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Winning Now And Later: A Framework For Smart Job Management

Ann Dewar
May 22, 2023

Most field service businesses face a daily dilemma: Should you focus on making this quarter's numbers, or prioritise long-term strategies? Many choose to focus on the first option and hope for the best, but that brings its own set of problems…

The reality is you need to focus on both at the same time for your field service management business to survive and thrive. When you take steps to improve operations now (like implementing job management software), you can use short-term results to prove you’re on the right long-term path.

But, to pull this off, you need the right approach. So, let’s get into exactly what this is so that you can win in the short and long-term. 💪

How to win in the short-term while investing for the long-term

With the right approach, it’s possible to achieve two seemingly conflicting things at the same time – short-term performance and investment in the future. 

As David Cote, who was CEO of Honeywell for 16 years, points out in his book, ‘Winning Now, Winning Later’ there are three guiding principles:

  • 1. Get real about your business
  • 2. Invest in the future, but not excessively
  • 3. Grow your business, but keep your fixed costs constant

Let’s break these down.👇

Principle 1: Get real about your business

To achieve strong results in both the short-term and long-term, you really need to dig into the nuts and bolts of your business. And to have real conversations about your future, you have to address the elephants in the room. Look squarely at how you can improve your processes and end traditional methods of doing things that might be holding you back, like paper-based processes.

Principle 2: Invest in the future, but not excessively

To grow, you’re going to need to invest in your business. The key is to make investment decisions which will ensure your future growth and expansion. Go big on growth and lean towards those investments that will increase profits and productivity.

Principle 3: Grow your business, but not your fixed costs

It’s vital that you retain both a short-term and long-term approach in the challenging times that we’re in. The key here is to ‘squeeze the lemon’ and ensure that you are investing in the future, but keeping a tight rein on your costs. For instance, you could consider investments that allow you to take on more work with the same number of employees.

One solution that meets all these needs? Smart job management software. In the next section, we’ll take a look at how the right tech can meet both your short-term and long-term needs. 👇

Short-term gains from smart job management

Building on how to win in the short and long-term, let’s now turn our attention to some specific gains and benefits from using smart job management in the short-term:

  1. Better efficiency: Field service management software streamlines and automates core processes such as scheduling, dispatching, and routing. By eliminating manual tasks and reducing paperwork, you can optimise efficiency, resulting in quicker response times and improved productivity.
  2. Real-time communication: With the right tech, communication between the field engineers and the office becomes seamless. Real-time updates, instant messaging, and mobile access to job information enable better coordination, faster decision-making, and the ability to adapt to changing customer needs.
  3. Improved job scheduling: The right software gives you a comprehensive view of all your resources, including field engineers, equipment, and inventory. With this visibility you can optimise job scheduling, reducing downtime, minimising costs, and maximising the number of jobs you fit in one day.
  4. Enhanced customer experience: Field service management software helps you to provide superior customer service. With real-time updates on job progress, automated reminders, and the ability to quickly address inquiries, you can enhance customer satisfaction, build trust, and increase loyalty.
  5. Accurate data input: Paper-based processes often lead to data inaccuracies and delays. Field service management software enables you to capture accurate data, such as job details, customer feedback, and equipment readings, directly in the field. This real-time data input eliminates errors and facilitates accurate reporting and analysis.

Long-term benefits from using smart job management tech

If the short-term gains weren’t enough. Here’s a handful of long-term benefits from leveraging the right job management tools:

  1. Improved planning and forecasting: With the right field service management software you can take a look at historical data and analytics to help you gain insights into operations. For instance, by analysing trends, identifying patterns, and forecasting demand, you can make informed decisions regarding resource planning, capacity management, and future business growth.
  2. Preventive maintenance and asset management: The right software enables you to implement proactive maintenance strategies. For example, by tracking equipment performance, scheduling regular maintenance, and leveraging predictive analytics, you can prevent costly breakdowns. This approach optimises efficiency and lowers maintenance costs in the long run.
  3. Streamlined billing and invoicing: Leveraging the right tech automates the billing process, ensuring accurate and timely invoicing. Plus, by integrating job management software with invoicing systems, you can eliminate manual data entry errors, accelerate billing cycles, and improve cash flow.
  4. Scalability and adaptability: As businesses grow, field service management software can scale and adapt to changing needs. Whether expanding operations, adding new services, or entering new markets, the right software provides the flexibility and scalability to support evolving business requirements, ensuring seamless growth without disruption.
  5. Data-driven decision making: Finally, field service management software captures and analyses vast amounts of data, enabling you to make data-driven decisions. With these new insights and performance metrics, you can optimise overall operations, identify areas for improvement, and drive continuous process enhancements.

Now, let’s put this all together, with a framework for smart job management. 👇

A framework for smart job management 

So, let’s now see how this all comes together with a simple framework to get started:

Set achievable short-term goals 🥅

A good starting point is to set short-term goals. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and focus on improving field service productivity, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs. An example of a short-term goal might be to reduce paperwork and introduce digital job management software. Or, if you already use a solution, it might be to implement advanced smart scheduling tools.  

Develop long-term strategies 📈

Consider how you can put processes in place that allow you to grow at your preferred speed without putting the whole business under strain. While short-term goals are important, it's equally important to have long-term strategies in place that align with your goals. These strategies should focus on long-term growth and sustainability. An example of a long-term strategy might be to be the leader in your category with a stack of five-star customer reviews. 

Establish performance metrics 📑

Next, you might want to create some performance metrics for each job role and measure progress against these metrics on a regular basis. This will help identify areas where improvements are needed and provide a baseline for how things are going overall. For example, you might want to identify how you can fit more jobs into a day by optimising vehicle routes better.

Ongoing training and development 📚

To ensure that all employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve short and long-term goals, it’s useful to provide ongoing training and development opportunities. This will help employees stay up-to-date with new technologies and best practices, as well as improve their overall performance. 

Monitor and adjust 🔎

Finally, it’s important to monitor progress regularly and adjust processes as needed. This will help ensure that you stay on track to achieve short-term and long-term goals, and the business continues to evolve and improve over time.

Balance the long game with quick wins

To sum up, job management software is a long-term investment. But field service businesses can get heaps of benefits back from it nearly right away. 

Final key takeaways:

  • Instead of focusing on making this quarter's numbers or prioritising longer-term strategies… You have to do both. It pushes you to go beyond what you think is possible and enables you to truly expand and grow.
  • The best way to fund future growth is to grow your business but keep your fixed costs constant. If you think differently and keep investing for the future, you can achieve explosive breakout performance.

One way to achieve all this? Schedule, track, and dispatch without a hitch using user-friendly job management software like BigChange. BigChange’s easy-to-use tools and customer support make it easy for your business to adopt it. 
Give it a go with a personalised demo today – you won’t regret it.

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