Processes and systems that once served a business well often become barriers to improvement and growth. For decades, paper, whiteboards, spreadsheets and point solutions have been the primary tools for many Equipment Rental, Sales, and Service businesses to track assets, manage scheduling and work orders, monitor inventory and compile project costs for invoice creation. Yet, in today’s competitive and technology-focused environment, having greater visibility and control over all aspects of the business can mean the difference between profitable growth and struggling stagnation.
While technology can be an enabling tool, it is not, itself, transformative. It must be implemented with a view of the future needs of the business. Preparing for shifts toward innovative services such as outcome-based billing, personalized service options, customer self-service, and predictive maintenance will serve as a ‘North Star’ when evaluating technology solutions.
- Focus on the end-to-end process – When considering a move from manual processes to digital, it is tempting to focus on individual workflows that are particularly labor intensive and time consuming such as tracking asset location and status, field service work orders, or inventory management. However, taking a piecemeal approach limits the benefits of digital transformation and creates digital and process silos that rely on human intervention as the connective tissue between systems.
- Create a single source of truth – Traditionally, software providers have created separate solutions for asset management and field services as well as for different classes of work. Asset management, work management and mobile work execution are all interconnected and contribute to service efficiency, cost management, and profitability. Digitization across traditional silos enabled by a unified platform creates a single source of truth, delivering visibility and control over your business from end-to-end.
- Increase employee value – With interdependencies across every process, flawless coordination and execution are difficult to achieve and maintain when relying on spreadsheets, paper, and siloed systems. Consider the manual and tedious tasks employees undertake to keep all those manual processes running. Namely, the continuous follow up to determine asset and project status and the constant updates to spreadsheets and other systems. Automation allows these employees, who know your business best, to engage in higher value work.
- Inform and empower employees, sub-contractors, and customers – Holding employees and sub-contractors accountable for outcomes can be challenging when the processes and systems they rely on are fraught with holes and friction. Digital transformation brings transparency to processes, data, resource location and status, as well as employee and subcontractor performance. It also ensures your employees, both back office and field teams, have the data they need, when they need it, such as
- Tracking asset and field team locations real-time on a digital map.
- Delivering work orders to the field via mobile device along with customer, account, premise and asset details, work order instructions, steps, and manuals.
- Digitally capturing field data along with pictures and notes to substantially reduce job times and eliminate the burden of manually creating work order summaries for invoicing.
- Communicating service status and activity to customers with real-time alerts and notifications.
- Accessing up-to-the-minute information for quick decision making and collaboration across disparate branches
The complexity of equipment rental, sales, and service businesses is an ideal use-case for technology to streamline and automate processes. Understanding the people, process and system interdependencies required for service delivery and profitability is central to digital transformation. Armed with that knowledge, businesses can leverage the right technology to harness the full power of their data, assets and employees.