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Sense of scale

28 May 2022

VISHAL BEDI describes in detail how businesses operating in the fire sector can make efficient and effective use of cloud-based job management software for easy control and governance of their sales, operations and marketing initiatives as they scale upwards.

It’s an exciting moment when the time comes for a fire business to take on more service, project and maintenance work that will transition the company to the next level, but how does an organisation operating in the fire space ensure it’s set up for success as that scaling process duly proceeds?

In essence, it’s necessary for the business to ensure that it has the right technology in place when it comes to automating those often tedious manual tasks. It’s then possible to more efficiently manage sales, operations and marketing activity as the basepoint for sustainably driving new business.

For its part, cloud-based job management software can help by creating competitive estimates ‘on the fly’, delivering intelligent business reporting that then allows for more timely strategic decisions and, last but not least, automatic reviews post-service, which itself assists in the building of credibility and attracting referrals. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

 With job management software, you can quickly create, update and submit accurate, winning estimates in your first meeting with a potential new customer via the mobile app. It can also allow you to accurately forecast projects and control costs with tools including the dedicated Maintenance Planner, in addition to features such as pre-built assemblies, individual catalogue items, labour rates, sub-contractor costs, contingencies and disbursements.

More importantly, job management software enables the business to exceed customer expectations during the life of a project as it delivers the capability to make ongoing updates, review approvals and send estimates to customers from anywhere and at any point in time.

The faster and more accurately you can create competitive estimates, the more likely you will stand out from the competition and win new business.

Ben Edwards, director at Essex-based BGE Digital (a business focused on electronic fire and security system design, installation and commissioning), has found that cloud-based job management software not only helps the company to allocate proper resources for new jobs and projects, but also assists in the delivery of a better customer experience by allowing the business to access job details and easily communicate their status to customers on a swift basis. The company’s ability to provide exceptional customer service has, according to Edwards, set it apart from others operating in the same space.

“We can probably put a quote out ten times quicker than we were doing when using spreadsheets,” asserted Edwards. “From a staffing point of view, this has actually allowed us to plough through so much more work, to the extent that we’ve been able to double our administration team headcount and that of our field service team as well.”

Intelligent reporting

Want to know how long it takes field staff to arrive on-site? Need to find out where your business is currently making and losing money? Or is it just a case of defining the number of jobs scheduled for the week?

Business reporting allows you to answer all of these questions and many more besides so that you can adequately manage your operations.

Solid reporting processes are essential for identifying trends, seeing where you are making and losing money and highlighting inefficiencies while the company scales upwards. When you preside over a scenario wherein all of your project details are housed in one cloud-based software, it’s then easy to generate reports and gain insight into key elements of your current jobs and projects, not to mention the overall health of the business.

Today’s job management software offers standard reports such as Work in Progress and Cost to Complete, both of which help in terms of keeping projects on track. Advanced business intelligence reporting, such as a BI Reporting Add-On, facilitates the creation of customised reports, dashboards and data visualisations that can really help the company to make predictions and forecast growth while scaling upwards.

Tom Simmonds, CEO at Allsaved (the Sussex-based business providing fire protection services for commercial and domestic properties across the UK), finds that the reporting capabilities provided by job management software increase the company’s understanding of job profitability and overall cash flow visibility. Ultimately, this helps Simmonds to make better-informed decisions on behalf of the business.

Simmonds informed Fire Safety Matters: “Reporting has meant that I can quickly see planned versus actual work. What have we billed for? Are we on target? Where are the engineers? How is any given job progressing? Are we ready to invoice? Thanks to the software, I always know exactly what’s going on. That’s the main point to note here.”

Post-service reviews

According to software review site G2, “circa 50% of consumers need to see at least a four-star rating [in order] to consider a business [for a specific project or programme of works].”

Besides simple word of mouth, online reviews can really prove to be the ‘make or break’ for customers when the time comes to decide if they even want to hire a business in the first place.

Put your best foot forward online by asking top satisfied customers to leave positive reviews in the digital domain. The more reviews you’re able to gather, the higher your overall rating, which helps you to stand out from the crowd on review sites.

Some job management software solutions actually integrate with review sites such as Podium (a top review site for fire and security systems-focused contractors) to automatically request customer reviews as soon as a job or project is completed.

For example, with the Podium integration, completing a job within the simPRO Software package triggers a text that’s sent to the customer requesting a review. This integration makes capturing reviews and boosting credibility simple by incorporating the process directly into any workflow stream.

The more positive reviews you can gather, the easier it is to fill your website or other marketing collateral with positive and honest feedback about your business that shows credibility and builds trust among current and prospective customers alike. In addition, there’s usually an opportunity for a great referral and more new business for every positive review that’s gathered.

Darren Thorne, managing director at Surrey-based DT Fire Systems, quickly saw the positive impact job management software exerted on the firm’s ability to realise the best customer experience when a large-scale client delivered positive feedback on DT Fire Systems’ quick and clear communication in reference to the status of a particular job.

Thorne explained: “I think the confidence came from this large-scale corporate client after we had conducted our first maintenance visit. Feedback was forthcoming immediately after we had sent the asset report. The client said the information that our system produced was the best they had ever seen in terms of detail. They were very happy with the quality and breadth of engagement they were receiving at the end of the job.”

Ability to grow

The success that businesses like BGE Digital, Allsaved and DT Fire Systems have witnessed thanks to the deployment of job management software goes beyond sales, operations and marketing. This software has helped them to streamline all of the tedious manual tasks holding them back from scaling and, ultimately, helped them to grow in every area of their business.

How might your fire business grow with job management software on its side? Are you ready to run more efficient sales, operations and marketing in order to scale your company?

Vishal Bedi is Business Development Manager at simPRO Software (www.simprogroup.com/uk)