Grow your HVAC Company by Shedding Light on Your Operation

Growing a garden is fairly straightforward. Plant the seeds in fertile soil, water them, and let the sun shine down to do the rest. By comparison, growing your HVAC business feels like a mysterious magic trick, but really it comes down to almost the same principles.

Step Out of the Dark

You need technical know-how by your service techs to go along with quality parts. These two factors will insure quality work. Think of them as the seeds and the soils. Splash in customers gained through word of mouth and solid marketing and you have the water to make everything flourish. Now all you need is some light on the situation to reveal what sectors of you HVAC operation are powerful and which areas need to be weeded or fertilized.

This seems simple, but that last part feels downright Houdinian for many business owners.

Not All Magic Starts With Abracadabra

Recently I attended my local HVAC association luncheon and learned that less than 15% of HVAC companies are departmentalized. In other words, most companies do not have their GL separated to understand how much revenue comes from their Service side, versus how much comes from new installs of A/C Systems.

More importantly, most HVAC operations not know which side is more profitable.

Sure, many have some sort of vague idea, but managing by gut instinct is not an exact science. Companies that have as little as fifteen technicians can greatly benefit from understanding where their revenues are generated, so this notion you can “just wing it” is not a great idea no matter the size of your HVAC company!

ABIS Can Help

ABIS helps HVAC and other service companies easily decipher where their revenues, profits and expenses come from. By measuring these results, business owners are able to set goals, incentivize behavior, and grow their business.

Business Intelligence is the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg! And you don’t need to plant magic beans or scale a towering beanstalk to cash in.

Jack Of All Trades

As a small business owner, you are already stretched thin in what you have the time to focus on in your business. If you had an ERP (a software solution that integrates otherwise disjointed critical business functions and processes) geared specifically toward your business, you could more accurately control costs and better understand your profit margins.

ABIS allows business owners to incentivize their teams to make incremental improvements in areas that will have a huge impact at the end of the year.

  • Cost Control = Inventory Control and by shedding light on your complete operation from the warehouse to the truck you can keep techs from buying unnecessary inventory or wasting valuable billing hours running from truck to truck looking for parts.
  • Revenues = Understanding and ABIS’s ERP will allow you to ascertain cost per call, gross margin per call, and the loss per call back when a simple inventory item is not on your tech’s service vehicle.
  • What Gets Measured, Gets Controlled, and with a system tailored to the needs of HVAC operations this key information is readily accessible putting light and focus where it needs to be so you can further grow your business.

ABIS connects every department together. From Accounting to Inventory, Logistics, Production & more: handle everything aspect of your business from one software.

  • Wireless Warehouse
  • KPI’s
  • Mobile App
  • Picture documentation in the field
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Google Map Routing
  • Inventory Control
  • Job Costing
  • Automatic Notifications to Customers
  • Document Control

Call ABIS today and learn how we can help you gain control of your business and make your life a little bit easier.

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ERP Implementation: A Step by Step Guide to Success

Over the past decade, businesses generated an unprecedented quantity of patents, products, and profit models. This trend of consistent expansion is accelerating—2016 being the record year for International Patent Applications, and the United States trusting the top position for the 39th consecutive year. In order to thrive in this age of explosive growth and competition, businesses must maximize resource efficiency. And, to do this, they must have tools that are in line with the pace of the 21st century marketplace.

Arguably the most important of these tools is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package. Industry leaders consider ERP software the cornerstone of their company’s organizational and operational efficiency.  Yet, some business owners and executives consider ERP software cost-prohibitive due to the often-times shocking cost of adopting and implementing an ERP package. However, businesses can avoid many unnecessary costs, and significantly reduce their bottom line, by following a series of steps.

  1. Your ERP Implementation Starts Before Talking to a Vendor
  2. Put Together your ERP Implementation Dream Team
  3. Change the Process, not the Program
  4. Leave it to the ERP Implementation Experts
  5. Understand the Importance of Training
  6. Stick to the Plan
  7. Leadership goes ALL IN
  8. Keep your ERP Implementation Simple

1. Your ERP Implementation Starts Before Talking to a Vendor

An ERP implementation is a capital investment, and when businesses make good capital investments, they realize returns that make the initial costs worthwhile. Just as a business would carefully consider and prepare for any other large capital investment, it is critical to understand and plan for the acquisition of a new ERP software.

Some businesses err by only considering the software’s features prior to making an investment in ERP software. While considering features is important, it is not the first or even the most important step.  Before studying and analyzing the software packages, the company must study and analyze itself.

  • What is the company’s volume of transactions?
  • What are the customers’ biggest frustrations?
  • What is the industry norm for floor production times?
  • Is the company using the most optimal equipment?
  • How can the company improve lead times?
  • What compliance standards is the company required to meet?
  • What is the organization’s turnover rate?
  • Has the company conducted a detailed SWOT analysis?
  • What is the timeline for the project?
  • What is the budget?

These are just a few of the many questions that must be answered before starting the search for an ERP package. For instance, a company might have great sales, stellar production efficiency, and unmatched customer service, but they have no handle on their inventory, forecasting, or procurement.  Without knowing these specific strengths and weaknesses, the company has no way of knowing specifically what they need out of an ERP platform. Likewise, if a company does not understand its competitor’s innovative competitive advantages, they may not be equipped to make a proper ERP selection (one with enough features and automation to keep up with industry trends and norms), and the ERP implementation is bound to fail.

[Insert complete check-list for ERP Software]

Often times, companies decide to implement an ERP software before considering the specific needs of the business. When companies do this, they are often confused at the differences between the half-dozen or so packages that they discover from a web search. Without a clear understanding of the specific needs, strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, the company risks making a poor investment that will not generate the desired returns, and may actually end up costing the company in the long term.

When companies choose a software that is not ideally suited for their business operations, they end up paying to reprogram the software to accommodate their unique needs. Businesses are often dismayed at the costs of reprogramming an ERP software that does not have the necessary features ‘out of the box’.  In many cases, businesses can completely eliminate custom programming costs by performing adequate research on their own business prior to adopting an ERP package.  Often times, software and consulting firms offer a preliminary engagement package that involves an in-depth needs analysis of the operations and business practices. Although this comes at a cost, this step helps the customer and vendor ensure that the company’s operational needs are met, and the project is planned and implemented effectively the first time around, thus eliminating additional costs in the long run.

[Link above to needs analysis page]

For any investment or purchase, it is always important to define the budget before initiating any purchases. When businesses keep the budget ambiguous, they risk ‘cost creep’ on implementation expenses or cost-features negotiations that often devolve into positional bargaining between parties. Both parties benefit when the budget is legitimately defined and expectations are clearly communicated.  Imagine shopping at a grocery store without knowing how much money is in your pocket. Regardless of whether or not you or the grocery knows how much money is in your pocket, you will leave with only the amount of groceries for which you had money. The same logic applies in an ERP implementation. If you do not define the budget, you may leave the implementation with some features you don’t need while other legitimate needs may be missed because they were not prioritized.

Defining the budget must be connected to the businesses’ self-study. A properly defined budget, and keen awareness of the business’s needs, will help to keep costs down by providing an ongoing line of accountability to the stakeholders of the project.   For example, if an implementation were halfway completed, but the project budget is at 75% capacity, key stakeholders will likely pay much closer attention to project expenditures such as custom programming, meetings, or project management. As important as it is to define a budget internally, it is equally important to agree on that budget with your software provider/vendor. Most software and consulting firms track budget as a key performance indicator. By defining the number with the vendor, it helps to harness accountability—as they will likely determine their success in part based on not exceeding the budget of the project.

2. Put Together your ERP Implementation Dream Team

Although most ERP packages are implemented by a team of project managers and consultants, there is a large amount of responsibility, duties, and workload that must be carried out by the client company. Most implementation firms will always offer to fulfill and execute all the work involved with an implementation, but this only adds hours and cost to the project. With the proper team in place, you can use internal resources from each department to fulfill tasks such as data gathering, data scrubbing, data conversion, SOP definition, testing, etc. Assigning the task of data extraction, scrubbing, and migration alone can eliminate a significant amount of hours and cost from the overall project.  Additionally, having internal team members perform some of the work involved in the implementation will also serve as practice and training for the end users—which will ultimately result in cost savings for support during and after the implementation.

Due to their robust nature, ERP implementations require a large amount of input and commitment from everyone (especially department heads) in the organization. The team must specifically plan for additional resources (e.g. time, costs, personnel etc.) that are directly tied to the ERP implementation. These resources will ensure that the team is successful in day-to-day implementation assignments while not compromising standard operating procedures, and will prevent costly issues like overtime, re-work, and setbacks to the timeline. Most companies form a team involving roles for each core area of their business such as project manager, accounting, logistics, purchasing, etc.  Teams that are organized have better interfacing between the consultants and the team.  Without a properly structured implementation team, bottlenecks, duplication of work, and other communication obstacles arise, usually resulting in cost increases.

[Insert design of perfect implementation team (based on TV/movies characters?)]

One role that can be created specifically for the implementation is the super user role. This team member, usually a manager or key employee, will be involved in every step of the implementation.  Additionally, the super user will usually undergo extra training sessions in order to develop them into a subject matter expert in the ERP.  Throughout the implementation, the company will be expected to perform parallel testing and hands-on practice inside the software. If the company is equipped with a super user, many of the questions, support, re-training, and other miscellaneous implementation tasks that usually deplete budget hours can be resolved internally.  ERP Implementations require extra resources. These resources include organized labor from teams, training for a team lead super user, time windows for practice and ongoing performance feedback.

[Write parallel testing article]

3. Change the Process, not the Program

ERP systems streamline organizational processes, automate communication across organizational levels, increase operational efficiency, increase transparency, forecast cost and profit projections, and optimize resources. All of these functions provide value to the company, and will inevitably make standard operating procedure less resource intensive. The residual resource (i.e. cost savings) from the efficiency provided by ERP software can then be used to expand the business, enhance the product, or provide value-added services to customers.

To fully maximize the return on cost savings, companies should re-evaluate their operating procedures after implementation, and establish new practices and procedures to fully accommodate the new software. The majority of companies that realize cost savings on ERP projects are eager to change, in terms of culture, people, and processes.  Often times, the fatal ideology and mindset of ‘because we have always done it that way’ leads to a change in the software, rather than the process.  Most ERP vendors do not include customizations or program changes in their original proposals. Therefore, any change that involves unforeseen programming will ultimately result in a budget overage.

During the pre-implementation planning stage, when the company defines its business process requirements, a good practice is to come up with a list of ‘must haves’ vs ‘nice to haves’ pertaining to software logic, features, and functionality.  Decide up front what the ‘showstoppers’ are for the company’s operational needs. If the company has performed thorough and ample research in this process, any customizations that are absolutely necessary to the project will be shared and negotiated with the ERP provider in the budgeting and negotiating phase.

[List of ERP Features/Characteristics form to download]

An indirect risk of customizations during the implementation is that it creates a moving target for both the end users and the consultant/project manager. If this becomes a pattern throughout the project, it is inevitable that the timeline and project scope will be compromised, triggering the need for more man hours and another dip into the budget.  If a company has chosen the right partner, their consultant should be able to provide ample work-arounds or alternatives utilizing existing functionality in order to deter the need for customizations.

4. Leave it to the ERP Implementation Experts

As processes change and innovation increases, companies implementing new ERP systems must devote a portion of their budgets to IT infrastructure. Although some of the hardware must inevitably be kept in house (barcode scanners, label printers, workstations, tablets, etc.), many companies are taking advantage of cloud computing, which can dramatically decrease the cost of hardware, personnel, and infrastructure.  In fact, statistics from a 2015 survey show that 90% of companies have moved to the cloud in some capacity.

An ERP, if utilized properly, will generate and require data for every facet of a company’s activity. By housing this data in the cloud, the liability of upkeep, maintenance, virus protection, upgrades, and backups is transferred to the ERP hosting provider. Taking advantage of hosted solutions provided by companies like Rackspace, Amazon, or DigitalOcean will allow the organizations to not only leverage the most innovative technology but also dramatically cut the costs associated with hosting a new ERP software platform.  Traditionally, in house IT departments are responsible for an array of timely duties including database tune-ups, load balancing, backups, virus protections, upgrades, and many other system improvement tasks.  Headaches and time that would have been spent babysitting, implementing, and troubleshooting the IT infrastructure can be dedicated to more mission-critical duties that contribute to not only the success of the ERP implementation but the company in general. 

5. Understand the Importance of Training

The foundation and success of the entire ERP implementation rest on the end users’ ability to use and navigate the software as it was intended. This not only qualifies user training as one of the most imperative steps in the implementation but also one of the biggest cost implications.  ERP firms commonly set aside a specific percentage of the project’s budgeted hours towards training. Depending on the ERP being implemented, courses are usually broken out based on modules and are either priced per course or per user.  Although most implementations may include some padding for re-training, it is likely that any formal training courses that are requested a second time will be billed against the project, thus adding to the original cost forecast for the training portion of the project.  These unnecessary cost increases can be prevented through preparation, accountability, discipline, and cooperation from the stakeholders and end users of the organization.

[ Insert user training post or infographics ]

Assuming the project manager and implementation lead/super user have agreed upon a granular and detailed project plan, there is usually ample time to prepare for software training courses. It is imperative to request and familiarize the team of trainees with detailed training agendas prior to training. This practice allows for end users to brainstorm topics, determine any missing processes/objectives, and populate lists of questions specifically related to their use of the software.  Pointing out unique business situations and processes (and how they will be executed in the software), and initiating conversations between the trainer and other end users will allow the team to come up with proper solutions both in process and software functionality.  If these types of procedural and situational inquiries aren’t addressed in training, they will come up after the ERP has gone live, resulting in an influx of preventable support costs.

“The foundation and success of the entire ERP implementation rests on the end users’ ability to use and navigate the software as it was intended.”

Another crucial part of the team’s preparation will be to acclimate the end users with the software itself. Most ERP providers will issue licenses and user credentials in the first month of an implementation. This lead time allows trainees to begin logging into the system and exploring screens and modules that may associate with their day to day operational procedures and responsibilities. Getting to know the ‘lay of the land’ will allow users time to adjust to the general look and feel of the software. Often times, if end users are seeing the software for the first time during training, their attention is easily diverted to simply analyzing the graphics, nomenclatures, and all around design of the software itself—which usually results in a lack of retention in the core subject matter.

One proactive measure the company can take in order to prevent retraining is to demand mandatory attendance for all assigned courses/sessions. As previously discussed, during the implementation, resources and team members experience the burden of a second workload on top of their tumultuous day to day schedule. It is very easy for a resource to justify skipping out on a training class, or stepping away and leaving a course in order to put out a fire or deal with an operational need.  Although exceptional circumstances may demand this type of behavior, upper-management and key stakeholders overseeing the implementation must make it abundantly clear to all resources that training course attendance is required. If a company makes new hires or does require some re-training during the final months of an implementation, a properly groomed super user should be able to cover most of the subject matter at that point.

Although the actual training is an integral part of an end user’s adoption and acquirement of the software, documentation will go a long way in preventing avoidable support calls and inquiries—which can add very quickly to the overall cost of an implementation. Most ERP providers can provide customers with generic documentation for at least the basic modules of the platform. The most beneficial and proactive approach to documentation would be to formulate documentation and user guides specific to the company and its standard operating procedures. While generic documentation will help, end users will experience more significant benefits from the documentation that represents the activities and functions performed on a daily basis within the company. 

6. Stick to the Plan

Panorama Consulting – an independent ERP consulting service – revealed the average duration of an ERP implementation is 14.3 months. Likewise, the study revealed 75 percent of implementation projects exceeded their initial estimated timeline. No matter the vendor/package, there is almost always an inevitable correlation between the timeline and cost of an implementation. If the company has properly defined the goals around timing and longevity of the implementation and conveyed these figures to the firm, a final go live date can be set to steer the entire project.

One measure that can be taken to ensure the project and its stakeholders remain on pace is a detailed, granular project plan. Although project management, in general, is sometimes notorious for being a waste of time and budget, if performed properly it can actually help drastically reduce costs to the overall implementation.  An effective project plan will include not only detailed tasks/executions required to complete the implementation, but also supplemental dates, assignees, due dates, predecessors, completion percentages, and remarks sections.  If every task required of the implementation has an owner, and a commitment date, it is much easier to promote accountability for all stakeholders.  Psychologically, when a resource sees their name next to a commitment, they are much more likely to fulfill the responsibility, as opposed to seeing the task simply assigned to the project in general (without a particular member of the team being responsible).  Commitment times and due dates will help to organize the schedules and workloads of both the implementation consultants/project managers and the internal resources involved in the implementation.  Without due dates, resources (and even consultants) are more likely to delay or procrastinate in their project assignments until ‘crunch time’.  This type of behavior usually results in an overall bottleneck in the project, an extension of the final go-live date, and increased project costs.

As the timeline changes and grows during the implementation, the project becomes more susceptible to cost drivers and risks.  In the software world (from a retention and education standpoint), it is best to take the ‘strike while the iron is hot’ approach. In an extended project, much of the training and knowledge transferred during the initial courses will be diluted and eventually forgotten, which will require additional hours and capital in the form of re-training and extra courses.

Another unforeseen effect of extending the timeline of a project is the implications of seasonal trends and how they correlate with resource availability, time restraints, cash flow, and other key factors that can smother the success of an implementation.  Take for instance a project that is slated for an April go live. In the initial planning phases, research and collaborative discussions established that April was the month with the least operational volume. Thus, resources and stakeholders would be able to roll out the new ERP during months that were more forgiving in terms of chaos, time, and volume of business.  During the implementation, various setbacks to the project plan and timeline dictated an August go-live (which happens to be the company’s peak month of volume). The risk of a problematic, both in cost and morale, go-live is much greater in this month than the original April target.

7. Leadership goes ALL IN

The implementation of an ERP requires feedback, cooperation, and buy-in from the entire company.  Unfortunately, whether it is derived from reluctance to change, fear of job security or other common emotions that arise from a project of this nature, some team members are not as supportive and enthusiastic about implementations as others.  In fact, it is not uncommon to have employees completely revolt (be it directly or passively) against the implementation. In the industry, these resources have been playfully coined as saboteurs, project terrorists, or troublemakers.  A strong force that can help to eradicate the project of these negative forces is leadership and executive buy-in of the project.

Similar to most team oriented environments, employees involved in an ERP implementation will look to leadership and management when forming their personal attitudes and opinions of the project. In most cases, team members will emulate their manager’s actions and attitudes towards a project in terms of support, buy-in, enthusiasm, cooperation, and optimism. The practice of top down positivity helps spread confidence, willingness, acceptance, and energy across the entire organization—which are all catalysts for a successful implementation. On the contrary, the same holds true for the effects of negativity from upper management – they will spread like wild fire, and most likely much quicker than anything on the positive side of the spectrum.

Although this may not directly add cost to the project, the indirect effects of low morale, lack of commitment, and an overall pessimistic attitude can result in additional costs.  For instance, in a supply chain management ERP implementation there are many departments that must work hand in hand to provide proper data, derive operating procedures, assist in training, perform parallel testing, and roll out the software. Each department acts as a very unique puzzle piece that is imperative to the overall synergy and proper functioning of the software and operation as a whole.

Let’s assume one of these departments, shipping/logistics, is governed by a veteran manager who does not support the implementation and change.  In order to prove his point and display his disdain for the new initiative, he will do whatever he can to stall, disprove, and prevent the project from success. In this case, the resources within this department have also begun to mimic the negative attitude concerning the project. Throughout the implementation, assignments, data requests, meeting invites, training sessions, and other elements of the project requiring cooperation are ignored and even in some cases rejected by the members of the department, including the manager.  Due to the collaborative nature of the implementation, the company cannot move through the project because of ‘one bad apple’.  This bottleneck and behavior eventually lead to an extension of the go-live date, insufficient data, untested processes and procedures, and a possibly cancerous attitude in the company—all of which culminate into excessive costs and overrun budgets.

In the same example, if executive leadership were to get involved, the culpable managers and departments would be counseled and even reprimanded in order to prevent this string of disruptive events. The best approach executive leadership can take when announcing or introducing an ERP implementation is one that conveys “We are getting on this bus. You can either hop on and enjoy the ride, or you will be left behind.” 

8. Keep your ERP Implementation Simple

As organizations make their transition into the age of innovation, many companies make a significant technological jump once the decision has been made to upgrade and automate. Due to factors such as cost, time, manpower, and complacency, most organizations taking on new innovative initiatives are converting from extremely antiquated business practices and procedures.  The ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality has encouraged practices like tracking production and inventory on handwritten documents, deriving forecasting and procurement data reactively based on assumptions and opinions (rather than true facts and figures), and analyzing company key performance indicators through manually created and maintained spreadsheets.  Over time, teams get acclimated and comfortable with these behaviors, which prolongs and widens the gap between the innovative stage of the company and its competitors.  Thus, once the company finally decides to upgrade, through the adoption of an ERP for example, they most likely want to change almost everything.

Although it is important for an organization to automate and improve all areas of their business, it is important to remember the amount of work and effort required to properly implement a platform as extensive as an ERP.  If too much is taken on during an ERP implementation, there are several risks that not only jeopardize the project but the organization as a whole.  Most ERP packages are broken up into modules. Whether the ERP provider charges by the module, or by the work involved to set up, configure and train on these modules, there is always a cost associated with each module. Taking on more modules than necessary will result in drowning of project resources and time, extended project timelines, and a possible decrease in training retention—all of which are exorbitant costs which will quickly deplete the budget.

Through close communication with the ERP provider in the initial planning phase of the project, you can develop a project plan that will help deter some of these risks, and the costs associated with them.  When first meeting as a company to analyze your company needs, qualify the benefits of each of the modules, and only plan to implement the ones that truly deliver value.  If the list of modules is still somewhat considerable in length and time, a phased project approach will be necessary. In a phased rollout, rather than implementing all of the desired modules in one single instance, small groups of modules and processes are implemented at a time.  This approach provides cost benefits including more time for users to adapt to the system as they go (avoiding re-training and inflated support costs). This approach can also develop super users for later phases (as the users implement phase I, their expertise can be harnessed in the setup and implementation of later phases).

Additionally, by utilizing a phased approach, the company mitigates the risk of possible go-live disasters.  Due to the integrated nature of a fully implemented ERP, any failure in any portion of the software could affect other modules and processes.  If the implantation is all encompassing, there is an added pressure for users and stakeholders to be 100% prepared in all areas of the platform.  If the company has ‘bitten off more than they could chew’, the threat of a go-live rollback (reverting back to the legacy system and planning another go live in the future) becomes much greater.  Rolling back a go-live has immense monetary consequences—loss of implementation hours, loss of business and production due to shut downs, overtime costs from manpower, and additional costs from legacy platforms.  These consequences will inevitably destroy any hopes to stay within the budget of the implementation.  While phasing an implementation out may give the initial impression of added costs, it will most likely eliminate disastrous episodes and costs like these.

While ERP implementations can be intimidating to an organization on many levels, the apprehensions based on finances and costs can be removed by adhering to a proactive approach that follows some of the key areas discussed above.  With the proper planning and attention to these traditional blind spots of an implementation, any organization will not only dramatically decrease the overall cost of implementation, but also likely ensure a successful go live and deployment of the new platform.

Cost of Construction Software

Having the right software for your construction company makes the difference between getting the work done and getting the work done right. But most construction companies are concerned over the cost of implementing construction software in their operations. We’ve put together a list of factors that go into construction software pricing so you can make the best decision for your business.

Company size and User Count

When implementing new software, it’s important to consider how many of your teams or departments you want to have integrated into the program. You may want to include accounting, sales, project management, procurement, and any other area needing visibility into operations. A major factor affecting the cost is your company size and your need for support in implementation and training for employees for long-term success.

Complexity

Along with the size of your company, the complexity of the software required will play an important role in cost. For instance, you may or may not need to integrate as many departments with the software depending on your business needs. Or if your business does custom manufacturing, you might need more modules and more flexibility in the planning process.

On Premise or Cloud-Based

Construction software is considered on premise when it is put into the hands of the company’s IT staff. Companies usually pay a yearly support or maintenance cost. This kind of software generally works for larger construction companies who already have an operating IT staff. Cloud-based construction software works well for smaller construction businesses who do not have the IT staff to run their construction software. Generally, whether cloud-based or on premise options are utilized, the cost really depends on the needs of each individual company, but cloud-based software options generally have a faster timeline for implementation.

Company Goals

Ultimately, what truly matters is that your company reaches its goals. Your software needs should be based on what you would like to accomplish. And getting the right construction software to fit the needs of your business is a must! Not implementing or choosing the wrong construction software holds your company back in the long-term. Construction software is meant to streamline communications and operations so your company is more efficiently racing towards its goal.

Every construction company differs in its needs, wants, and goals. Construction software should be tailored to fit the size and complexity of your business. To get an estimate on your company’s construction software needs, contact us today!

Not Connecting Your Field Reps With the Office is Hurting You. Bad.

Today’s business climate is more competitive than ever, and you need to take advantage of every technology to keep your company on top. It’s one thing to want increased productivity, efficiency, and profits but identifying areas and implementing strategies for improvement is challenging. One area of attention that has consistently given results is in the state of the organization’s communication.

Paper is Killing Your Productivity

Businesses that use representatives who operate in the field, independent of the office, face additional hurdles. These companies face not only the issue of poor interoffice communications but also interaction with employees outside of the building.

Field teams often use paper and pen to track client data such as job descriptions, price quotes, and service deadlines. The representative then needs to re-enter the information into a computer system duplicating their effort and losing productivity. This process can lead to lost data, repeat entries, poor customer service, and lost revenues. This manager needs a software that connects their teams to the office.

Let’s take the example of an inspector at a Water/Mud operating company. This inspector and his team performs 20,000 inspections every year. During every one of them, their inspector writes down the name of the client, the time he arrived and left, the type of inspection he realized and each action he performed on site. If he does 7 inspections a day, he then turns 7 sheets of paper to his manager every evening. When his manager receives each paper from each inspector, he needs to type all this information into a computer system or a software the company chose to handle their customers. This means that the manager spends every day re-entering data from the field team. This is not only counter-productive, it is also bound to create friction on many levels: some forms will get lost, others will be indecipherable, and customers are entered a second times into the system, leaving room for spelling and other errors.

Inspectors and their managers waste hours trying to figure out what happened and what was the next step. At times, the team even has to go back to the customer’s location and start the entire inspection over. It would not only hurt their productivity but also generate high volumes of paper needing to be stored. The team of inspectors could spend weekends filing papers, and if anybody called, they had to dig through multiple boxes or go into their archives. It is a nightmare.

Until they went paperless.

The Game Changer: A Software for the Service Industry

A software for the Service Industry such as a specialized Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software enables a company to manage and integrate every essential parts of their business helping them to become more productive, efficient, and profitable. ERP software allows organizations to integrate crucial areas like purchasing, sales, customer service, planning, but also field reps.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

Using a software to go paperless across the entire company from the office to the field is a game changer for our inspectors. They can now use a mobile or tablet directly from the field to perform their entire inspection. Forget the paper, every inspector is now seamlessly connected to the office and every information entered is saved electronically and accessible by the managers in real-time.

When performing an inspection, the inspectors can now pull the customer profile and enter the information relative to the task performed. No more duplicate entries, no more data errors, and no more hours wasted re-entering basic data.

The manager has access to every action performed and can shift his role from a data-entry position to true managerial post. He now has more time to review his team’s performance and steer the wheel in the right direction. How long do inspectors spend at a customer on average? How much do they spend on average for each type of inspection? Which inspection is the most profitable and why? The answer to all these questions and many more are now at the tips of his/her fingers.

With this new paperless system in place, managers can instantly share the right information to the right person or search for archives within minutes, instead of hours. It generates thousands of hours of time savings every year.

ABIS works with MUD/Water district companies. We have heard from some inspectors: “if you look at our growth during the past 5 years, we should have already hired somebody; but hiring has been leveling off because of the unforeseen hours saved by ABIS.”

To learn more about ABIS and how our technology can increase your profits, feel free to Contact Us or Request a Demo.

Too Busy? Why Now is the Best Time for ERP

As more and more companies turn to ERP systems to take advantage of the benefits they offer, there are fewer and fewer reasons to postpone the decision for taking the leap forward. Unfortunately, some companies still try to postpone moving forward and the common reason we encounter is that many companies hesitate to alter their current processes because they are engaged in extreme demand, growth or an upswing in business. During these periods, the prospect of an ERP transition seems inconvenient or disruptive.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, most companies that are industry leaders in similar situations consider ERP updating or upgrading services immediately. Study after study has shown that the benefits vastly outweigh the inconvenience of implementing new services, and companies often find that hesitating to make the jump has disastrous results. Below, we’ll explore some of the risks lagging companies encounter during busy periods.

1. Problems Only Worsen

Unfortunately, many businesses fall into the trap of thinking high-demand periods are just temporary spurts. In reality, the majority of businesses with an effective sales model will and can generate expansive growth for extended periods of time– while this may not be a linear correlation, the trend will develop significantly upward. This means that any neglected processes or unsolved problems currently happening are unlikely to disappear with enough waiting. Worse, many problems are compounded as your business grows; what may be an inconvenience now can quickly become a disaster as the scope of the effects magnify alongside the growth of the enterprise.

2. Mistakes Multiply

Employee productivity increases with the proper use of ERP tools; this means not only better production, but reduction in the risk of repeated mistakes with less equipped employees or outdated legacy systems. Particularly for operations with multiple locations, a lack of modern ERP system can mean wildly varying quality standards and methods across locations. Waiting to move forward with an ERP system because you’re busy only means that the mistakes that you were making before or going to be astronomically higher now. A proper ERP will streamline total business operations, and ensures standardized systems across any number of facilities.

3. Profit Decreases

A properly implemented ERP often provides an immediate increase in working capital. Beyond this, ERP offers substantially better financial analysis capabilities, improving transparency, standardizing reporting systems, and keener insight into an company’s cashflow. Reluctance to re-evaluate your current systems can often mean waste, inefficiency, and damage to profits otherwise avoidable through more developed systems. Particularly for small to medium size businesses, it is also important to remember that implementing a new ERP system is relatively painless compared to a larger-scale operation. Unless a company wants to continue profiting less even while their demand increases, there is little reason to postpone a shift that maximizes productivity immediately at a fraction of the cost and difficulty of later implementation.

4. Customer Satisfaction Declines

Better equipped staff, higher productivity, reduced waste, and comprehensive analysis tools means happier customers. Employees utilizing modern ERP systems are better prepared to meet customer expectations, and even with an increase in sales, they can still produce a better product at a reduced labor cost as employees utilizing outdated or underdeveloped system. A reduction of unnecessary expenses, man power and improved financial tools means you know exactly what services are cost-effective, and how best to utilize the savings. While this can mean improved profits, it just as easily can be used to lower costs, maximize quality, and in general guarantee products and services that are highly competitive. This means happier customers, and better retention than running the risk of sticking to old systems.

As you’ve seen above, the vast majority of organizations can benefit from an immediate upgrade from their outdated or inefficient systems. It is vital that companies considering ERP services not fall into the trap of postponing the decision—especially since, the benefits are immediate, costs reduced, and the risks of putting off the switch (discussed above) can be almost entirely avoided with immediate action. If you’d like to know more about how an ERP system can make your business smarter, request a live demo of our solutions:

8 Ways Metal Building Companies Can Increase their Profit Margins

Maximizing profit margins within the metal building industry is a daily challenge. Many business owners respond to sluggish profits by simply raising their prices across the board. And while this strategy may lead to some gains in your gross margin percentage, you run the risk of losing price-conscious customers. Fortunately, there are some effective steps you can take to increase your margin while avoiding harsh price increases. Below are eight ways metal building companies can increase their profit margins.

Here are 8 ways Metal Building Companies Can Increase their Profit Margins:

  1. Expedite turnaround time for clients
  2. Introduce software solutions to help trim waste
  3. Bolster your customer retention efforts
  4. Employ software to analyze project costs in real-time
  5. Optimize your product inventory
  6. Make cross-selling a top priority
  7. Switch to online billing
  8. Upsell when appropriate

Let’s review in detail how these can help you increase your profits.

1. Expedite turnaround time for clients

“In the construction process, time is of the essence. Steel prices may change, seasons change (allowing you only certain times to build), and contractors may change their quotes based on how long it takes you to complete your project. Time IS money.”

Ryan Frye, Armstrong Steel Network  

Lead time is a top concern for customers seeking metal building services. You can expedite lead time by regularly following up with vendors, ordering in bulk, and staying abreast of anticipated product shortages. One easy way to avoid shortages completely is by using a software with procurement capabilities. Imagine how easy it would be to manage your stock if you tagged and tracked every item in your inventory. Every time a material is used, your inventory is automatically updated and you receive and alert when your stocks are low. At ABIS, we even invented a method to calculate your coils usage based on length and weight being used in real-time. As one customer put it, our coil management system is “spot on accurate”. This will help you gain time, decrease turnaround time for your customers, and increase your profit margins.

Related: How to Automate your Procurement Department to Increase Profits

2. Introduce software solutions to help trim waste

Metal TrimAn effective software platform will help you reduce scrap, setups, and manual sheers, thereby trimming your waste and enhancing your profit margin. However, not all software companies are created equal. ABIS, for example, created Trim Genius, a unique nesting algorithm that searches all open trim work orders in the near future and create optimized cut lists based upon factors such as gauge, color, girth, and length. This is the difference between a generic software package and a company with decades of experience in the metal industry. The second has created algorithms and scenarios to answer specific questions and problems related to metal building construction companies. Choosing a specialist is the best way to ensure that you maximize profits for your metal building firm.

3. Bolster your customer retention efforts

One of the most effective ways to stimulate profit margin is to turn a new customer into a loyal customer. RJMetrics reports that over half of customers who make a second purchase will make a third purchase, and the likelihood of a customer returning grows with every successive purchase. You can bolster your customer retention by offering incentives to repeat clients and by providing value-added services.

4. Employ software to analyze project costs in real-time

Analyze Project CostReal-time access to project costs is essential to staying on budget. A robust software platform will help you establish a budget for each phase of your project and track the specific expenses required for completion of your project. Once your budget is created, you can not rely on estimates and expect to keep a high profit margin. The best way to manage a project efficiently is to track cost revenue information down to the fine detail for every job/project, and to analyze budget costs in real-time. A software with job costing capabilities will help you keep track of your costs and make adjustments to maintain profitability throughout the job.

Related: Are you making money on your projects? Job Costing is Key

5. Optimize your product inventory

IBIS World lists the “ability to control stock on hand and maintain appropriate inventory levels” as one of the three most important success factors for a business in the metal building industry. The key to optimizing inventory is to utilize an ERP Software that will enable you to effectively track your inventory and identify patterns in inventory utilization. This strategy allows purchasing agents to anticipate product needs and prevent backorders.

Here is how Matt Mitchell, Purchasing Manager at CO Buildings, uses product inventory and forecasting to have a better buying power, better pricing, and to build trust and credibility with his buyers:

6. Make cross-selling a top priority

“An economic argument for a focus on cross-selling seems obvious. The incremental cost to sell is typically lower, because existing customers already know the brand and likely the product or service on offer. Tenure typically is longer, because existing customers have already traversed the “get to know you” stage, when defection rates are highest.”

John Senior, Tom Springer, and Lori Sherer of Bain & Company 

Cross-selling is beneficial to both the customer and owners of metal building companies. By expanding your services to include facility design and building maintenance, your customers save time and money while you enjoy increased sales.

7. Switch to online billing

Paperless billing saves money and conserves resources for metal building companies. By switching to online billing, you immediately eliminate the cost of paper, postage, envelopes, and printing costs. You also stimulate cash flow because customers receive their invoices immediately and can remit payments more quickly.

8. Upsell when appropriate

Upselling is a tactic that is especially effective with existing customers who trust your expertise. As you engage in upselling to provide customers with value-added products and services, make sure that you address the customer’s specific needs and provide recommendations that will lend significant benefits to your customer’s operations.

The Bottom Line

A strong profit margin is a primary key to your future success as the owner of a metal building company. Through software efficiency, customer retention, and real-time inventory access, you can increase both your gross margin percentage and your gross profit. Request a demo today to learn how the ABIS team can help you increase your profit margin while bolstering your overall efficiency. We look forward to helping you become a leader in the metal building industry!

5 Tips to Keep Construction Projects Within Budget

One of the most crucial aspects of operating a prosperous trade specialty or construction company is the ability to efficiently and accurately track a projects profitability. There is no use in winning dozens of contracts every day if half of your projects aren’t profitable.

To counter this, you can either hire the best project managers in the area and hope they can keep up with it on spreadsheets or you can develop a set of rules and metrics that ensure every project will come to completion with a positive balance. In this post, we will focus on the later.

1. Use Accurate Estimating to Build your Budget

There are a few items to consider when creating your construction budget. According to Buildrite Construction, the following elements should be included in your basic budget consideration:

  • Permit
  • Insurance
  • Blueprint drafting and review
  • Interest and fees
  • Site preparation
  • Foundation
  • Exterior
  • HVAC
  • Interior
  • Contingency allowances

And this is only scrapping the surface. If you’re afraid your PM might overlook some items or underestimate others, I would recommend looking into an estimation software such as QUESTware or MBS. These programs allow you to design your building into their software platform and then use this information to estimate the costs of your project.

QUESTware Estimating:

QuestWare

MBS Estimating:

MBS Software

With their wide variety of options and the precision of their metrics, these programs take the guessing out of your budget, which can provide substantial savings and increase the profitability of your projects.

2. Have a Process When Changing Scope of the Project

Can all the people who managed a large project without needing a change of scope raise their hands?

No one?

It seems that changing the scope of the project is a sort of specialty of every customer. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as you can handle it without affecting your profitability. The scope defines the great edges of the projects and its deliverables at a high level while the business requirements add more details to the project. But when the scope changes, how can you process it without damaging your bottom-line?

Here is a 9 steps method recommended by Tech Republic:

5 Tips to Keep Construction Projects Within Budget-01

3. Develop relevant KPIs

Managing a project effectively requires the establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs help you determine project costs and the extent to which the project’s actual budget differs from planned. To run a construction company efficiently, many KPIs can be valuable:

  • Project Management
    • Actual Cost (AC) of Project
    • Cost Variance (CV)
    • Earned Value (EV)
    • Planned Value (PV)
    • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Salesforce Performance
    • Total Sales per Month/Quarter/Year
    • Sales Variance (compared to previous period)
    • Sales by Region
    • Sales by Salesperson
    • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
    • Lead vs Customer Closing Rate
  • Customer Management
    • Number of Customer
    • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
    • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
    • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Human Capital
    • Percentage of Cost of Workforce
    • Salary Competitiveness Ratio (SCR)
    • Employee Satisfaction Index
    • Employee Turnover Rate (ETR)

Various software platform will allow you to measure those metrics, but they usually focus on one aspect of your operations. Only an ERP software can give you the ability to track and measure all those KPIs at once. Since ERP platforms are plugged in to every aspect of your business, they naturally store this information. You only need to select what you want to see and start running your business based on the true performance of your operations.

Learn More: What is An ERP System?

4. Increase Operational Efficiency

A fully integrated construction accounting module reduces data integration headaches while eliminating manual data entry, reducing errors, and maintaining rules consistent with your core accounting system. ABIS’ Accounting module for example is directly tied in to every other department, automatically sharing every financial activity to allow you stay on top of your bottom-line.

The Job Cost feature will impress you single-handedly. It gives you the ability to track cost revenue information down to the fine detail for every job or project. It allows you to calculate estimated costs in preparation for a proposal and track the results of your bids. After a proposal is accepted, you can easily transfer estimate information in order to create budgets for the new job. Once in progress, all financial pieces of information are automatically allocated to the project which lets you know in real-time if you are on target or misaligned.

With the right Accounting module, it has never been easier to ensure all your projects stay profitable.

5. Track Staff Time

In most firms, your team is your most valuable asset. This is even true for construction projects because many crews with different skills are involved. Concrete, drywall, plumbing, electricity, many skills are needed and several different employees or crews will be involved. At this point, the project manager has several problems:

  1. How do you schedule the right resource at the right time?
  2. How do you keep track of how much time they spend on your project?

To keep track of profitability, project managers must be able to accurately track every hour spent on site. If the crews are external hires, then the project manager can rely on billing, but if your they are employees of your company, then you need to have a system in place to track how and where they spend their time. Especially if you stretch those resources across several projects.

To do it, there is nothing better than a software built with scheduling capabilities and a time punch clock.

Imagine you have 5 projects managers running 3 projects at once with the same crew of 50 employees. How do you know which resources are assigned to a project and which are free to use? The advantage of a software is that you can look up the schedule of every team member and realize right away if you can assign them to your project of not.

Schedule

Once the task is complete, either you or the employee can punch in and track how much time was spent on a project. In this example, John Doe worked on 3 projects Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday:

Time Punch-01

You can clearly know how many hours have been spent on which part of the project. Better yet, if John Doe is paid $22 an hour, those costs are directly assigned to project 1, 2, and 3, calculating for you the exact cost of your project in real-time.

As you can tell, there are many ways to keep your construction project under budget, and technology can play a great part in it. If the right Construction Software can help you tremendously, you must also chose the right partner.

Read More: Discover the Most Advanced Software for the Construction Industry

At ABIS, we strive in helping project managers and business owners make the best of their resources and maximize their profits. If your business is ready to integrate technology to increase your profits, request a demo today and we will schedule a conversation with one of our construction business experts.

5 Tips to Help Outdoor Construction Crews Stay Cool This Summer

Just because it’s 98 degrees with a heat index of 112 degrees, doesn’t mean your construction project deadlines will be forgiving. During the summer months, working outdoors can be brutal for your teams. Thousands of workers each year become affected by heat-related illnesses. Keep your crews operating at their best this summer with these five tips for beating the heat on the job.

Keep Them Hydrated

Staying hydrated is imperative when working outdoors in the summer months. Make sure your crews have ample supply of cold water to drink and encourage them to drink often. Sports drinks, coconut water, and certain fruits also contain electrolytes, which are essential for hydration. Remind your teams to take regular drink breaks, every ten to fifteen minutes, especially during the peak midday hours. Consider offering them popsicles as well to offer a refreshing treat throughout the day. Encourage them to take advantage of brief moments of breeze or take their drink breaks in the shade.

Ice Packs, Fans, and Hats

Consider investing in cooling towels, neck wraps and ice packs for your crews. In the event of mild heat exhaustion, these can be ideal for quick cool-down therapy. Keep coolers of ice on hand to refresh the cooling towels and encourage your crew to change them out frequently.

If your teams are operating without bump caps or hard hats, make sure they are wearing hats to help reduce direct sun exposure to their heads. Keeping the head cool can help regulate the body and prevent overheating. If your crews are working in indoor spaces that don’t offer air conditioning, make sure you have the fans ready to help keep the air moving.

Dress Appropriately

Encourage your teams to dress appropriately. Depending on the nature of your outdoor construction project, they may be limited to specific personal protective equipment, such as steel-toed boots, high visibility vests or hard hats. When applicable, however, allow them to wear breathable shirts that are lighter in the fabric. If your crew can perform their outdoor construction jobs safely with their own choice of street clothes, consider allowing them to wear light pants, shorts or sleeveless shirts during predicted hottest days of the week.

Adjust the Schedule

Sometimes, the best way to avoid the heat is to start working earlier in the day. Consider adjusting your crews’ work schedule during the summer months. Starting earlier in the morning will afford your teams cooler temperatures and less sun exposure.

If any of your team members need to acclimate themselves to the outdoor work, whether it be due to time off or being new, consider a lighter workload for the first week. Doing this will allow their bodies to adjust to the heat and the workload appropriately.

Go Paperless

There is probably nothing worst than needing to spend an extra hour under the heat to fill out paperwork. Yet, filling out that information on the spot is critical to the success of your projects. So what can you do? Use tablets or mobile solutions to speed up the process. A construction software with mobile capabilities will generate pre-filled information and let you enter relevant information at a fraction of the time needed to fill out physical papers. They can enter the tasks performed, monitor their time, making sure all their metrics are correct, and everyone can keep track of the progress of the project. One customer of ABIS explains: “It gives our guys a place to capture their time, capture their notes as they happen, not 5 hours later, the next day, or the next week”. “My guys love it” says another manager “The program itself is probably the best tool they have, because they don’t have to worry about paperwork” he added. So this summer, do your crews a favor and invest in a paperless system.

Sunscreen

Keep the sunscreen handy and make sure your crews are applying several times throughout the day. The best protection is SPF 30 or higher, and several brands also feature water protection, which is helpful for those who sweat. Encourage your teams to apply liberally to the face, arms, and shoulders to protect them from the harmful UV rays during their working hours.

Related: 5 Tips to Keep Construction Projects Within Budget

An overheated worker may present symptoms such as heat rash or exhaustion and can run the risk of more severe heat-related complications. Be mindful of the predicted temperatures and heat indexes for your upcoming work weeks and be prepared. Have a plan in place to offer quick cool-down options for your crews and encourage them to monitor their own conditions throughout the day. Keep your workers cool and refreshed and your projects on schedule this summer.

5 Gaps in The Procurement Process That Hurt Your MRP Capabilities

Managing a procurement department successfully, in a specialized industry like metal building construction, requires the ability to forecast the future accurately. Increasing productivity and efficiency demands accurate, up to date information, enabling you to make quick, knowledgeable, and informed decisions, decisions that will increase opportunity, revenue and profits.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) is a method for the efficient planning of all aspects of a manufacturing company. MRP software addresses both operational and financial planning, providing increased visibility over production and buyers by integrating inventory, production, and client data. Here are five gaps in the procurement process that can hurt your MRP capabilities.

1. Supplier Issues

A frequent challenge faced by many companies is finding quality suppliers capable of providing and maintaining consistent service and product that meets the highest quality standards. Developing relationships with suppliers that recognize and understand your company’s needs, interested and committed to your success, will enhance your organization’s performance.

ABIS simplifies this process with a procurement system that gives you real-time updates of suppliers, information about your current inventory, and identifies the best possible vendor. It understands your business and analyzes your inventory levels and historical relationships with your suppliers to provide a “quick buy” option. This information allows you to quickly identify savings opportunities and improve supplier relationships.

2. Budget Overruns

Controlling and lowering costs is a fundamental responsibility of the procurement process. Mistakes due to accidental or inaccurate ordering are costly and reduce efficiency, harming customer relations. Budget overruns negatively impact your business in several ways and are commonly caused by a lack of communication and coordination in the present procurement process.

This gap can easily be corrected by putting checks and balances in place throughout the company. For example, an alert can be created once your inventory reaches a critically level, or when an unusual amount of items is about to be ordered. Another example is that all change orders over $20,000 must be approved by the regional manager for a specific customer. Approvers can delegate alternates to handle approvals in their absence for example while they are on vacation.

3. Data Accuracy

Access to current and accurate data is essential to making quality decisions. MRP software reliably gathers and analyzes operational data. It is flexible, designed specifically for your company and addresses both operational and financial planning.

ABIS’ Material Requirement Planning system is tightly integrated with the Customer Orders, Inventory, Sales Analysis (Forecasting), Purchasing, Manufacturing, and is sensitive to company and plant specific criteria. This MRP software analyzes the existing stock status of all raw materials and finished goods. It lets you determine precisely when and how much material should be purchased or manufactured based on a time-phased analysis of sales orders, production orders, purchase orders, current inventory levels and forecasts. It puts the data of your entire company in the palm of your hand and allows you to make the most informed decisions.

4. Strategy Development

Professionals responsible for procurement have found their role in an organization changing from an operational function to a prime strategic position. Effective procurement procedures require the ability to develop strategies which align with organization goals and objectives.

Matt Mitchell, Purchasing Officer at CO Buildings explains very well the strategic importance of purchasing for its company. “Forecasting in the area of purchasing is important especially in the Steel market where prices fluctuate up and down” he says. “For us, we make better money buying inventory at a reasonable price than we would if we left the money in the bank so it is literally an investment.”

With our Software for the Construction Industry, he can go back and review what he used over the last year, break it down into monthly or quarterly usages, and use this information when negotiating with his vendors. According to him, this allows him “better buying power, better pricing and give [his] buyers an idea of how serious [he is] about buying correctly and not just following the market.” He then adds “our market is way too competitive to just buy on a ‘as-needed’ basis.”

5. Time Management

Time management is a critical aspect of the procurement process, covering both lead and sourcing time. Integrating systems throughout the company reduces human error, lowering costs and improving customer service.

Delivery time is also a concern for some businesses. When purchasing large materials that can not be easily stored in a warehouse, the product needs to arrive exactly at the time needed. Not before, because it can’t be stored, and not after, because it would delay the project. Another problem arises when the distribution centers are far away from the company. If you source your items or materials from a long distance such as a foreign country, your company could be waiting weeks before receiving it. This makes forecasting and time management a pivotal element of your company’ success.

Conclusion

Successfully operating a procurement department requires fast, accurate information to make quality, informed decisions. It will help you increase visibility, streamline vendor management, and prevent fraud. Integrating data from different areas of your company will increase opportunity, productivity, efficiency, and profits.

To talk more about procurement process gaps and how they could be optimized, request a demo of ABIS’ solutions today:

4 Mobility Solutions ROI for Utility Businesses

In a world where mobile devices are multiplying 5 times faster than humans, mobility and data collection has become essential to field work businesses. It enabled them to increase productivity, streamline workflows and run daily operations more smoothly. But to make that jump to an entirely fluid business, utility companies need the right partner. ABIS experience and technology provides all the mobility solutions to become this collaborator.

1. Fasten Workflow Management

Integrating tablets and smartphones solutions for field workers has been one of the major sources of productivity gains for utilities businesses. It enables them to perform maintenance routines and service calls with the same level of professionalism as office personnel. Field workers can use their tablets to open work orders, update real-time status, add any type of information about the customer or the task performed, and track equipment usage. It increases productivity, fastens workflow management, centralize CRM information, and helps utility businesses run more efficiently.

2. Enhance Communication

By implementing connectivity solutions to their mobile workforce, utility companies have been able to get real- time visibility over work status and workflow management. Employees update work-in-progress information, get notified on-site about maintenance schedule and manage recurring task. It improves communication between in-house and mobile workforce which ensures that your business runs more smoothly.

3. Optimize Resource Management

Use mobility solutions to incorporate inventory tracking and predictive data analysis to streamline resources management. Management teams know in real-time how many assets are in stock and how many are being used. They know the precise location of every resource at any given time and can share it with the entire company. By unlocking the potential of predictive analysis, the purchase and procurement department is updated with stock levels in real-time and advised on the best course of action to follow based on purchase history and advanced behavior analysis. Since mobility solutions provide access to enhanced data, utility businesses have been able to develop financial models to get in front of cost trends, cost analysis and predictive financial analysis.

4. Streamline the Supply-Chain

ABIS mobility solutions develop new ways and new processes to track and manage inventory. Our client-partners implemented scanners to tag every item from the reception platform to storage, allocate it to the right resource and monitor assets consumption by in-house and mobile workforce. The entire supply-chain is revisited for better tracking, more accurate inventory levels, and better resource allocation generating unprecedented gains in turnover ratios and profitability.