Top 5 Pitfalls To Avoid As You Automate Your Work Order Process

Automating your work order process is essential. But you can’t afford to make any mistakes.We want to make sure you get the most from your automated work order process.

Automation can:

  • Reduce errors during fulfilment
  • Expedite your supply chain.
  • Lead to greater profits over time.

But if you don’t do things right, you’ll be losing money before you make improvements. You have to collect the right data and then know how to apply it. You need to have a solid, proven process before it can be automated. After the planning is done, you’ve got to pull the trigger and launch; and if you don’t need to take a risk, don’t do it. Invest in a solid, tangible solution.

Check out these 5 mistakes you need to avoid when you automate your work order process:

1. Don’t Just Collect Data – Use It!

We live in a wired world. Consumers use their phones and electronic devices every day to automate their lives. They order products from websites and track their package’s delivery in real time. The warehouse that fills the order is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT.) Electronic communications drive all aspects of this work order process.

At each point, data can be collected. Your warehouses automation can provide feedback through every stage of production. Keep an eye on operations from afar while you expand your business. Make sure things run smoothly and address issues in real time. If your data says that you’re not doing well in a certain area, focus your resources there first.

For consumers, it starts with retaining contact information, preferred payment methods, and their ordering history. But the analyzing and application of customer data is where you’ll make real improvements.

Learn what drives your consumer by analyzing when then buy. Find out who they buy your product for. What purpose does it fill? How does it make them feel?

Data like this can be collected from your app or other through digital interfaces. Launch a customer feedback survey. Target the consumer experience during the fulfilment process. Learn the pain points your clients may face.

In an era of email and social media, you’re only a few clicks away from a direct conversation with your user base. Communicate with them and learn what they want.

2. Perfect Your Process Before You Automate

Automating your operation won’t solve all your problems. You must have a solid workflow in place before your look to automate. Perfect your work order process before relying on hardware and software to do the work for you.

Identify points of weakness in your fulfilment process. These could be:

  • Production bottlenecks.
  • Improper inventory management.
  • Errors that produce waste, shrinkage, or other loss.

Create procedures to test your process. Measure rates of success and failure. Eliminate any inefficiencies.

Create a standard that your process must adhere to. Only then will your be ready for automation..

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ship – You’ll Learn as You Go

It can be tempting to spend too much time in the planning phases. Things can always improve on paper. But, sometimes you won’t know if your system works until you launch.

Guy Kawasaki, famous entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author of Art of the Start, says start-ups need to “ship a beta” before they “ship the real thing.” There’s only so much you can learn, predict, or plan for during development. To really test a product, service, or process, it must go to the masses!

After you figure out what your automation solutions are, don’t delay in their implementation. There will be hiccups. There may be employee learning curves, extra costs, or other bumps in the road. These will be opportunities to learn and improve.

Face these and other (unforeseen) challenges head on. Improve your business model and supply chain in the process.

4. Invest in Your Robots, Keep Your Workforce

As you make improvements in your automated process, it’s important to appreciate your workers. They’re the ones that run your daily operations and keep your company alive.

You can rely on IoT and M2M communications to take care of most of your work order process. But you still need an able-bodied human operator to monitor the system. If you value order consistency, you’ll also need a human QA (quality assurance) inspector to make sure there are no mistakes. Know the jobs you need real people for. Value the staff in these positions.

Assure your employees that automation doesn’t mean they’re losing a job. Transition workers in obsolete positions into other departments – like customer service, marketing, or transportation. If there will be downsizing, take action fairly and directly.

5. Don’t Take a Risk When You Don’t Need To

What is the best investment you can make? What automation procedures are obtainable for you? What capital is needed to make it happen? What kind of ROI can you make?

Start with these questions. Define clear goals for your new automation. Look for tangible solutions and reliable investments.

We advise you start with the right electronic foundation. Like a field service management software that automates your work order process.

Remove the paperwork and prevent mistakes from happening. Track every stage of your order from inquiry to invoice. Collect all of your data in one place for easy analytics.

So remember, data is only as useful as what you do with it. Take a deep dive, understand it and see how you can use it to make the customer’s life easier.

Once you’ve figured out what it all means, change your processes. Make it quicker, easier, more accessible. Whatever you can do to make the customer journey better or quicker or more efficient. Don’t just stop when it’s a little bit easier, keep going and keep refining until it is as close to perfect as possible…But, don’t wait around forever. At some point you just need to get started. Don’t do all this refinement in your head. Start it, try things out and change the things that don’t work.

Take the things where your employees aren’t using their brains and automate it. People hate doing boring, repetitive work, robots love it. They eat that stuff up. Focus your employees on doing smart things that will make you money, not just on getting meaningless, boring tasks. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

Finally, don’t go crazy. There is a lot of power in automation but don’t let it go to your head. Start small and slowly build up.

Keep these steps in mind on your automation journey and you’ll avoid the sleepless nights that many before you have suffered on the road to automation success.


Are you having trouble automating your internal process? Don’t worry! Send us an email or request a FREE DEMO today! Business automation is just a fraction of what InField Clipboard offers. Check out some of the custom solutions we offer to our clients.

7 Steps to Automate your Internal Processes

When it comes to simplifying your business, what kinds of processes come to mind?

The most important thing you can do is streamline your operations, but what kind of tools can you use to get the ball rolling?

Business process automation is the concept that is gaining a lot of traction thanks to the fact that it can achieve some incredible results without overhauling how you work today. Simply by digitizing and automating various operations, including those on the back end, you can reduce a lot of work and time spent by your employees.

Even though there can be a lot of different details involved in automating your business procedures, we have compiled a list of seven different methods that you can use to get on track. Once you see the potential of these changes, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

Step One: Identify Key Areas For Automation

Before you can dive into the various tools and software that you can use for the different parts of your business, you need to understand what can be improved. This means that you should take the time to break down all of your business operations by department and create a list of steps for each action.

In this case, you want to be as comprehensive and precise as possible. The more detailed you get, the easier it will be to identify and pinpoint tasks that can be automated to save time. The goal here is to locate pain points and bottlenecks first so that you can address those immediately.

As you go, you will also notice that your automation software will usually handle other parts of the job that you may not have considered. As such, it could be that once you automate a particular pain point, it filters out into all of the different operations for that department, which will bring the rest of it online.

Step Two: See Which Part of the Process Can Be Validated First

When you take a hard look at most of your operations, you will notice that they can usually be broken down into action and approval. Thus, it’s imperative that you look at all of the steps that need to be taken for the process to go from inception to completion so that you can better create a solution for it.

For example, if your employees have to fill out documentation and then submit it for approval from the boss, then your steps may be as follows. First, the worker fills out the paperwork, then he or she scans it into the computer, sends it out for approval, where it is either looked over or printed out and signed off Then, the approved document is sent back to the employee who can then file the paper away.

In this case, we have five different steps. Automation can automatically help out with two of those steps by allowing your employees to create documents digitally instead of on paper. This way, rather than having to scan physical material that can’t be edited on the computer, you can make changes or updates in real time based on the notes from the supervisor.

Overall, the goal in this step is to figure out what exactly your automation will do to alleviate the pain points that you found in step one. Essentially you are pre-validating the idea before you even decide on a particular tool or program.

Step Three: Find a Tool That Fits Your Model

Fortunately, since technology has become so ubiquitous these days, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a system or application that can fit within your parameters. Whether it’s a program that will allow you to digitize work orders or software that can help you secure and manage customer files through the cloud, there are tons of different options from which you can choose.

During this step, the important thing is to find a system that can be finessed and customized to fit your company. Thus, instead of conforming your operations to fit the program, you should find something that can change to meet your needs.

As we mentioned, a lot of these applications can take on much more than a single process, so if you can find something that alleviates multiple pain points at once, it will be much more valuable to your bottom line than trying to implement different programs and trying to make them sync after the fact.

Step Four: Create a Rollout Plan

Once you have a product or application in mind, the next step is to figure out how you are going to implement it into your current system. During this phase, you should be in contact with the developers of the solution so that you can answer any questions you may have and figure out the best method of rolling it out to your employees.

Things to consider when planning are: cost, training, and deadlines. You should create a timeline of how long it will take to switch over to the new system, looking at potential drawbacks or issues that may happen along the way. This is another reason to talk to the developer as it will allow you to be better prepared for such problems so that you can hopefully avoid them altogether.

Another thing to remember here is that if you are rolling out multiple systems that you should stagger them to allow time for your staff to get used to each change. If you try to do too much at once, it could be overwhelming and cause problems during the transition.

Step Five: Test The System (Pilot Program)

In some cases, this may or may not be a viable option, but we highly recommend going this route if you can because it can prove to be a crucial experience overall. During this phase, you can see how the program and automation work in real time, which will give you a much better idea of how it can all come together when you roll it out for real.

The important thing to remember with this step is that the idea is to see what potential issues may arise from switching to the new system, as well as making sure that it improves your operations in the way that you wanted it to. Now is the time to fiddle with things and make adjustments as needed so that when it goes live you don’t have much in the way of growing pains.

The best thing about running a pilot program is that if the application proves to be either too difficult or costly to be beneficial, you can still go back to square one without having invested too much time or money into it.

Step Six: Switch Over to the New System

Once you feel satisfied with the results of the pilot program, now is the time to make it official. By now, everyone involved in the new process (both workers and supervisors) should have a good idea of what to expect, which will make the transition much more seamless and trouble-free.

During this phase, you should be following the timeline and the plan that you developed in step four (and adjusted in step five). Having this plan also allows you to determine if you are ahead or behind schedule. If things are not going according to plan, then you want to make detailed notes about what is going differently and how you are dealing with it. This way, when it comes time to automate a new process you can be better prepared so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Step Seven: Analyze Your Results and Adjust Accordingly

For most companies, the roll-out phase is the end of the line. Once you’ve fully switched over, that’s all there is to it, right? Well, the fact is that you still want to pay attention to the system and make adjustments after the fact so that you can refine it and make it better. Transitioning to automation is not just a one-time thing, but it’s rather a continuing process that can be customized and tweaked as needed.

The important thing during this phase is to make sure that you are getting the right kind of validation that you expected when you drew up your pain points and plan of action. If things are not as good as you thought, then you need to understand why. After the first six months or so, you should have a much better idea of how things are going, and the analysis of the change can be invaluable for your business. Overall, it’s important to be able to make a comparison so that you can make sure that you’re getting the value that you deserve.

Conclusion

Once you’ve started automating your business processes, you will discover that there is so much more potential than you initially thought. At first, you may believe that only front-facing, customer service operations could be automated, but then you discover a brand-new tool that can make your accounting department run much more smoothly.

In the end, the important thing to remember is that you can always improve your operations, so you should never consider your job to be done. Even after transitioning to a system that makes your old methods look ancient, you should still be on the lookout for something better. As long as there is potential to improve your bottom line, you should always be considering new business process automation solutions.


Are you ready to automate your internal processes? We’re here to help you out! Learn how InField Clipboard can save your time, increase your revenue, and help you grow your business. Request a FREE DEMO today!

The Business Impact of Using Field Worker and Vehicle Management Platforms

If you manage a fleet of vehicles, then you know how hard it can be to maintain all of the records and documentation for each truck. That’s not even mentioning the fact that it’s difficult to ensure that everyone will be on time for each job, as route optimization and troubleshooting can be a major hassle on its own. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could have a single application that could help you manage everything in real time? Well, there is.

With technology advancing so quickly these days, vehicle management platforms are here to help you make the most out of your fleet, as well as improve your bottom line. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available and see what they can do for your business.

What is a Vehicle Management Platform?

Simply put, this is a program that allows you to remotely monitor and manage all of your vehicles with a single, easy-to-use interface. Rather than having to collect data from each car or truck individually and then compile that information afterward, now you can manage it all in real time and record everything from mileage to fuel consumption as well as time and routes taken.

Depending on the software that you use, you can also perform engine diagnostics and do analysis review from the back end, which enables you to pay attention to everything without having to be on site or on the truck at the time. This can potentially save countless hours and make your business run much more efficiently.

Top Vehicle Management Platforms

Top Vehicle Management Platforms

To get a better understanding of how these programs work, let’s make a comparison of some of the top platforms in the industry. We will be looking at three primary companies: Synovia Solutions, TomTom WebFleet, and 86Borders.

Synovia Solutions

If you want a company that stands behind its product and offers guarantees for its performance, then you will love Synovia. Not only do they have a remarkable fleet management system that can help improve your bottom line, but they stand behind their services and guarantee both connectivity and troubleshooting if there are any problems. Simply put, you not only get some incredible software but peace of mind as well.

The primary goal of Synovia is to provide both onboard tools to make your operations more efficient as well as analytics so that you can see what isn’t working and make changes on the back end. Overall, by streamlining the whole management process, it allows you to focus more on improving the quality of your work and growing as a company. Here are some of the features you can expect from this program.

GPS Mapping and Tracking: not only see where your vehicles are at any given time, but create records so that you can compare them after the fact.

Time Management: instead of having your employees write down when they clock in or out, Synovia allows them to do it through the app, saving time and paperwork, as well as improving accuracy.

Engine Diagnostics: as soon as an error code pops up on one of your vehicles you are alerted so that you can take the appropriate action before it becomes a severe issue.

Analysis: compare routes, travel times, and other metrics to see how your fleet is performing against your planning. See where things are lagging so that you know how to correct them.

The analysis portion of Synovia is a proprietary system called Silverlining. Some of the data you can look at with this software includes:

  • Average speed
  • Arrival time
  • Missed stops
  • Excessive idling
  • Railroad crossing compliance
  • And much more

You can imagine that having such a comprehensive breakdown of your fleet will make it much easier to pinpoint where changes can be done so that you can drastically improve your bottom line. Before, you had to rely on your drivers providing this kind of detailed analysis, but now you can access it immediately and remotely.

TomTom WebFleet

You may already be familiar with TomTom as a GPS system for your car, but the company now provides some exceptional fleet management systems that can help you upgrade your current business model. Overall, you can get more out of this application than you could with most other platforms. Here are some highlights that you can expect from WebFleet.

Driver Communication: TomTom provides mobile devices that you can install quickly into any car or truck in your fleet. These devices let drivers and the office communicate much more efficiently, including notifications about delays, new stops, and any other details that may change en route.

Third-Party Integration: if you currently have some kind of work management system in place, then you can integrate it into WebFleet so that you have total immersion between platforms. This will make it much easier to transfer data between programs and ensure that your back end is much more efficient.

Driver Analysis: this system monitors all kinds of metrics for your fleet, including speed, compliance, and stops. Thus, if you notice that your drivers are not meeting your expectations then WebFleet will notify you of any issues as well as potential solutions to correct them.

Tachograph and Time Remaining: analyze your time and speed on the road in real time and get an accurate estimate of arrival. This will help ensure that you get better readings for your customers which will improve your bottom line. Every second counts.

In addition to all of this, TomTom WebFleet also has the standard management processes, such as comprehensive data analysis, GPS tracking, and diagnostics. As you can see, this one of the more complete vehicle management platforms, and it can provide you with a wealth of data to improve your services.

86Borders

If you don’t want to invest a lot of money into infrastructure for your fleet (i.e., mobile devices and GPS trackers), then you may prefer to have something like 86Borders instead. This platform can be installed on any mobile device, which means that generic smartphones or tablets are a viable option for your business.

Overall, this management system is a bit more generic than the others, meaning that it is designed just to make logistics easier, but it’s not specific to fleet management. So, things like vehicle diagnostics and fuel efficiency will not be a part of the system. Overall, 86Borders is there to make it easier to communicate between remote workers and connect to each other through its remarkable widget platform.

Some of the features that can be utilized for fleet management in particular are route optimization and last mile mapping. These can either be used on the back or the front end so that you can also improve customer service by allowing clients to see where your vehicle is at any given time. These days, having that kind of accountability is valuable for consumers, which can help improve your bottom line.

Other features include document uploading and management, as well as customer signatures and feedback. Overall, 86Borders works well as both a back end and front end platform, so feel free to use it however you see fit.

What is a Field Worker Management Platform?

Field service management (FSM) refers to the management of a company’s resources employed at or en route to the property of clients, rather than on company property. Examples include locating vehicles, managing worker activity, scheduling and dispatching work, ensuring driver safety, and integrating the management of such activities with inventory, billing, accounting and other back-office systems. FSM most commonly refers to companies who need to manage installation, service or repairs of systems or equipment, and/or have a level of complexity with their logistics work process.

What inField Clipboard Can Do

Our customers have realized the following results by using inField Clipboard:

  • Integrating with world class hardware-based GPS solutions providers (e.g. TomTom, Synovia, etc.) means we are able to provide a dashboard of where the vehicles are located, and automatically overlay where customers and/or suppliers are located all on one map.
  • Integrating with mobile device based GPS solutions providers (e.g. 86Borders, Fleet Rover) means we are able to provide a dashboard of where the field workers are located, and automatically overlay where customers and/or suppliers are located all on one map.
  • Integrating with any GPS service provider means we are able to send notifications to customer, other field workers, and to administrators about location, and availability of the field workers, as well as automate the creation of timesheets using Geofencing. This also enables automating reporting against KPIs like travel time, performance at the job site (time to do work), etc.

 

Benefits of Using Vehicle Management Platforms

Benefits of Using Vehicle Management Platforms

Now that we’ve seen what you can expect from different software programs, how can it improve your business? Here are the top reasons that vehicle management is going to work for you.

Eliminate Lag Times

Whether it’s waiting for the driver to deliver his load or waiting for signed documents to get back to the office, having a vehicle management platform eliminates all of that waiting by providing a real-time solution. Now you can upload and send documents remotely and communicate with drivers instantly, especially when details such as, appointment time, scope of work, etc. change. This means that you can start processing orders as soon as they are completed, which can help improve office operations and help you get paid faster.

Sharper Metrics

Currently, do you know what problems are holding your company back? Is it errors in completed forms, consumed materials not being recorded, fuel efficiency, load times, or driver error? You may have some estimates of what happens out on the road, but without a comprehensive field worker and vehicle management platform, it’s impossible for those estimates to be precise. As soon as you implement this software, however, you will get a much clearer and more detailed picture of your operations, which can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. Until you can pinpoint a problem, how can you expect to find a solution?

Reduced Labor

Since the platform handles most of the detail work for you, it means that you don’t have to work as hard to get the same level of performance from your fleet. Now, a single supervisor or manager can handle multiple drivers at once, eliminating the need for extra staff in the office. Also, with reduced lag times you can get more orders done in the same amount of time, which will enable you to grow and thrive as a business.

Improved Customer Service

Now that you can see all of your metrics in real time and make changes on the fly, you can pass that knowledge to your clients. You can provide a more accurate estimate on delivery times, as well as allow for instant customer feedback through the platform. You can work quickly to process their orders, meaning that you can provide more value to your services. Overall, having the right vehicle management platform enables you to focus more on enriching the front end experience, making your brand more valuable in the eyes of your clientele.


Bottom Line

If you want to make the most out of your fleet, then you need to have an integrated field worker and vehicle management platform working for you. Until then, you will always be held back by limitations and uncontrollable variables.

How 70% Of Fortune 100 Companies Are Innovating Through IoT Products [INFOGRAPHIC]

The IoT is more than just machines talking to each other. Consumers rely on it to make their lives more convenient. Industry leaders use the Internet of Things to sell products, automate workflows, and engage with consumers. As time goes on and the technology develops, you’ll see that the IoT is the reason for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0)

Who is investing in IoT? Where are they spending their money? What impact does the Internet of Things have on the global economy? What will be the future economic impact of the IoT?

Check out these interesting facts and stats on the Internet of Things. Learn about the current state and how it will continue to evolve.

70% of Fortune 100 Companies Use the IoT

Although the Internet of Things is popular in consumer application, most IoT developments are being made for major companies. In a report by AppDirect, an IoT company specializing in cloud data management software, seven out of ten Fortune 100 Companies offer IoT products, services, or initiatives.

Here’s a couple of those companies and what they’re up to with the IoT:

General Electric (GE) founded GE Digital in 2015 with the goal of using IoT to predict maintenance needs. They created Predix, a software that takes data generated by machines and combines it with traditional data. All of this information migrates to the Cloud for analysis. GE has IoT products for the hospitality industry, the airline industry, and utility companies.

Rolls Royce uses intelligent sensors on their Civil Aerospace jet engines, combat jets, and other vehicles of flight. The sensors use Azure Stream Analytics and Power Bi to gather and interpret data from engines during flight. This data can integrate with traffic control operations, enable smoother flight patterns, or even lead to longer, safer operations for the aircraft itself.

Cisco has a diverse foothold in the IoT market. Their digital infrastructure provides services that connect and automate factories. Cisco Smart Grid technologies are used for utility services (mass transit, aviation) and energy control (oil, gas.) Their infrastructure also monitors and aggregates data related to energy usage and distribution, application management, wireless networks, and IoT integrated cyber security.

AT&T aims to become the leader in the IoT networking. They have corporate partnerships with many other companies using the IoT. Some of these partnerships include GE, Cisco, and Intel. Their goal is to be the “go-to” network that major IoT companies use to connect all of their devices. AT&T has diversified their investments in different spaces of the IoT, including fleet and energy management and smart cars.

Google bought Nest in January 2014 for over $3 billion. Nest sells “smart” fire detectors that “learn” their environment through energy patterns. While smart home technology is one of the most popular IoT consumer applications, Nest was one of the first companies to market. Google also offers the Google Cloud Platform. It allows businesses and users to manage their data from anywhere.

What Areas of IoT are Companies Investing In?

Intel filed a report about where and how major industries are exploring the Internet of Things. Here area some of the areas where the big players in the IoT game are spending their money:

40.2% invest in Business and Manufacturing processes. This includes supply chains, robotic machinery and other industrial equipment. And real time analysis of the data collected from these operations improves their workflows, machine safety and bottom line.

30.3% invest in IoT Healthcare technologies. This could include anything from portable medical equipment, data management, and safeguards for the distribution, sale, and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.

8.3% invest in Retail applications. Consumers can use smartphone apps to purchase products and the company can track and analyze their purchasing data. IoT is also instrumental in efficient inventory management.

7.7% invest in IoT Security innovations. Companies with highly sensitive materials can utilize biometric locks or facial recognition technology. Smart locks with remote sensors and linked security systems offer a higher level of security than traditional alarm systems.

A survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Messaging Application Programming Interface asked 57 manufacturers and business suppliers “Which IoT-driven business models is your company currently deploying?”

47% of respondents offer IoT services bundled in with their products. This could be a product designed to interact with the Internet of things or an IoT enabled means of gathering customer data.

30% of companies surveyed offer an IoT related product as service. Examples of this include remote data monitoring, the analysing of this data, and the selling of the data.

4% of respondents offer a fully-integrated IoT service. This could be an entire software platform that provides IoT solutions to other companies (such as Cisco and AT&T.) These custom created IoT platforms can provide their users with unlimited sources of data.

19% of the companies surveyed report “Other” business models. Those models reported include:

– Offering a free IoT feature to their users

– Adding functionality to an existing product via IoT technology integration

– Selling maintenance, monitoring, or performance contracts on IoT technologies and equipment

– Using the IoT in Product Development phases

The Current Economy of the Internet of Things

The amount of IoT technologies being deployed is constantly accelerating. PwC and MAPI report that 38% of manufacturers offer IoT products and/or services. 48% of those businesses surveyed are in the process of developing IoT products and/or services.

A Market Excerpt selected by PTC reports manufacturing to be the biggest industry utilizing IoT softwares. They expect this segment of industry to reach $438 million by 2021.

47% of manufacturers to currently offer IoT products and services sell customer-managed IoT solutions. This could be technology for gathering and analyzing data, bundled IoT products and services, or custom developed software.

90% of manufacturers surveyed by PwC and MAPI plan to use or are currently using the Internet of Things to improve business operations. When asked “how much has your company transformed… to take advantage of digital/IoT enhancements” here’s how respondents answered:

– 56% of respondents said they are exploring how IoT technologies can adapt into their current business and enhance operations (boost manufacturing efficiency, cut production costs, etc)

– 23% of those surveyed are currently adopting the IoT into their business

– Only 14% of respondents are not exploring IoT technology as it relates to business operations. 8% of those surveyed claim to be “industry leaders” in adopting IoT technologies.

When PwC and MAPI asked these manufacturers to relay the reasons why they decided to “invest in IoT-enabled products and services” here’s how they replied:

Pressure from competitors 61%

The potential for new revenue streams / ROI 61%

Demand from Customers 49%

Pressures created by commoditization 42%

The expansion of their market 42%

To disrupt and/or because of disruptive competition 32%

Other Reasons 7%

Other reasons reported include the desire to lead the IoT revolution, optimize their services, and to save on future costs. Please note that for this question respondents were instructed to select all answers that applied to their business.

The Economic Impact of IoT in The Future

The world of IoT is constantly growing. In 2006, there were only 2 billion objects connected to the Internet of Things. Gartner projects that by 2020, that number will grow to over 200 billion.

To put it another way, for every human being on the planet there will be about 26 objects wired to the IoT. Cisco estimates that, on average, each person will own 3.4 devices that are connected to the IoT.

Currently, Manufacturers don’t generate much revenue from the IoT. When asked to estimate the percentage of IoT related revenue from their last fiscal year, 52% of respondents had zero reportable revenue. Only 41% of respondents could report 0-5% of revenue from IoT related products and services.

But manufacturer’s think that’s going to change. Here’s how they anticipate IoT related revenues will increase over the next 5 years:

– 13% of respondents still anticipate 0% of revenue.

– 28% of respondents predict to generate some new revenue around 0-5%

– 23% of respondents anticipate 10-20% of new revenue to be generated.

Here’s some more statistics that investigate the future economic impact of the Internet of Things:

Cicso believes Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections and communications are set to boom. These connections are projected to exceed 12 billion by the year 2020. This will represent 46% of all of the devices connected to the Internet across the world.

Gartner believes that by 2017, there will be 8.4 billion devices connected to the IoT. If correct, this will be a 31% increase from 2016. By 2017, the total spending involved with these devices (endpoints, services, etc) will be almost $2 trillion. Gartner also forecasts that $547 million will be spent on IoT securities in 2018.

By 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that IoT global spending will have a compound annual growth rate of 15.6%. They estimate the market size to be $1.29 trillion by 2020.

Top 8 Benefits of Using Digital Work Orders

In today’s modern world, new technology is making our lives infinitely easier. Things that used to be complicated can now be done with a push of a button, which means that we can work smarter and be more profitable than ever before.

However, even with all of this high tech wizardry, many companies are still doing things the old fashioned way. Take work orders for example; most of the time these are physical documents that pass from business to client and back again, all without any kind of automation involved.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a host of problems, not the least of which is that orders can get lost, damaged, or misfiled, resulting in a delay in operations that could cost you a ton of money. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could digitize the whole process? Well, now you can with digital work orders.

What is a Digital Work Order?

Simply put, this is when you take all of the information on your regular work order sheet and digitize it. There are several new apps, such as InField Clipboard, that allow you to build your order from scratch and customize it to fit the needs of your business. This way, you can enter all of your information digitally, rather than scan a document after the fact.

Top 8 Benefits of Using Digital Work Orders

As you are about to see, there are some profound reasons to utilize software that can create digital work orders. Whether you are a startup company or you’ve been in the business for a while, you can benefit immensely from them. Once you’ve seen the difference they can make, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

#1 Customize Your Forms

Not every company is the same, meaning that you need to make sure that your work orders are best for your operations. With programs like InField Clipboard, you can create a form just the way you like it, with as much or as little information as you need from your clients. You can even format it to be the same as your current work orders so that there is a smoother transition from paper to digital.

What makes this process even more desirable is that it doesn’t take much time or effort to make changes to your forms. There’s no programming involved, no complicated steps. All you have to do is put in what you want and take out what you don’t. Best of all, you can create different forms for each of your clients if necessary, all without having to print a single drop of ink.

#2 No WiFi, No Problem

One of the issues that most companies worry about when digitizing their mobile software is that being out in the field is usually hit or miss. If you don’t have a good data plan or access to a wireless network, you can wind up in a worse position than if you stuck with old-fashioned paper.

Fortunately, most apps that offer digital work orders don’t have this issue. You can fill out your forms and store them to your device immediately, with or without a connection. Then, once you are in the range of wifi, you can upload everything so that it shows up on the back end. Never miss a beat because of spotty reception.

#3 Clear and Legible Writing, Every Time

Do you have a client that scribbles everything that they write? Do your employees suffer from poor penmanship? It may not seem like a big deal, but not being able to read notes can be dangerous and lead to unforeseen setbacks, which can hurt your bottom line. However, since your work orders are digitized, you never have to worry about this problem ever again.

In fact, some programs enable you to still write with a stylus, but the software will automatically make it more legible (except for signatures). This way, you don’t even have to be adept at typing on a tablet either. This will make it easier to process your orders, and no information will be left behind.

#4 Navigation Built In

You probably already use GPS software to find your clients already, but what if you could tie it into your work order app as well? With digital work order apps like InField Clipboard, you can seamlessly connect your directions with the order so that your workers just press the address and they get a route in seconds. With functionality like that, it shows how digital work orders can make your operations run much more efficiently.

#5 Connect to Your Back End Seamlessly

The most poignant aspect of using digital work orders is that all of your forms are automatically integrated into your company’s system. This way, you can make things so much easier for every person on your team, whether it’s sales or management.

  • You can email your digital forms to the client and get them back much quicker than before.
  • Your employees can access the work orders that are assigned to them so that there is never an issue of missing paperwork or forgetting to bring the right form.
  • If one of your teams is falling behind, reassign the work order to someone else immediately. All of the pertinent information will transfer over, meaning you don’t have to transcribe anything over the phone.
  • Create digital forms for your internal needs and process them as necessary. This can make your accounting system much more efficient.
  • Send data to an external system for storage purposes or for your home base to access it on a computer, rather than a tablet.
  • Set rules for your workflow so that you can automate as many processes as you like. Whether it’s sending a thank you email to clients, uploading signed orders to management, or some other part of your workflow, you can program it to meet your needs.

#6 Print Forms Whenever You Like

Perhaps you prefer to have a physical copy of completed work orders on file, just in case. You can connect your tablet or mobile device to your printer and create a hard copy of any of the forms you create, all with the push of a button. This way, you can still get the best of both worlds. Thankfully, though, it’s much easier to go from digital to physical than the other way around. Never worry again about transcribing, scanning, or manually entering data into the computer again.

#7 Analyze Your Data

One of the most time-consuming processes for your business is taking your work orders and creating a comprehensive report based on the numbers. Chances are that this is one of the biggest sources for delays on the back end, which is counterintuitive because these reports are crucial to your overall success.

With digital work orders, you no longer have to enter this information manually, nor do you have to create a record from scratch. Most apps that generate them will have analysis software built in that handle this process for you, making it faster and more accurate.

Best of all, you can also automate these reports so that they get sent to you or anyone else on your management team as soon as they are generated. This way, even if you are not on site you can still get a comprehensive view of your business and make sure that everything is running smoothly.

#8 Improve Your Bottom Line

When you digitize your work orders, coupled with all of the other efficiency benefits you get from using an all-in-one program, you can vastly improve your operations to the point where you can solicit more clients and sales.

  • If you have to make changes out in the field, then a digital work order allows you to integrate those adjustments on both the front and back end.
  • You can process work orders and send invoices instantly, rather than waiting for employees to turn them in to the office.
  • Estimates can be done remotely, allowing you to do more of them in a single day, all without losing any productivity. When an assessment is drafted, it will be available digitally to get approval from the client, allowing you to shave hours off of your current operations.

Conclusion

Overall, there is no reason not to start using digital work orders. Not only will they help you save time that you can reinvest back into your business, but it will remove a lot of the steps that you take to keep things organized and efficient.

This means that no matter what stage your company is at, you don’t need to maintain a full-time staff to manage your paperwork. You can put more of your time and energy into customer service and providing great value to your clients, all while having the peace of mind that everything on the back end is being handled properly.

What’s even better is that you can utilize this software in conjunction with other apps, like Google Maps, which allows you manage your field resources at every step of the way, from inquiry to invoice.

You owe it to yourself to see how digital work orders can benefit your business. Whether you just need to save money on printing costs or you want a better way to analyze your operational data to make changes and speed up your process, digital work orders make everything easier for you.

There are tons of different digital work order apps available, including InField Clipboard. Find the one that fits best with your company and see what you’ve been missing.

InField Clipboard: Business Automation from Inquiry to Invoice

When trying to make your business more efficient and profitable, what is one thing that is holding you back? Chances are that a big issue is the use of physical materials to handle the various operations of your business. Work orders, invoices, and even notes to employees can get lost or forgotten, which means that you can encounter obstacles and delays on a regular basis.

On top of that, having to run paperwork back and forth from the job site can be time-consuming and prevent you from efficiently executing your work. Everything from approvals to estimates to invoices can be delayed when paperwork has to be filed and maintained manually.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to do things. With InField Clipboard, you can have work order management with a fully customizable app. However, work orders are just one of many different things that InField Clipboard can do for your business. Let’s see how the whole process works.

Overview of InField Clipboard

What makes this program so valuable to your company is that it includes everything you need, from inquiry to invoice. This way, all of your data and operations are handled by one system, rather than trying to piece it all together manually. Here is how InField Clipboard works in a nutshell.

Inquiries and Estimates

Most likely you have several different ways for clients to get a hold of you, whether it’s through email, direct contact via your website, or even a phone call. No matter how your customer contacts you, all inquiries are entered into InField Clipboard. This also means that you can create a client profile as soon as the inquiry comes in, which will make your job that much easier.

Instead of having to manage physical folders, all you have to do is click on the client’s name, and you will have all of the pertinent details. Best of all, the client will also have access to the program for approval of estimates and invoices, making everything more streamlined.

Once the inquiry is put into InField Clipboard, then it will go to an estimator as usual. Because this software is mobile-ready, the estimator can take it along on their site visit so that once they create an estimate, it will already be entered into the program. This also means that you can have estimators do multiple site visits without losing any productivity because your office staff will be able to start the approval and work order management process immediately.

The great thing about generating estimates in InField Clipboard is that you can customize it to fit your needs. This way, nothing is out of place, and you can be up front with your clients concerning the scope of the job and the total cost. Also, the system automatically generates a professional proposal for you to send to the customer.

Work Order Management

Once the project is approved, then you can generate work orders on demand. Again, this is all customizable in the app, meaning that you can create different templates based on certain job types and clients.

The other great thing about InField’s work order automation is that you can include everything necessary, including pictures and other documentation related to the job. All of it can be accessed through the app, which saves you time and money since you don’t have to make copies of anything.

Business Automation

Once on the job, each field worker can access the work order through the app, so no information is missing and everyone is on top of things at all times. Best of all, you can add a route to the client inside the app, and it will generate an automated message once your workers are 15 minutes away. They don’t have to pick up the phone or press any buttons; it happens automatically.

On site, your staff can then adjust the work order as needed, including changing the scope of the job, adding more materials, or even just taking photos of the finished project. Best of all, because everything is connected through the app, he can even collect a signature on site, which uploads to the system immediately.

Another part of business automation is that workers can generate purchase orders on the fly as well, making things even more streamlined. Instead of having to contact the office and get a new order printed, it will all be taken care of through InField Clipboard.

Finally, if any changes need to be made to the work order, all requests will be sent to the office through the app, making it easier for you to approve and update everything in real time. This will save you plenty of headaches as you can see everything through the back end and get a clear picture of what needs to be adjusted.

Invoicing/Auditing

The next step in work order management is to submit a completed order to both the client and the office. This happens immediately upon completion of the job, meaning that you don’t have to wait for your workers to get back to the office to start approval and invoicing. This also means that you can have workers out in the field for longer since they can handle work order management remotely.

InField Clipboard helps with business automation by generating an invoice as soon as a work order is approved by management. This makes accountant’s job easier and allows you to send the invoice for billing that much faster.

As we mentioned earlier, the client will also be able to access their account through the customer portal. The account will also be protected by a username and password to ensure the security of their personal information.

InField Clipboard can also generate an invoice within the clients accounting software of choice, such as Quickbooks and Simply Accounting.

Clients can view invoices as well as work order details so that if they have any questions, all of the data is within their reach. This also makes it better for them as they now have a record of all transactions so that their invoices are audit-ready at all times.

Top Benefits of Using InField Clipboard

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to use InField Clipboard. It will revolutionize the way that you handle your business, and it will enable you to grow and succeed even faster as a company.

Reduce Errors

Never again will information be missing from a work order, estimate, or invoice. One of the biggest reason that problems happen is that people make mistakes when transcribing or filling out forms, but that is not an issue with InField Clipboard.

Also, you don’t have to worry about sloppy handwriting being a problem anymore either. Since everything is filled out through the app, all materials are legible and easy to read.

Reduce Costs

First of all, you can save a bundle on printing now that you no longer need to make copies of all of your paperwork. Even if you insist on having a hard copy for your archives, it will be much better to print out a single form than making multiple copies for the office and the remote workers.

Second of all, the time spent working on each job will be significantly reduced. You no longer need to transcribe details onto the computer, nor do you have to spend time creating new work orders and invoices. Overall, InField Clipboard can cut down up to eight hours per worker per month, and save you up to 20% on payroll.

More Jobs, More Money

Since your operations will become so efficient, you can take on more clients without running into costly delays or errors. As we mentioned, estimators can do more on-site visits because their paperwork comes to the office through the app, workers can do multiple jobs because they can get signatures and finish work orders on the fly, and your office staff can manage invoices faster and make sure that you get paid sooner.

Experience Rapid Growth

If you are starting a new business, then InField Clipboard is your ticket to success. Because it offers complete business automation, you don’t need to have a full-time staff to manage all of your paperwork, meaning that you can focus more of your attention on building client relationships and making sure that you provide exceptional customer service.

Also, because the system creates profiles for each client, it’s much easier to perform routine work for them on a regular basis, allowing you to build long-lasting relationships that will help you thrive.

Easier Auditing

Bookkeeping is one of the most crucial aspects of your business, and InField Clipboard makes it easier than ever to manage all of your accounts and payments. Because there is no chance of missing paperwork or invoices going out late, you can keep your finances on track with minimal supervision from your accounting staff.

Bottom Line

No matter what kind of company you run, you can benefit greatly from InField Clipboard. It has all of the tools you need to streamline your operations and enhance your bottom line. Unlike other applications that change the way you do business, this system builds on your current foundation so that you can reach higher than ever before. Simply put, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.