in 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., for recreational use, and 33 states for medical use. In Canada, it is legal across the country for both medicinal and recreational use. The legalization of marijuana has created a growing demand for HVACR contractors who can design quality and controlled climates suited to specific plants. Not confined to cannabis, however, indoor farming includes other applications such as hydroponics, vertical farming, and local urban agriculture. These sectors and others have created a new market for HVAC contractors — the indoor grow market.

When it comes to indoor farming, cannabis has dominated the conversation, as its legalization has led to a huge increase in the number of facilities that grow these plants. However, indoor farming encompasses more than just cannabis and includes all kinds of agricultural products, including produce and livestock.

All of these types of facilities require extensive HVAC systems to ensure the products being grown and housed have the correct amount of heating, cooling, ventilation, and humidity. By using the right equipment to strictly control the indoor climate, HVAC contractors play an important roll in helping growers improve the health of their crops and boost their yields. 

According to a recent report by the research firm MarketsandMarkets, the indoor farming technology market is projected to reach $40.25 billion by 2022, up from $25.40 billion in 2017. While some of this growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for fresh foods that can be grown year-round, much of it will likely come from the cannabis market.

That’s because the cannabis industry is booming right now. It is a big opportunity for HVAC contractors, who will be required to address the many aspects of climate and environmental control for grow and agriculture facilities. This type of specialized knowledge may require additional training, as contractors will increasingly be asked to design HVAC systems that maintain a precise indoor environment in order to maximize crop yield and reduce energy usage. Growers may even need someone on staff or at the very least, have someone on call every day, 365 days a year, to maintain the contract because if equipment fails, that can cost a company a lot of money.

Ongoing maintenance contracts will be a significant aspect of the future of marijuana and other grow facilities. Taking on these projects and maintenance contracts can be financially lucrative. The marijuana industry is unique in that customers are not going to the phonebook or Google to find contractors — it’s all word of mouth. And once a grower finds a contractor they trust to take care of them, they are likely to be quite loyal. Growers will have very high-tech equipment and they will pay a premium to maintain it. A wide variety of systems have been introduced specifically for the marijuana growing application. Trane, Carrier and Johnson Controls are just a few manufacturers offering these products.

The indoor grow market has only scratched the surface. It is an emerging market that is only going to get bigger.

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

This entry was posted in HVAC and tagged , , on by .

It’s Time to Make Skilled Work ‘Cool’ Again

Technicians

Over the last 30 years, our society convinced itself that the best path to a successful career is an expensive, four-year degree.Pop culture has hyped up the “corner office job” at the expense of the jobs that helped build the corner office. As a result, our society has devalued and discouraged any other path to success and happiness. Well-meaning parents and guidance counselors have labeled community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs as “alternative” and “vocational consolation prizes”. Students are taught that these are best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. The push for higher education has coincided with the removal of vocational arts from high schools nationwide. And the effects of this one-two punch have laid the foundation for a widening skills gap and massive student loan debt.

Today, the skills gap is wider than it’s ever been. The cost of college tuition has soared and student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category in the United States. We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back, educating them for jobs they can no longer find, while discouraging them from pursuing good jobs that actually exist. Slowly but surely our society is reaffirming the misguided belief that a career in the skilled trades shouldn’t be desired.

How do we change this prevailing misperception of skilled labor?

We need to make skilled work cool again.

In order to close the skills gap we must challenge the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs. One of the biggest misperceptions of a job in the trades is lousy pay. What people don’t realize is these are good paying jobs with loads of growth potential. Some technicians can make north of six figures, and many go on to run their own businesses. But we rarely hear those stories in the press. Instead, we get studies that try to justify the cost of college.

Mike Rowe is a television host on the series “Dirty Jobs”.  Since 2008, he has been working to bring awareness of the value of work and has advocated for skilled trades. Rowe refers to one study that compared the income of college graduates with the income of non-college graduates. The study obviously concluded that college graduates made more. But the study didn’t compare skilled tradespeople to college graduates – it compared everyone to college graduates – including those with no skill. In other words, they put high school dropouts and unskilled workers into the same category as skilled tradespeople. If you dig a little deeper, and compare the income of a philosophy major, (or a history major, or a sociology major, or a math major) to that of an HVAC tech, or a plumber, or an elevator mechanic, you’ll see that the trades pay a very competitive wage – without the debt of a four-year degree.

Mike Rowe is on a mission: “To help close the skills gap by challenging the stigmas and stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing the millions of available jobs. We’re redefining the definition of a good education and a good job, because we don’t think a four-year degree is the best path for most people.” He continues, “Our crumbling infrastructure, our widening skills gap, the disappearance of vocational education, and the stratospheric rise in college tuition—these are not problems,” Mike said. “These are symptoms of what we value. And right now, we have to reconnect the average American with the value of a skilled workforce. Only then, will the next generation aspire to do the work at hand.”

When we do see young people entering the skilled trades, it is often by way of the family business. This new generation of skilled tradespeople are looking for ways to modernize the business and make it more desirable for their peers. An end-to-end field service software can help you attract and retain top, new talent (aside from your son and son-in-law). Contact us for a free demo or for more information.

This entry was posted in Elevators, HVAC and tagged , on by .

Meet Bill: Win New Business, Keep Customers Happy and Increase Revenue

With all the functionality FIELDBOSS has to offer, it is often hard to explain to potential customers all the ways they can benefit from ditching their paper process. Our Meet Bill video offers a quick look at how our customers benefit from using FIELDBOSS. As a single, integrated system, FIELDBOSS provides you with the tools you need to connect to your customers, field staff, equipment and data. It also automates your business processes, cuts down on your paperwork and streamlines inefficient operations both in the back office and the field.

Click below to Meet Bill and learn how to win new business, keep customers happy and increase revenue.

This entry was posted in Elevators, General, HVAC and tagged , , on by .

7 Simple Ways to Avoid Customer Disputes

There’s a lot to say about the human race and how we’ve changed over thousands of years, but there’s one thing that we have always been throughout history: committed to complaining. The oldest complaint known to history can be found in a cuneiform tablet from ancient Mesopotamia. Ideally, your organization will always run smoothly, without a single customer complaint. Unfortunately, it’s rare that this is a reality. Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid customer disputes. The digital trail is the most basic feature provided by an end-to-end field service management software, but it’s also one of the most powerful functions that keeps businesses and their employees safe from customer disputes and legal liability in a number of ways.

Here are 7 simple ways to avoid customer disputes with an end-to-end field service contractor management software:

  • Technicians can attach photos, videos, inspection forms and more to the work order – visual proof of the work completed.
  • Customers can sign off on-site for approval of work done.
  • Create detailed reports that can be sent to customers as attachment of the invoice. The customer can review the service report, and dispute any charges right then and there on the spot, before a formal invoice is sent out. This means less back and forth with the customer, along with direct proof of the services provided, materials used, and their agreement to the above.
  • Technicians can let customers know upfront if they are eligible for free service or if they will need to pay for the service, based on the level of their service contract and the status of their warranty.
  • Managers can use geo-tracking for mobile devices to see where their technicians are throughout the course of the day.
  • Business owners can review an audit log for work orders and customer records to see a full history of how a work order has been edited.
  • Technicians can complete digital forms, such as an inspection report or installation checklist. These steps ensure that procedures and protocol are followed.

This level of transparency provided by a comprehensive field service software protects good customers, good employees, and business owners – allowing owners to minimize their risk and improve their reputation. They can also use their software as a tool for selling – showing customers that they will have transparency throughout the process of working on their home or business.

By providing specific workflows, detailed documentation, and making it simple to share information, field service management software can help you avoid customer disputes.

Contact FIELDBOSS and learn how to keep your customers happy!

This entry was posted in Elevators, General, HVAC and tagged , , on by .