By Brad Mauro, simPRO Business Development Manager
When your phones are ringing off the hook and business is extremely busy, do you have the foundation in place to handle the rush? I work with field service businesses across various industries, and I have seen first hand how those businesses that are organized and prepared are better able to handle busy season.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” These words from Michael Altshuler capture my point exactly. You can take advantage of the slower seasons to get ahead and prepare for the times when business ramps up. Here are three practical steps I recommend if you want to have a successful busy season:
Understand your workflows
You probably already have a basic understanding of how your jobs go from quote to invoice. After all, you are running a successful business. However, do you understand how each step connects and where your project dependencies lie? The best way to stay on track during those busier times is to have a handle on each phase of your workflow so you can be more strategic about planning, budgeting, and scheduling the best field staff for the job. Map out your workflow visually — maybe on a whiteboard — so you can get a clear picture of how many steps lie between each stage of your service, maintenance, or project work.
Discover inefficiencies in your operations
Now that you have mapped out your unique workflows, you can dive into what happens between each stage. Where in your business do you constantly run into miscommunications? Does your team struggle with accurate data entry? Are your technicians constantly running to the supply house for parts? Do you have a way to quickly view the status of your projects? Can you pinpoint tasks where time was misused? I can guarantee that once you have a way to answer these questions, you will be better able to weed out inefficiencies. Inefficiencies that may have seemed minor when business was slow can suddenly become major barriers during busy season. Take the time to uncover those roadblocks to efficiency in your business so you can change or adjust processes where needed.
Automate operations management
Once you have a better understanding of your workflows and you’ve discovered where operations are inefficient, you can now work on making improvements. However, you don’t have to fix everything at once. Start with the areas of your operations that are causing the most headaches. Could field service management software help your team better manage inventory so your field staff isn’t wasting time at the supply house? Could your invoicing and billing processes be streamlined so you can accept payment faster or even on site? Take advantage of field service management tools to automate your operations, cut down on manual errors, streamline communications, and create a stronger foundation for your business to run smoothly all year long. You wouldn’t arrive on site to complete a project without the right equipment and resources. The same mentality applies to running a business.
If you’d like to learn more about preparing for busy season AND receive a glimpse of what it looks like to manage a service workflow in simPRO, check out the recording of my recent webinar: