Better Tracking to Optimize Service Cost for your HVAC Company
Throughout the course of my career, I have had an opportunity to consult for numerous HVAC Contractor and Sales & Service Dealers. Improving efficiency and optimizing cost have always been among the key pain points for companies in the HVAC industry. Research suggests that as many as 73% of the industry companies are struggling with profitable revenue growth and are looking for ways to optimize costs to boost profitability and margins.
Throughout this article, we would explore some of the biggest drivers of cost for companies in the HVAC space and attempt to know how we could optimize the service cost as an organization. During a typical call, there are three major costs that a company has to deal with. Firstly there are the direct costs that involve the technicians and the engineers required to service the call. Then there is the movement cost of technicians, which consists of the commuting costs incurred by the company to service a call. Finally, the miscellaneous costs that need to go into ensuring the service provided are of optimal quality and satisfies the customer. These include costs like the call center costs, costs for training engineers, and anything else which might benefit the business.
We would now attempt to understand how one could optimize each of the costs under each of these buckets:
Direct Costs – Manpower and Operations
Accurate resource allocation: Know who and what you are sending to a service call, to make sure they are ideally matched to reduce additional visits. A scheduling feature that matches the technician skillset to the job requirement would go a long way toward optimizing costs.
Streamlining Work Order creation: Automation allows internal process operations could be streamlined and eliminate the many repetitive tasks involved in field service. With work-order templates, work orders can be created quickly. With many of these time-consuming tasked removed, back office staff have more time to work on other things, which might improve business results. It also helps in reducing the response time taken by the workforce at many stages of operation.
Movement Costs (Technicians)
Reduced fuel costs: GPS tracking allows you to route technicians more efficiently and significantly reduces employee side trips.
Greater accountability: Keeping track of your vehicles and employees' location makes them even more focused on the jobs at hand. The scope of bunking the allotted work and going for personal work is negligible.
Transparency to improve travel times: One can't improve what one can't measure. With a good field service management tool, you can get technicians to the jobs that make the most sense based on their skills and location.
Miscellaneous Costs (Call Center, Training, etc.)
Automated notifications: Sending automated notifications or emails to remind your customers about appointments and getting your technicians to the job on time helps make the process more seamless. Investing in a tool that would automate these customer service tricks will help manual intervention and substantially reduce costs.
Enabling self-service: Providing customers with a self-service application would allow them to connect with your company seamlessly. They can raise requests, track the status of their orders, and provide feedback. This would reduce them connecting over phone calls with members of your customer service team.
A research by SoftwareAdvice has determined that approximately 74% of HVAC companies do not leverage any sort of software application to improve and streamline their day-to-day operations, which is a barrier.
Shatrujeet Swain is an HVAC Engineer & Consultant, and is also a mentor to fellow HVAC Engineers who aspire to master different industry skills . His expertise include HVAC Systems Design, Sales, Project Execution, and Management.
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