How to save money and time with electrician service software?

How to save money and time with electrician service software?

What are electrician service software?

There is no one single accepted definition for what an electrician service software is. No, don't leave! It's not because the category is not in use that you should not be looking for one. On the contrary, while the word, electrician service software, can be understood as merely meaning software to organize your services as an electrician, the reality is broader. 

Since no clear categories exist for electrician service software, you can expect different tools featuring different features. You may want to go crazy. And doing so, you end up with a complex software infrastructure nobody will be using. But there is a way out of this mayhem.

Through this blog post, I will walk you through 7 steps to help you select the perfect service software for your electrician business. If you implement the steps I describe, you will have electrician service software in place to help you save time and money. And only in necessary places. No need to add service software in smooth processes!

What can you expect from service software for electricians?

Although not a clearly defined category, electrician service software offer features alongside four categories :

  • Dispatching & scheduling
  • Field documenting
  • Analyzing
  • Exporting reports

Ok. Let's detail those 4 categories. A service software featuring tools for dispatching and scheduling enables you to organize your field technicians and their interventions. Typically, you can anticipate tools like a calendar to organize your interventions, notifications of incoming interventions, or a form to start a new intervention. 

With field documenting, you can assume tools to help you record your field activities, used materials, report equipment usage, share pictures, videos, or audios, as well as fill field reports. Based on my experience, that's where most organizations save a lot of time and money. 

Electrician on the phone

With analyzing, you can foresee tools to help you inspect every intervention documented by your field technicians. How this information is presented to you differs a lot from one electrician service software to another. However, most of them offer map interfaces for a quick overview of ongoing and past interventions and then additional views for a detailed analysis.

Finally, with exporting, you can await types of exporting. The first type is manual exporting. Manual exporting is a way for you to export your data in shareable reports. Usually, you can customize those exports to your need. With manual exports, you can create invoices, reports for stakeholders, etc. The second possibility is automatic exports. Automatic exports are interfaces between two software products you own. When you start scaling your digital infrastructure up, it will prove handy.

Ok. Now that the topic of electrician service software is introduced. Let's dive into the details.

1. Analyze your activities

This one might be obvious. But I'd rather say it once more. Before going around shopping for solutions, getting a demo from the sales team, or researching the best electrician service software for you, start by looking in the mirror. It might look tedious to do this, I know. Even if you do it quickly, it's worth taking a few minutes to think about that. Why? Because, if you directly dive into selecting the software for electricians, you are bound to select something that's not suitable. Or worse, you will select the perfect service software, and end up not using it. Which will cost you more time and more money. So let's avoid this and take some time to analyze your operations.

You may expand this analysis to full business analysis of your company. However, to select the best electrician service software, we need to dive into your operations. What we want to answer is what your processes are, and how the flow of information moves in your company.

Analyzing your organization

So, where do we start? Sadly, there is no magic formula to analyze your electrician business. But a good way to start is by asking yourself three questions :

  1. How do I dispatch orders to my team?
  2. How is my team reporting what happens on the field?
  3. How do I create invoices?

By answering those three questions, you should already have a good overall idea of how your activities are organized. What I would also suggest is to map the flow of the information. From the moment the work order to the moment you send the invoice. For each step, you should answer the following :

  • Who is responsible for the step?
  • What information is recorded?
  • To whom is the information sent?
  • How is the information sent?

Thanks to this map, you should have a clear understanding of the flow of information in your organization. 

2. Outline problems and improvement opportunities

With a better understanding of your organization, you can identify problems and improvement opportunities. To do this, take a look at the answers you provided on the previous point. Thanks to this analysis, you can identify all the places where the flow of information is bad. If you are uncertain about potential problems, go ask your team. 

To guide you in this approach, let me mention you some very common problems or improvement opportunities. Chances are, yours are similar :

  • Filling field reports takes valuable time; time that would be better put working on the field.
  • Field reports are incomplete or are of inconsistent quality.
  • Information about what was carried out on the field is not always centralized and transmitted.
  • Invoices are incomplete, or not all invoices are sent.
  • Sharing field reports are complex, and sometimes some field reports are lost.

Those are common problems! I saw them on several different organizations. Although your problems might be different, it's most likely you share some of those common problems. What's great is that all of those points are easy to fix with electrician field software. And if you experience any of those common problems, you will benefit greatly from service software. 

With your specific problems and opportunities identified, you are now ready for the last step before diving into service software for electricians. 

3. Define your needs

Now that you have a clear overview of how your organization works, you can outline your needs. Base your list of needs, on the problems and opportunities you identified previously. The goal here is to transform as needs, all your problems and opportunities. The goal is for you to find the perfect electrician service software answering your specific needs and not go with a random software that will help you gain neither time nor money. 

Start by transforming your problems and opportunities in needs. For example, the common problem "Invoices are incomplete and not all invoices are sent." transformed in needs would be something like : "Export single intervention in one shareable document" and "Customizable export templating". I find it better to separate every need. Although, not mandatory, this helps me organize my needs and match them against potential electrician service software.

Should you have a very long list of needs, I would strongly suggest ranking them. Rank in order of impact of the problem they solve. The bigger the problem, the greater the need! Ranking your needs enables you to prioritize acting where you really can have a major impact. 

If you have a lot of needs, chances are you will not find one solution to answer all of your needs. In that case, I would suggest starting with the highest-ranking needs and find a solution for those. For the other needs, you can find a second solution. Just keep in mind that both solutions must feature ways to create automatic interfaces (for example with an API). Do not hesitate to ask their sales team to be certain about this.

4. Search for the best fit

Ok. Now we are ready to dive! Take all answers to the previous questions, and let's go looking for the best electrician service software for you. Because electrician service software is not a perfectly defined category, your search might become difficult. A good place to start is with Field Service Management Software. This is a category of software that offers tools to dispatch, record and export all field services. You can find browse through that software on Capterra.

There are two approaches for Field Service Management Software, specialized for an industry or canvas software. With software specific to an industry, you will usually get features and presets tailored to the needs of one industry. So, if you find one tailored for electricians it might just fit your needs. This can be fine for several needs but it tends to collide with long-term goals. So if you ask me, I would go for canvas software. With canvas software, you are given tools and features for you to tailor the solution to your needs. Why is it better? Because that way you don't have to adapt your internal processes to strict processes defined by some software company. On the contrary, you can mostly translate your manual processes to digital processes without sacrificing the possibility to adapt them. This leaves you with an electrician service software best suited for your needs!

What I also strongly suggest is going for software with a free version or a trial version. What's the difference you ask? A trial version gives you limited access in time to a certain paid subscription while a free version is unlimited in time but may be limited in features. Software with a free version or a free trial will allow you to test the solution and see if it fits your needs. All that away from sales pitches. When I want to buy new software, I always find it the best way to start.

Whether you have a lot of needs or limited needs, I would suggest selecting an electrician service software offering you room to grow. It's important because, with experience, you may find need optimizations. So having room to grow is always good. To have a margin of expansion, there are two major ways. First, you can select software with more features than you currently need. Be careful that those extra features are not overwhelming when first starting.  Secondly, look for software that can be interfaced with third-party tools. Usually, this is done through an API (Application Programming Interface). If the software you are using has one, you will be able to interface it later.

5. Plan before you act

With your new electrician service software ready, we can now start with the implementation. For this, I have 3 last tips for you. They might look obvious, but way too many businesses overlook them. I think, that a little planning before doing is better in the long run. Especially, because of the resistance, you may face within your team.

Plan the implementation of your electrician service software

Take back the analysis of your business and the problems you identified. The key now is to identify how to translate your manual processes into digital processes. Start by knowing your lectrician service software from the bottom up. Your supplier should have documentation to help you start. Good thing is, if you chose bMoves, you can check our Learning Center

To translate your processes from manual to digital, start by writing down next to each position in your process how you will solve it within your new electrician service software. For each of those positions, plan which features from your software you will use. Chances are most of this will be very simple.

Here are a few examples with bMoves :

  • Use a custom form within an activity to get the client name and used material
  • Keep bVision open on a screen displaying all ongoing interventions
  • Use an exclusive activity to record all travel time

6. Start small & grow

If you only have to remember one thing from all these blog post, it's this. Start small and grow. Don't try to do everything with your electrician service software from the get-go. It's possible but it will complicate things a lot. If you start my digitizing only a few problems and then grow from there, you will build a coherent digital infrastructure. 

Starting small and grow does not mean, having no plan. Quite the contrary, keep the plan you designed previously. In it, look for what is the minimum of the process you have to digitize to be coherent. For example, you may want to start with :

  1. Have field technicians record their travel time and work time
  2. Fill in a field report after the work is done
  3. Analyze ongoing interventions on your screen

Of course, that's only an example and depending on your needs, it may change. With such a basis, you have all the elements you need to start, while still having room to add more information or do more things.

7. Educate your team

All your work and best intentions are useless if your team is not on board with using and getting the most of your electrician service software. If you took the advice I gave you and asked about their problems,  your team should already be partially on board. By solving their problems and yours, you already build interest for them to use your electrician service software.

Educate your team about your electrician service software

 Aside from the usual resistance to change, the most common critic is "I don't want to be tracked in everything I do." Which is fair. No one wants to have all his life tracked. To answer this question, make sure you understand how the software you chose is working. 

  • When are the software recording activities?
  • How is the recording working?
  • How are the data sent?
  • Can field technicians change the settings?

For example, at bMoves, we answered those questions by letting the control to the field technician. The recording of position, activities, etc. starts whenever the technician decides and stops at his command. Moreover, bMoves offers settings enabling each field technician to turn off the GPS and disable the live data transmission. By placing the field technician in command, we built software for electricians on the field and in the office.