Operational Efficiency Initiatives

When was the last time you checked your technology spending against your IT infrastructure’s contribution to the bottom line?

Chances are, what’s happening underneath all those automated processes, expensive hardware, and fancy graphical user interfaces is not doing your bottom line any good.

If you don’t keep a watchful eye, your IT operations can easily nurture a lot of wastage and unnecessary costs. Underutilised servers, duplicate processes, poorly managed bandwidths, and too much complexity are among the common culprits.

For minor problems, we can eliminate wastage by setting up some technology enhancements, instilling best practices, and performing a few tweaks. However, if you’re not adequately trained on how to go about with it, your band-aid solutions can add more complexity to the mix.

Of course, there will always come a time when you will have to spend on new technologies to maintain the overall efficiency of your IT infrastructure. Whether you intend to purchase new hardware or software applications or build an entirely new infrastructure, the sheer cost of such undertakings warrants seeking expert advice.

Failure to do so can result in fragmented resources lacking in cohesiveness, which don’t contribute to efficiency at all.

Our solutions for improving operational efficiencies cover the entire spectrum: from planning what to buy, optimising what you’ve already bought, to making your team comfortable with them all. Please find time to view our solutions below and uncover ways to drive those profits up even as you work within your budget.

 

More Operational Review Blogs

 

Carrying out an Operational Review

 

Operational Reviews

 

Operational Efficiency Initiatives

 

Operational Review Defined

 

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How FieldElite helps Plumbers

While most people think that running a plumbing business is a very easy job, things are a bit different on the ground. The job goes beyond the dropping by a client’s home and fixing a few pipes. In addition to the actual plumbing work, a plumbing business also involves managing quotes, invoicing customers, dispatching field service workers, and accounting, among others. Undertaking all these operations manually is extremely demanding. Besides the tedious work that it is, you’re likely to end up with a ton of errors. 

However, you can overcome these challenges by employing technology. The use of field service management software allows you to automate tasks. Consequently, you no longer have to deal with paperwork, delayed responses to customer requests, or double assignment of tasks.

If you’re wondering which field service management software to use, FieldElite is your best bet. FieldElite is feature-rich, and it gives you way more than the simple automation of the daily operations of your plumbing business.  

Below are some of the top benefits you’ll reap by using FieldElite to run your plumbing venture.  

Convenient Scheduling

Scheduling is an important aspect of the plumbing industry. Just like other field techs, plumbers would require tasks to be dispatched on time, which is only made possible by proper scheduling. With FieldElite, managers can easily schedule single and recurring tasks for the right plumber in a matter of seconds. 

On the other hand, plumbers can also view the available jobs and job information in the FieldElite easy to use App that’s available for Android, and confirm scheduled jobs. They can also accept these jobs using their smartphones and respond to service requests instantly.

Apart from getting the scheduled tasks, the FieldElite scheduling and dispatch feature is integrated with GPS functionality so that plumbers can get information on where to go next, and the optimal route to take from their mobile phones. 

The scheduling and dispatch feature also gives plumbers the information on the specific tools required for the job to allow them to get the tools in between appointments and schedules. 

Central Data Storage

Just like other field service industries, plumbing also involves big data. Handling data manually would mean more errors for your plumbing business, which will only impact negatively on your business. To eliminate such errors, go paperless with FieldElite. 

You can view everything from one place with FieldElite?s dashboard feature, including information about your plumbers and the scheduled tasks. On the other hand, your plumbers can access job details and the pending tasks from a central place. 

Plumbers can also get service requests from customers on the FieldElite mobile app from wherever they are. All the requests are stored in a central place, making the response to customer requests easier. The end result is satisfied customers, opening doors for return orders. 

In case of an update, all plumbers receive notifications at the same time and, where necessary, respond promptly to the requests. They can update the office instantly with job status changes from a central place. 

Convenient Reporting

Reporting is part of the tasks that plumbers have to do after completing the assigned job. As a manager, you expect your plumbers to keep you updated on the status of each assignment. Reporting on paper is time-consuming, and that’s why you need the services of FieldElite. 

With FieldElite reporting feature, sending over completed job reports is only a few clicks away. Plumbers can generate reports on the mobile app and keep the office staff updated on the status of the job. Using FieldElite, you can capture customer signatures and add attachments to the job status and send them instantly using the mobile app available on Android. 

Since they can do instant reporting via the mobile app, the plumbers can proceed to attend to new service requests as soon as they’re done without having to first come back to the office to submit their reports. 

Effective Communication

Timely communication is very essential if you’re working with field technicians. Since you’ll not always be with them in the field, it’s always important to establish a proper communication channel to ensure information reaches your plumbers in time. Here, you can get much more with FieldElite, including communication automation to remind customers of appointments.

With FieldElite field service management software, plumbers receive notifications through the mobile app. The notifications can be for anything from new task requests, requests for alterations, emergencies, and more. On the other hand, office-based staff gets to access the reports once the plumber completes their given task. 

That means the plumbers in the field and the office-based team gets communication instantly, enabling them to see and manage their workloads. For this reason, plumbers can complete multiple tasks within a short time, thus improving their overall productivity.

Scalability

The biggest question for most entrepreneurs when they want to buy management software is scalability. Businesses grow and incorporate new activities that would also require to be managed from a centralised system. Where that’s not possible, the business would have to move all their information from one system to a more robust one. 

With FieldElite, however, you’re safe. It works perfectly well for startups as well as large-sized plumbing businesses. It allows you to focus on the areas that your organisation covers now, but also lets you add new areas as you introduce them into your business. Moreover, FieldElite is also receiving regular updates to that bring it up-to-speed with new technologies and new ways of doing things, meaning that your business will be in a position to take advantage of the latest and more productive features. 

From the benefits mentioned above, it’s quite clear that your plumbing industry greatly needs the services of a field service management software. Your plumbers too need easier time working on their assigned tasks, adding to the reasons why you need to integrate FieldElite in your plumbing business.

Top 3 reasons to get into Multi-Channel Retail

Multi-channel retail, which nowadays understandably includes online channels, is something you just have to do this year. Every single day you put off doing it, the competition gobbles up market share that should have been yours. There are a number of reasons why even successful retailers are now going into multi-channel retailing. Here?s three of the most important ones.

1. You’ll get a BIG jump in sales

Not counting this year, which could be getting a big boost from major activities like the Queen?s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics, sales of UK retailers have been experiencing tremendous growth particularly from their online channels. Already two years ago (2010), a number of UK retailers boasted significant increases in sales as a result of multi-channel retail initiatives. These retailers included:

  • Argos, which got a whopping ?1.9bn from multichannel sales back then;
  • House of Fraser, which reported a 150% jump in its online sales in just 6 months; and
  • Debenhams, whose profits rose by 20%

There were many others. Now, the reason I?m showing you 2010 figures is because online retail sales increased by 14% in 2011 and those same businesses still added to that growth. So, if only you had enough foresight and started expanding your business to the Web two years ago, you could just imagine what your sales would have been today.

The good news is that, it’s not yet too late if you start now. Here?s why…

2. Those numbers are going to keep on growing

We’re getting all sorts of predictions from leading researchers regarding the possible growth of the Internet economy. All these predictions have one thing in common. They all have a positive outlook. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), for instance, predicts an average growth of no less than 10% per year in the G-20 nations.

3. Most online retailers aren’t doing it right yet

Although many retailers have already started bringing their business to the Web, most of them are doing it the wrong way. For example, many of them fail to integrate their offline and online channels. This is a serious shortcoming because it leads to customer dissatisfaction.

When a customer goes to your website and sees something he likes, you wouldn’t want him to drive all the way to your store only to find out that the item isn’t available there or, if the item is there, that it isn’t priced as he expected. The lack of multi-channel integration is very common among multi-channel retailers.

These inadequacies are actually good news because it means there are still many areas you can improve on. After improving on them, you can then highlight those areas as your key differentiators.

If you’re still looking for more reasons on why you should go into multi-channel retailing, read this post:

5 Numbers Showing Why the Time to Invest on eCommerce in the UK is Now

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What GDPR Means in Practice for Irish Business

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European directive aimed at ring-fencing consumer data against illegal or unnecessary access. There is nothing to discuss or debate with local politicians, or the Irish Data Protection Commissioner for that matter. As a European directive, it has over-riding power. To obtain an English version, please visit this link, and select ?EN? from the table of languages.

As you reach for your tea, coffee or Guinness after sighting it, you will be glad to know the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has the lead in turning this into business English we understand. The following diagram should assist you to obtain a quick overview of the process we all have to go through. In this article, we briefly describe what is inside Boxes 1 to 12. The regulation comes into force on 25 May 2018 so we have less than a year to get ready.

The 12 Essential Steps to Implementing the General Data Protection Act

1. Create awareness among your people of what is coming their way. The GDPR has given our regulator discretion to dish out fines up to ?20,000,000 (or 4% of total annual global turnover, whichever is greater) so there is determination to make this happen.

2. Become accountable by understanding the consumer data you hold. Why are you retaining it, how did you obtain it, and why did you originally collect it. Now you know it is there, how much longer will you still need it? How secure is it in your hands, have you ever shared it?

3. Open a communication channel with your staff, your customers, and anyone else using the data. Share how you feel about how accountable you have been with the information in the past. Explain how you plan to comply with the GDPR in future, and what needs to change.

4. Understand the personal privacy entitlement of the subjects of the information. They have rights to access it, correct mistakes, remove information, restrict its use, decline direct marketing, and copy it to their own files. What needs to change in your systems to assure these rights?

5. Issue a policy for allowing consumers access to their information you hold. You must process requests within a month, and you may not charge for the service unless your cost is excessive. You may decline unfounded or excessive demands within your policy guidelines.

6. Adapt to the requirement that you must have a legal basis for everything you do with, and to consumer data. You need to be in a position to justify your actions to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner in the event of a complaint. Having a legitimate interest is no longer sufficient.

7. Ensure that consumer consent to collect, use, and distribute their data is ?freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.? From 25 May 2018 onward, this consent will be your only ground to do so. You cannot force consent. Your benchmark becomes what the GDPR says.

8. Issue rules for managing data of underage subjects. This is currently under review and we are awaiting results. Put systems in place to verify age. Set triggers for where guardians must give consent. Make sure age is verifiable. Use language young people understand.

9. Introduce a culture of openness and honesty, whereby breaches of the GDPR are detected, reported, investigated, and resolved. You will have a duty to file a GDPR report with the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours, thus it is important to fast track the process.

10. Introduce a policy of conducting a privacy assessment before taking new initiatives. The GDPR calls for ?privacy by deign?, and we need to engineer it in. This may be the right time to appoint a data controller in your company, and start implementing the GDPR while you have time.

11. You may also need to appoint a data protection officer depending on the size of your business. Alternatively, you need to add managing data protection compliance to an employee?s duties, or appoint an external data-protection compliance consultant.

12. Finally, and you will be glad to know this is the end of the list, the GDPR has an international flavour in that multinational organisations will report into the EU Lead Supervisory Authority. This will manage the process centrally while consulting national data authorities.

The GDPR is a project we all need to complete. If we are out of line, it is in our interests to get things straightened out. Once everything is in place, the task should not be too onerous. Getting there could be the pain.

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