how to: paperless office

We created an online savings calculator a few years ago which calculates how much money you can save by going paperless with our field service management software.

It measures a few important metrics, but I think one of the most metrics is how much time is spent filling in documents, and the cost in paper for these.

In a traditional services company, the engineer goes to the office to get the orders for the day, fills in reports when out on the job using notepads, and then returns to the office with those filled notepads to have the details re-typed by a clerk. One company I worked with literally had shelved rooms with boxes on each shelf, each filled with notepads of reports.

Apart from the cost of those notepads (minor) and the cost of storage (grows year by year), the biggest issue here is that a notepad that sits in a box in a room is not readable by the customer or by the engineer. If you go visit that customer again and need to recap on what was done last time, you need to dig out that notepad.

And so companies invest in clerks whose major role is to retype those notepad reports into a digital format that can be stored in a database or folder of documents, and emailed out to the engineer or customer when requested.

The cost of a clerk is prohibitive – why are you paying someone to type up something which has already been written?

With service management software, the report is filled in on an app, using your mobile device, such as an Android or iOS phone or tablet. Because the information is stored digitally, there is no need to retype it. Simply take the information from the phone and store it in the database!

The next waste of paper is with the reports that you send to your customers. Do they really need a typed report? Most companies these days are perfectly happy to accept digital copies of your reports, which they can store in their own databases, and which can easily be regenerated by yourself if the customer loses their copy.

A clerk is traditionally needed in order to create these reports, as the format that an engineer writes in may not be readable to your customer. And a report can run for 60 pages or more, such as the PAS 79 2016 form used in fire risk assessment.

With field service software, though, the information can be entered into the mobile device in one format, and neatened up and output in another format automatically when it comes time to send the report.

With FieldMotion, we completely automate the process – the engineer fills in the details of their report as they work, and then when they have the customer signatures entered (again, using the mobile device), they mark the job complete, the report is automatically created by the workflow management software, and the customer has the report in their inbox within minutes of the job being done.

With our own office, it has gotten to the point that when I needed to draw something up to illustrate a point to one of my programmers, I had to go search for paper, and then had to go search for a pen afterwards.

Paperless office solutions such as FieldMotion not only reduce the storage requirements (and associated fire risk) in your office, but also speed up your job to the point that we have one testimonial which states “The best was when we measured from receiving a call – job to engineer- job completed- job invoiced took 25 mins in total – never known before within our company!”

Zapier integration coming to FieldMotion

One of the questions we are asked a lot when talking with clients is, “Does your service management software integrate with […]”, followed by any number of different software products, such as Quickbooks, Opera, Sage, Xero, Google Calendar, etc.

Instead of spending decades and linking individually to each of these, we decided to use the ready-made API hub Zapier. With Zapier, you can connect any of more than 750 different applications together with almost no technical knowledge at all. It’s really very simple! More than 1,000,000 people use Zapier.

We’ve looked through their app-list a few times, and as far as we know, we’re the only field service management software using Zapier. There are some project management, task management, and paperless forms systems in there, such as Trello or Asana, but no other field service engineer software.

To start off with the integration, we’re doing some very simple workflow – when you create a job in FieldMotion, you can (for example) have that job show up in Google Calendar. Or you can have that when a job is finished, an email is sent including details from the job.

For now, our Zapier plugin is beta-only. If you’re interested in trying it out, please contact us and we’ll help get you set up.

Zapier is actually an ideal match for us, because it’s all about workflow management, as is our own product! We’re really excited to get this out there and see what we can do with it.

Job-scheduling in the field with FieldMotion

As companies get larger, the jobs become more specialised. The person who used to do accounting and data entry now has someone to do data entry so can concentrate on accounting. The field worker who had to make on-the-spot decisions as well as carry out the jobs, is now a manager in charge of a team of specialised electricians, plumbers and whatever else is needed.

As the teams grow, you find that more decisions are being made back at headquarters based on findings made by the workers in the field, because there are too many workers to let them just decide for themselves and potentially get in each others way.

Example 1: availability-based job scheduling

As an example, let’s say you’re working on a job that involves doing plumbing and electrics. The team of diggers has finished up and the work area is ready for whoever’s next. Maybe the electricians are busy already? Or maybe the plumbers need to be somewhere in 5 hours so need to be first here?

With smaller teams, the managers might meet up and decide, taking time. With larger teams, you might have a site manager whose job is to make these decisions.

Why not just let FieldMotion decide? If you manage your jobs through our FSM (field service management software), then it already knows that the plumbers are due somewhere else, or that the electricians are busy. There is no need for a meeting between the managers. Using the FieldMotion Dynamic Scheduler, you can automatically order your jobs in such a way that everyone has time to do their jobs, with no clashes in schedule, no teams due on the other side of the country five minutes after finishing this one.

Example 2: decision-based job scheduling

Or let’s say that the job you’re doing involves making decisions based on the findings you make in the field. For example, let’s say your company does health-checks on house-bound people, and the decisions you make after these checks depend on what you find while doing your inspections.

You could hire a person and train them up to make qualified decisions on whether to bring in a doctor or optician. Or you could hire a person who just fills in forms and those forms are then read by a person who is trained to make the decisions. Obviously, it is more economical to train (and pay) 10 form-fillers and 1 decision-maker, than to train 10 field-based decision-makers.

But why are you paying for a decision-maker in the first place? If the decisions are based on simple rules (such as “how high is the blood pressure”, or “has the patient fallen recently”), then you don’t need a paid decision-maker for that. Just add the rules to the “on-complete” section of the form that’s filled out in the field worker software, and FieldMotion will make the decision automatically and book a doctor or optician for you immediately, and a recall visit will be created in a few weeks or months depending on the patient’s age or health.

If all decisions are based on simple rules, then you don’t need to train someone up to waste their time doing it – just let a computer do it for you, leaving you more time to go visit more patients.

Does My Business Need a CRM System?

Asking yourself that very question is a step in the right direction. It means you are serious about improving your business and make no mistake, a CRM system will undoubtedly improve your business processes. You are looking into a list of CRM systems, my advice to you? Give it more than a thought, weigh up your options and don\’t make a decision too hastily. You need to know what to look for in a solid CRM system and how it will help your business. It\’s important to ask yourself these questions:

Will it be difficult to implement?

When you are choosing a CRM for your business, it makes sense to look for a system that is not difficult to implement. This will allow you to save time with the technical side of implementing your new system. The easier it will be to implement, the smoother your transition into CRM.

Will it be difficult to train my staff on how to use it?

Don\’t be confusing yourself and your workforce with a difficult system. If it is too difficult to use, you will not use it! It really is that simple, a user interface that is simple to use will not only improve your overall business processes, your workers will be happy. A happy worker is a productive worker!

Will it integrate with our current systems?

If you are already using a system to run your business, you will need to know if it will be compatible with your new CRM system. If you are able to import your data from the old system into your new system then you are onto a winner. Easily integrating your data is a must for your new system.

How does it compare to other systems?

Take your top picks and compare them. Do they all do what you are looking for? If so, which system does it best? That is your best pick, it may seem obvious to say but you need a system that can do what you need it to do. What do you do? Do you pick a system that\’s cheaper than the others but doesn\’t have the same capabilities? Of course you don\’t, that would be counter-productive. When it comes to CRM systems, you get what you pay for!

Will it improve Customer Service/Satisfaction?

Any CRM worth buying will have the ability to store all of your customers\’ information all in one place and allow you access with the click of a button. With a decent CRM, you can improve your customer service and satisfaction with a series by knowing everything you need to know in advance of dealing with a certain client and their problems.

These questions are general guidelines for choosing a CRM system for your business. Ask yourself these questions and answer them truthfully, does your business really need a CRM? It\’s up to you to make that decision.

[divider scroll_text=””]

Check out our Customer Success Stories to find out how our Workflow Management Software has helped them make the right decision when choosing a CRM system. Watch our video – Introduction to Workflow Management Software to see what our system allows your business to do.

Making The Most Of Your Field Based Software

Companies with field based workers apply methods they think will improve how they manage their workflow. As far as a solution goes, they are a long way off. Read our article about the 5 must have features of a workflow management system.

Important Field-Based Software Features

There are a lot of software solutions out there that are aimed at field workers. As time goes by, there is increasing pressure on contractors to have a more fluent means of completing paperwork. Here are some important features of field based software we think you should consider before choosing the best software for your business.

Instant

When your field based workers need to complete paperwork for a certain job they have to travel to and from locations before a job is started and upon completion. By using a field based system, it will enable you to eliminate the need to do such travelling which will save you time, money and a big headache.

Less Clutter

We all know the pain of doing paperwork, so much so we think it\’s a good idea to dismiss it with an “I\’ll do it later” attitude. This is no longer necessary, find out how our software has made this a thing of the past.

Mobile

Your company will be truly \’on-the-go\’. Allowing your field based workers to send and receive information to the office on a mobile device will be the best way to streamline your workflow. If you are able to send paperwork back to the office through a smart phone, you are already head and shoulders above your competition.

Simplicity

Using your field based software should be as painless as possible. There are a lot of software platforms out there that incorporate quite complicated usability. We don\’t understand why but it may be due to the rate at which software has progressed. Mobile workers shouldn\’t have to navigate difficult, backward technology just to send a piece of paperwork back to the office.

[divider scroll_text=””]

Implementing a software system to streamline your workflow may seem daunting at first but in the end it will be greatly beneficial. Gone are the days where your field based workers will have to travel to and from the office just to collect a piece of paper with job details.

Businesses that have made the switch don\’t have to worry about paperwork, they are sending invoices as soon as a job is completed. As a result of using field based software, businesses are improving customer service and making big savings. In this current economic climate, that can\’t be a thing, can it?

Request a free demo of our software today or contact one of our friendly staff members for more information.

Workflow Management System – 5 Must Have Features

There are many features available in even the most basic of workflow management systems. Choosing the right one is paramount in the smooth running of your business. Whether you are looking for a system to streamline your workflow or monitor your members of staff, it needs to be the best system for YOU!

[divider scroll_text=””]

When you are choosing your Workflow Management System, make sure they have these vital features. Don\’t settle for a product that can\’t keep up with your daily operations. After all, the system is meant to make your life easier, not harder.

1. Cloud-Based

You are looking for a workflow management system, that\’s a step in the right direction. Choosing one that is not hosted in the cloud? That\’s taking two steps back! Your workers should be able to access data and reports anywhere and at any time.

2. Notifications

If your workers are using a system and aren\’t receiving notifications about jobs they should be doing, you are only asking for trouble. If they don\’t know what job they are meant to be doing, they can\’t do the job. This will only lead to abandoning the software and wasting even more money.

3. KPI (Key Performance Indicators)

When you start using a workflow management system you will discover that certain jobs or processes take longer than you anticipated. You may find that you are actually neglecting a certain part of your business. Either way, you will be able to tighten up on these areas as soon as you implement your new workflow management system.

4. Form Building

All businesses use forms on a daily basis and using paper is fast becoming obsolete in modern administration. Using a workflow management system will take away the pain of paperwork. Your forms will be entered into a workflow management system and you will be able to complete all forms on a mobile device, anywhere and at any time.

5. Simple to Use

The most important feature of a workflow management system is that it is simple to use. If you are implementing a new workflow management system into your business, you must ensure all of your workers are capable of using the system with minimal fuss. Think about it, no one ever complained because something was easy to use!

[divider scroll_text=””]

So there you have it, the top 5 features that any workflow management system should have. You are going to the effort of looking for a workflow management system, why not make the effort to choose the best one for you!

Does Your CRM Software Do All Of This?

We have created a nifty little info-graphic. It shows the many features of our workflow management software. All CRM software platforms have a plethora of selling points, quashing the over-used phrase \’Unique Selling Point\’. Imagine it was as simple as having one unique selling point. That would be an easy sell. Take a look at our info-graphic below and tell us whether you have seen other CRM software platforms that have all of the features we have included below:

All of these features are included in our CRM software and from as little as 57p per day, per user you can\’t go wrong. Our CRM software will streamline your workflow and reduce costs throughout your business.

[divider scroll_text=””]

Customer Success Stories

Read all about how our Customers of the Month were able to make huge savings and completely change the way they do business on a daily basis. Get in touch with one of our friendly staff members today or request a free demonstration.

Make Real-Time Decisions

It\’s never been easier to make important business decisions with our Workflow Management Software. We have developed a system that allows your mobile workers to send information to the office in real-time.

What do you mean Real-Time?

Exactly that, if you have workers in the field and they need a risk assessment, job sheet or proposal sent to the office for processing, the process can begin in real-time. Your office worker has received the necessary paperwork they would need as standard on the office database. When they have taken care of the processes on their end they can send information straight back to the guys in the field:

Instant Invoicing

With instant invoicing, when you have completed a job and the necessary paperwork has been sent, you are able to invoice your customer instantly.

Customer Alerts and Updates

Your customers will be notified when a job has been completed and are able to view completed jobs on their mobile device as soon as a job is completed.

Real-Time Information From Site

Job sheets, risk assessments, proposals, contracts etc. can be sent to the office and to the guys in the field at the ouch of a button.

Employee/Vehicle Location

GPS tracking is enabled so you know exactly where your workers are to assign jobs that are better suited to their locations.

Job Completion

As soon as a job is completed, it is instantly sent back to the office and ready for the next stage of processing, which is normally the invoicing stage.

[divider scroll_text=””]

It really has never been easier to make important decisions within your business. What\’s more, you can do it faster than ever before. Talk to one of our experts today to find out more about how our system will change how you do business. You can request a free demonstration of the system if you\’d like to see it in action.

Customer of the Month – October 2015

[divider scroll_text=””]

Overview of Company & Services

RACE LTD offer a comprehensive range of commercial and domestic electrical services to businesses and home owners, our services include being able to design and install new electrical systems and maintaining existing installations. They also offer specialist niche skills in the provision of temporary electrical services to the construction and events industry. RACE currently have a division within their company dedicated to the OOH industry (Out Of Home) helping clients based within the media sector complete and certify electrical works this includes digital screens, back lit light boxes, trough lighting to paper and post bill boards testing and inspection to all formats from 6 sheet to large digital installations. They also have experience within the special build requirements that clients request from time to time.

RACE service electrical systems throughout the entire UK and have various packages available when clients require services via call outs and annual visits.

They currently hold a fully approved NICEIC Registration allowing RACE to design, install and certify all aspects of electrical installations.[divider scroll_text=””]

Why RACE Ltd started to used FM

We as a company decided to start using FIELDMOTION having being shown the benefits of real time working. We have some very demanding clients who require us to produce reports and certificates. We feel that by using FIELDMOTION we can meet our clients needs and issue these reports and documents in real time along with all of the stock control systems placed within the software this was a no-brainer decision for ourselves. The guys behind the scenes have been there whenever we have required their services and customer support is second to none.[divider scroll_text=””]

How have you benefited from it?

We now have the ability to control stock levels that we place with our engineers out on the road. This has saved us time and money by ensuring that we have no wasted visits to wholesalers, saving time, fuel and even making us a greener company! There is now no waiting for our engineers to return paperwork to the office as it is all completed in real time, allowing us to invoice more quickly and keeping our cash flow coming in on time![divider scroll_text=””]

Added Comments about FIELDMOTION

I just would like to thank the team at FIELDMOTION for the persistence they showed in getting me to take their software on board (I just seemed to be too busy but they never gave up). I would recommend at the very least letting the team show you what the system can do and I am more than sure they will impress whoever takes a look. I have already recommended this software to several clients and associates and guess what they love it and have signed up to FIELDMOTION too.

Ron Robertson, RACE Ltd

[divider scroll_text=””]

Do you want to make savings and reduce paperwork like RACE? Get in touch with on of our friendly staff members and you could be making a huge difference in how you manage your workflow. Our workflow management software will change your life.

Dynamically Updating App Scripts

As any person who develops apps will tell you, the most painful part is when it leaves your laptop and is uploaded to the various app stores. In the case of Android, the Google Play Store takes an hour or two for the app to propagate, but in Apple\’s case, the average wait is a whole week.

This can be incredibly annoying; especially when your upload is an emergency fix for something which could potentially cause problems. We\’ve experienced it, and no amount of cajoling, praying, or bribery will make it go any faster.

To alleviate this problem, we\’ve come up with a new method that will leave the propagation in our own hands, meaning that there is no waiting at all – when we release a new update, it is downloaded to our app within seconds.

Not only that, but the downloaded code is actually more secure than if it were part of an app bundle.

Also, we can target /who/ gets the updates. We can target, for example, a specific company, or a development team, or a specific person or device.

Ok, so how? I\’m not going to share the actual code, but will describe the method we use, so any development team can replicate what we\’ve done.

Well, we start out with a tiny “core” app, which is distributed via the app stores. This core rarely needs to be updated, so it doesn\’t matter if it takes a week or a month for it to get through.

Upon first start-up, the core downloads a “login” script from our mobile server. This script simply shows the login screen and lets a person log in to their FieldMotion account. After logging in, the script then downloads user-specific scripts, and checks constantly from that point forward for any new scripts.

The trick is in /how/ this is done.

Scripts are downloaded over HTTPS, so they are not vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. The login script is generic and can be downloaded by anyone at all, so it doesn\’t matter if it can be read, but for the main app scripts, one step in security is in making it difficult for potential hackers to read your source code. Using HTTPS means that hackers cannot simply listen to your WiFi and copy down what is downloaded.

When the scripts are downloaded, they are then stored in the app browser using localStorage. Because Android and iOS compartmentalise apps, one app cannot read the localStorage of another, so this is one of the most secure ways of storing your scripts so they cannot be read even if someone has access to your phone.

Once a person has logged in, you can then send them the scripts that are specific to them, depending on the groups they\’re in, etc.

To keep their scripts up-to-date, you can set up a long-poll which constantly checks for new scripts to download. In the case of people that are using “stable” code, you can change this to a relatively delayed (every 30 minutes, for example) short-poll because it is less resource-intensive on the server side, and stable code doesn\’t need to-the-second updates.

Another benefit to this method is that you no longer need to compile your code for each phone. It can take a few minutes to install new code on the Android or iPhone. This can be very annoying if it\’s just a one line change you want to test. With this method, though, you could do your development on-line using a code editor such as Code Mirror, and have it pushed to your test phones as soon as you click Save. If happy with the code? Just push it to a release group for your users.

To summarise, the main benefits of developing your apps this way are:

  • Dynamic upgrades on /your/ schedule
  • Code is more difficult for hackers to analyse
  • You can decide who gets what scripts
  • No compilation needed anymore – just test and release

 

[divider scroll_text=””]