Monthly Archives: February 2013
How to choose workforce management software
Choosing a workforce management system (WFM) for your home cleaning, HVAC, electrical, plumbing or landscape company isn’t the easiest task but can be if your company looks for a provider that offers a few important key features of WFM software.
Most WFM software is cloud-base today because of the benefits that small l businesses receive when moving to the cloud, and reports are showing that for small business heading to the cloud is imperative.
A recent report from InfoWorld explained that small companies today, honestly just can’t afford the traditional IT—so heading to the cloud is most cost effective.
If you think about employing a company that handles your IT business or paid IT on staff, your company has to be ready to make a commitment for thousands of dollars being paid out of the budget–which for many small businesses is impossible.
But with a cloud-based WFM product, a monthly or annual fee, along with possible maintenance along the way and a little education for you and your employee’s,
is really all that is required.
So, the investment isn’t nearly so steep with WFM software—and many products also will easily integrate with QuickBooks to keep all of your important data streamlined, stored in the cloud and able to be accessed from anywhere!
What features to look for in WFM software:
- Customer Management: make sure the software can create service orders that includes the customer’s exact requests, history and the ability to communicate exact instructions to technicians
- Billing: accurate invoice billing for exact services, make sure you will never miss a billing cycle with good software and the ability to create invoices while still at the job
- Technician Management: efficient WFM software will have a technician management feature that will create time sheets, note availability, create driving routes for efficient use of time and energy
- Scheduling: is one of the most important WFM features, you should be able to create schedules using interactive techniques, only schedule technicians who meet job requirements and provide the customer with reliable appointment times and copies of work order.
- Mobility: Most important is the mobility feature that cloud-base systems provide. Communication is key because everything will be in real time including new jobs, updated jobs or cancelled jobs. This feature will remove wasteful and inefficient paperwork by communicating directly from the office to the field.
Today’s goal: focus on mobile management
Just a few years ago we were all just discovering the benefits of mobile applications in our personal life and now mobile applications for smartphones and tablets are common, and needed, in day to day business operations.
CIO Insight, the voice of the CIO community that provides analysis for the IT industry, reports that mobile management today is a way to keep your business on the go and in constant operation; which increases speed and customer satisfaction, among other benefits.
Now, factor in cloud computing technology that gives your company access to the most important business files anywhere in the world.
CIO Insight even goes so far to say that “the logical solution is to hire a mobile operations manager for your company to oversee the increasing mobile business.”
If your company isn’t large enough for a mobile operations manager to monitor your mobile applications and employees; the first step would be sourcing a trusted and reliable workforce management system.
A modern workforce management system is essential in today’s business world and new systems are cloud-based; ensuring that all of your important information can be accessed from anywhere.
Once you choose a workforce management system that is tailored to your industry, the next step is to transition all of your business information to the system. A good workforce management provider will be with you step by step as your company transitions to the new system.
It’s important to create a transition plan so all employees are aware and kept up to date with changes in operations. Once all important business data is stored in the cloud, your workforce can be in constant contact for any business and customer needs. Every part of your business will run smoother and faster.
Accenture, a global management consulting and technology company, says that workforce management systems offer higher performance levels, increased time for business analysis and a reduction of overall labor costs—which in return provides better service at lower costs.
Other workforce management benefits include:
- Customer Management: create service orders (jobs); know the customer’s exact requirements, read their history, communicate accurate information.
- Billing: invoice accurately for the exact services required, create recurring invoices to never miss the next billing cycle, create invoices while still on the job expediting when the customer pays you.
- Technician Management: manage technicians’ skills, inventory, and availability; create timesheets based on their known assignments, route them efficiently; and provide them with the latest mobile devices to receive job information and history automatically.
- Scheduling and Dispatch: create the schedule using interactive techniques, only schedule technicians who meet the requirements of the job, provide customers with reliable appointments; commit to a service that you can deliver.
- Mobility: communicate in real time from tablets, PCs, laptops and smartphones.