By Mynul Khan, Founder and CEO of Field Nation
With 2018 in the rearview mirror and 2019 full speed ahead, it’s important that field service companies make sure strategies and efforts are aligned to help move their goals forward. Fortunately, there are several best practices available to ensure a year of growth and success. Below are five ways companies can improve their field service operations in 2019.
1. Use Contingent Labor to Expand Into New Markets
One of the easiest ways to increase work and gain new business is to venture in to new markets. Although it sounds simple, many field service operations face conflicting challenges. First, many businesses experience the roadblock of not wanting to enter a new geographic location until a full-time field service technician is hired. Companies also face the challenge of not hiring a field service provider until they’ve had experience in a new market.
As a solution, companies can utilize a field service marketplace to locate and hire skilled contract labor for work in new markets. By employing contract field service technicians, businesses have the opportunity to enter new markets and build their base quickly without the risks associated with hiring a full-time employee. Ultimately, service companies that can build, scale, and respond to different levels of demand are set-up for success and ultimately win more business.
2. Cut Costs with Contractors
In addition to expanding geographically, contract workers can also help businesses reduce overhead labor costs. Although it sounds like a simple solution, companies tend to overlook this step when in bidding for new business. Instead of trying to scale business fluctuation with W2 employees, companies should consider assigning the extra work to contract labor.
It can be expensive to hire field service technicians full time, especially if a company doesn’t yet have clients in a new market. However, having contractor labor easily available will assist with the fulfillment of new bids as they occur. Engaging a blended workforce will also allow businesses to be more agile and respond to changes in seasonal demand by filling coverage gaps in a cost-effective way.
3. Incorporate Streamlined Systems to Improve Efficiency
The phrase “time is money” should always be considered when reviewing processes and determining efficiencies. Data, for example, can be a time-consuming process when entered manually. To help free up valuable time, companies should find a partner system that can integrate directly with the company’s system. This will help streamline the data process, allow both systems to talk to one another and sync data automatically. This way, data is always up-to-date and available to view in real time. Finding new ways to enhance system efficiencies is one of the most effective ways operations managers can grow its business in 2019.
4. Use Data to Make Decisions
Data is powerful and having a single dashboard can help operations managers make smart business decisions, faster. As information is coming in left and right, it’s important to implement a system-based dashboard that provides a high-level view on various data, such as total spend, top types of work and highest performing service providers. Instead of dedicating time to day-to-day revenue and costs, it’s more valuable for companies to take a higher-level view in an effort to find inefficiencies and areas for growth. Businesses can also use this data to help grow their business faster. By tracking pay rates and reset pricing in different markets, operations managers can improve its pricing accuracy, which in return prevents payment delays or overpaying in certain markets.
5. Make More Accurate Bids
By nature, making an accurate bid is a balancing act, as bids need to be competitive but not at the top or bottom of the client’s price range. Most of the time, clients aren’t looking for the cheapest or the most expensive bid and are looking to balance the quality of work and cost. The best way to find a bid’s competitive sweet spot is to reference past pricing data. To assist with the task, it’s best to select a management software that can filter data by geography and skill set in order to determine price range.
With the help of contract workers and streamlined management systems, field service companies are able to grow their businesses by making smarter decisions and keeping an eye on the bottom line.