Like so many other industries, the building and construction sector was hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Sites closed, work stopped and contracts were put on hold. The industry impacts, as reported by the ONS, showed that month-on-month construction output fell by 40.1% in April 2020 which was driven by a 41.2% decrease in new work and 38.1% decrease in repairs and maintenance. These were the largest monthly falls on record since the monthly records began in January 2010.
Fast-forward to April 2021 and the ONS report that construction output now stands slightly above its pre-pandemic (February 2020) level with those surveyed suggesting new work is increasing, delayed projects are returning to sites and there is a general increase in demand across the industry.
So as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, confidence returns and the building and construction market continues to pick up, how can Building and Property Contractors ensure they stand out from the crowd in the war to win new work?
How to stand out from the crowd
While the job in hand is the same no matter which building contractor wins the contract, what makes the difference between winning or losing, is the price in which you can deliver that job and the service that is received whilst the work is completed.
With service and efficiency being key drivers in the contract selection decision, effective job management is a vital component to delivering in these areas. By incorporating a good field service management system into your business, you are far more likely to be able to deliver a responsive, customer-centric service with highly efficient processes.
With a good job management system behind your business, you will be able to increase your competitive advantage through the following five key areas:
To provide a cost effective service you need to maximise the productivity of your operatives working days. To achieve this, there are many considerations such as assigning an operative with the right skills and minimising drive time between different sites and appointments.
By implementing contractor management software you can automate the job scheduling process. Using preset criteria, the software will ensure the operative with the most appropriate skills attends each job, helping to reduce the need for repeat visits. The software will also optimise individual work schedules to ensure each operative works to the most efficient schedule every day. Furthermore, because everyone’s schedule is held centrally, should jobs need to be postponed or moved due to cancellations or sickness, they can quickly be reassigned with minimal disruption and lost time.
To efficiently complete work you need everyone in your organisation to work collaboratively and without any time delays. Instead of using paperwork or multiple systems, you need a single system that your whole team can collectively access no matter where they are.
Job scheduling software gives operatives all of the information they need to carry out their appointments via a mobile device. They simply access their job management app through their device and record all required job information including: photographic evidence of completed work, details of the parts used and any completed compliance forms. Meanwhile, office staff can see job updates in real-time giving them complete visibility of everyone’s work schedule and job progress.
By automating the entire process and creating a complete audit trail from the initial point of raising the job all the way through to invoicing, your business maximises efficiencies, reduces inaccuracies and speeds up the job completion process meaning your operatives can be more productive.
Balancing stock levels
To increase customer satisfaction and reduce the need for repeat visits, your operatives need the right parts and stock to hand but carrying excessive stock is costly so the right balance needs to be struck.
The solution to this is to monitor your parts and stock inventory in real-time and give your frontline team access. By creating visibility and enabling your team to directly order the parts relevant to their jobs, you will maintain a far more precise and cost effective stock level. Good job management systems will even directly link up with parts suppliers such as Travis Perkins and Buildbase so you can manage your entire parts and supplier libraries through one system. This transparency and increased level of collaboration further enhances your business efficiencies and the quality of service you provide to your customers.
Easily proving compliance
Through using service management technology, operatives can complete safety surveys and other required compliance forms through their mobile app whilst at the appointment. Once complete, the survey or form is automatically saved against the job providing immediate evidence that the relevant health & safety checks or other compliance tasks have been carried out. As the completed survey or form is automatically stored against the job within the software, a compliance audit trail is created which can be referred back to at any time if required.
Improving customer service levels
While optimising your service delivery is the first step to achieving a competitive edge, to maintain it you need to continually monitor and improve your service.
Service management software gives you real-time access to data about your entire service delivery and when this data is analysed through built-in analytics tools, the system enables you to continuously monitor performance and gain insight into any areas of under-performance.
Having real-time access to this level of insight enables you to continually monitor performance, make adjustments and refinements to your service delivery so that you are operating as efficiently and productively as possible. By doing so, you can also be confident that your customers and end-users will be receiving the best customer service from your team.
It’s time to define your competitive edge
Your operational processes should complement the way you address your clients’ needs, ensuring you deliver standout customer service in the most efficient manner. A good Job Management System will equip your team with the precise features they need to deliver an outstanding service that your competitors will be hard pushed to beat.
Find out how other Buildings and Property Maintenance companies are already becoming more efficient, delivering better customer service and ultimately being more competitive, by reading Oneserve’s latest sector case studies.