Not enough hours in the day? Struggling to get out on the boat while you follow up on admin or have you lost a job recently because you took too long to follow up on a call. Here’s how doing more online and less on paper could save you an hour a day.
Cut down on supplier visits with a “startup pack”
I know it’s great to pop down to the suppliers but have you ever considered the amount of time you spend each day going back and forth. This time could be much better spent on the job or chasing up quotes or invoices. The key to cutting down these visits is planning.
With a little bit of planning you can develop weekly, monthly or job based “startup packs” that contain a PO for the materials you are likely to need (over the next week, or month, or job).
The startup PO is then emailed to the supplier on a regular basis to get your business just enough materials to get a job underway while you spec out the exact requirements for the rest of the job. This will cut down on supplier visits and simplify the inventory and payments processes.
If you’re using an electronic job tracking tool you can email suppliers purchase orders as quotes are won so that supplies can be delivered to site or the workshop based on the upcoming job. This method would allow you to track materials down to the job level making allocation, invoicing and job profitability analysis faster and easier.
Go straight to job – not the workshop
Are you printing daily job sheets and making everyone come to the site each morning to plan out the days jobs? Have you ever wondered how much time is wasted with this process? A conservative estimate would suggest that for each employee you lose 30 minutes of downtime per day.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you automate this process and save more than two hours per week per person. If you’re not already doing this and aren’t yet ready to move to a dedicated job tracking tool such as Tradify then Google calendar is the most obvious place to start.
Alternatively, if you have a super busy personal life that impacts your ability to run the business, try Upto for an integrated view.
Another benefit of moving to a cloud based calendar or job tracking system will be a massive reduction in phone calls going back and forth to clarify job details such as the job description, notes, images, instructions or customer contact details as these will all be available in real time to everyone on the team.
One these calendars won’t do is make it easy for everyone to update you on time allocations. For most businesses many hours are spent per month collecting and collating timesheet entries so people can get paid and customers kept informed.
To save a big chunk of time make this hassle go away by getting everyone in the team onto a cloud based system where they can enter (and you can track) time entries real time. If you’re not ready to move to a Job tracking system there are plenty of cloud based time tracking tools such as Toggl.
Although some people might get a bit miffed at using different cloud products (such as Toggl and Google Calendar) the benefits will well and truly outweigh the hassle.
Super charged back office
The whole point of the back office team is to keep the business running smoothly. The more tasks you can automate using cloud based products the more time they will have to focus on more value added tasks such as email marketing, updating the company Facebook page, or job profitability analysis.
Getting the team onto cloud based products to help with inventory and supplier management, job allocation, communication and notifications, and time tracking will significantly benefit the back office team saving them hours of admin per week.
The 4 steps to going paperless
So you’re ready to move to the cloud to save time but worried that the administrational processes simply won’t run like clockwork without a good old fashioned paper trail? Think again. With the right software on side, you can make a seamless transition that’ll help your business work smarter, faster and of course, harder. So the sooner you get started the better. Here’s a simple four step process to getting your business on the cloud.
Conduct a Paper Audit
The first thing you need to do is conduct a paper audit. Go through your desk, the office and then the vans/trucks that you’ve got the crew using.
You’ll need some sort of checklist and clip board! Gather up or go through all the offending paper work and group it into various categories i.e. job sheets, receipts, bills, invoices, quotes, supplier statements, supplier price books, purchase orders, bank statements, timesheets and site checklists all grouped under categories such as staff, customers, suppliers, job tracking, accounting, or compliance.
Determine the categories i.e. job allocation, timesheet tracking, that generate the largest volumes.
Pick the right cloud apps for your electrical business
Once you know which categories which are generating the most paper you can start researching cloud based apps to tackle high priority categories. Chances are the key areas are around accounting, job tracking, customers and staff.
Cloud based Accounting Software
To help streamline your accounting and cashflow management, take a look at Xero. It’s easy to use, bank feeds are incorporated, it’s got lots of functionality and there is a whole community of additional cloud based software that links with Xero (such as Tradify).
Cloud Based Job Tracking Software
From a job tracking perspective clearly we believe Tradify should be your go to choice but there are plenty of other options out there and pretty much all the options are quick, easy and free to trial. Most have similar features (job scheduling, timesheets, invoice, quotes, reporting, mobile app) with similar pricing so it really comes down to ease of use.
Try two or three and pick the one that the boys in the field seem most comfortable with (assuming that its cloud based with a mobile app, accounting system integration and no set up or instal costs or contracts).
Cloud Based Document Management
To really make sure there is no need to generate or store paper based documents you need to start generating and storing all your documents in the cloud. The best way to do that is to get everyone onto Google Docs and Google Drive.
Think old school microsoft docs but simpler to use and accessible to everyone in the team (subject to access privileges) from any device in any location.
Get some training
The fastest way to ensure you benefit from going paperless is to get everyone up and running as soon as possible. There are plenty of accounting firms and specialist cloud integrators that can help with training or you adopt a train the trainer approach and nominate an employee per cloud tool to become an expert and have them train up the rest of the team.
This will save you time and money while empowering and motivating employees.
Get set up and Tool Up
To make sure your business and your employees can fully leverage the new cloud based tools you need to invest in the right tools. If you haven’t upgraded the office PCs or monitors you should make a point of doing this over the next month or two. At the same time you should update your office internet package to increase the speed and data allowances.
Here are there other simple tips to help with the transition;
- Now would also be a great time to get rid of any fax machines.
- inform suppliers that you’re going paperless and that all orders, receipts, price list updates etc etc should be done or delivered electronically.
- Log on to your online banking and ensure you’ve opted out of paper statements.
- See more at: https://tradifyhq.com/electricians-how-to-save-time-and-go-paperless/