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5 Keys to Face Disruption in Maintenance for Construction Industry

5 Keys to Face Disruption in Maintenance for Construction Industry

Construction in Australia as in other parts of the world is considered an essential business. In 2019, over 1.15 million people were employed in construction, that is 9.2% of all jobs in Australia. The construction industry contributes to 9% of the total GDP of the country, and it will be key to the recovery of the national economy.

The introduction of heavy machinery like cranes, excavators and bulldozers transformed the industry, but automation has yet to play a more important role in the industry. Construction is one of the three industries (together with agriculture and transport) that are slow to embrace digital technologies and innovations; as a result, there is a number of opportunities emerging for businesses providing services to the construction industry. In a highly digital age, almost every aspect of the industry can be supported by innovative new technologies.

Drones and robots are being utilised to automate aspects of the maintenance process itself directly, and advanced sensors combined with the application of machine learning algorithms are enabling highly accurate predictive servicing. In a recent example of this, Data61 have utilised machine learning to create a model that can identify water mains at risk of potential failure. This model will allow Sydney Water to be proactive about their maintenance requirements and has the potential to save them $700 million in reactive repairs and maintenance.

In a 2019 study, McKinsey Australia identified the Construction industry as one of the nine sectors most exposed to automation opportunity and estimates that 25 per cent of work activities will be automated by 2030. This automation will be achieved through the application of new technologies, which in many cases will lead to new servicing and maintenance requirements. The lack of technology in construction maintenance presents an excellent opportunity to generate business in an industry that will remain one of the strong pillars of Australia. Automation has the potential to add $2.2 trillion to the Australian economy over the next 15 years.

Across the globe, we’re seeing technology being successfully implemented to improve the safety and efficiency of maintenance procedures. In 2018, Enes Karaaslanat led a study at the University of Central Florida that focused on developing a human-centred tool to offer improvements to infrastructure inspection and maintenance practices. They created an augmented reality (AR) framework that is intended to be integrated into a wearable headset, allowing an inspector to automatically analyse components they observe in real-time, and obtain information about any defects present. This technology greatly empowers maintenance inspectors and increases their ability to accurately identify potential threats in infrastructure.

Here in Australia, the Centre for Autonomous Systems (CAS) at the University of Technology Sydney worked in partnership with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to create a robot that is intended to inspect hazardous or inaccessible regions of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The robust device is capable of navigating complex terrain that is usually difficult or dangerous for humans to access and collects valuable information about the condition of a structure. Through this automation, the RMS has greatly increased the efficiency of their maintenance process, while also removing the associated occupational health and safety risks that come with human workers surveying these areas.

With the Construction industry in Australia projected to be a crucial factor on the recovery of our economy, and with high-tech equipment and automation at the core of this growth, it appears that there will be an increasing demand for machinery maintenance services in the coming years. In order to cater to this demand, and capitalise on emerging opportunities, it is essential for companies providing automation in the Maintenance for the Construction industry to implement new technologies to improve their own productivity. With this in mind, let’s explore the 5 keys to performance for companies in the Maintenance for the Construction industry, and examine how they can be implemented using the powerful combination of Netsuite + NextService.

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1. A Focus on Customer Service

Fulfilling customer expectations is vital for building long term relationships in any industry. In the Maintenance for the Construction industry, this means ensuring that timely preventative maintenance (PM) is provided in order to limit the chance of problems arising. NextService automates the PM process by tracking equipment service history and allowing managers to allocate the required maintenance tasks to different teams within their company.

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2. Effective Scheduling to Improve the First Time Fix Rate

To ensure maintenance to machinery and sensor is performed efficiently, it is important that the technicians handling the task have the appropriate skills and equipment. The more often a company can get the job right the first time, the happier their customers will be with their service. The NextService Scheduler allows managers to view customer and job information alongside information about their technicians’ skills and equipment, making it easy for them to assign the right staff to the right project. The Scheduler even features an integrated map, allowing managers to view all their field staff geographically and optimise their task scheduling based on this information.

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3. Investment in Inventory Prediction Technology

For companies in the Maintenance for the Construction industry, managing inventory effectively is a vital key to success. Without utilising technology in this area, human error can easily lead to costly mismatches in inventory levels and job requirements and greatly impact your overall productivity. The NextService mobile app allows for complete inventory management utilising a built-in barcode scanner. This makes it simple for companies to manage their supply and demand by viewing the analytics in real-time.

NetSuite for Construction Providers

Download our NetSuite for Field Service Guide and learn everything there is to know about the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP, that can support your strategies on the bak-office and the field.

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4. A Focus on Accounting and Asset Management

Servicing machinery involves a lot of equipment, and as a result maintenance companies are required to manage the finances on a large number of assets. This can be extremely difficult and often results in confusion around the value of these assets after depreciation, and when to retire them.

NetSuite supports companies to understand their asset lifecycle, by tracking relevant information and calculating depreciation schedules. This allows companies to greatly improve their management of assets through real-time accounting.

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5. Consolidation of all Platforms to a Single Tool

The Maintenance for the Construction industry is driven by data, and with so much relevant information to consider, it makes sense for maintenance companies to aim to store all this data in one place. Using multiple platforms with siloed information makes it difficult to get the complete picture, and increases the time spent by staff accessing and utilising information. NetSuite is an all-in-one business management tool, combining all the capability of CRM and sales tools with powerful accounting, inventory and project management automation. The platform integrates seamlessly with NextService providing companies with comprehensive control over both their admin and field operations.

 

It is clear that the coming years will present a lot of challenges to those in the Maintenance for the Construction industry, but opportunities arise as automation continues to drive increases to the efficiency of both the construction and maintenance processes. If you are a maintenance company looking to support your automation business within the industry, the combined NetSuite + NextService platform can assist you to improve your productivity by providing complete control over all your operations.

Utilising a single platform solution greatly simplifies your IT environment, empowering your team to work more effectively and giving you a real-time snapshot of your business.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Enterprise Resource Planning Systems for Construction Providers today. Find out how cloud-based technology can support your subcontractor business and your addaptability strategies.

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How Cloud Technology Supports a Decentralised Workforce and Increases Operational Efficiency.

The active decentralisation of workforces is something that has been gaining momentum in the past decade, and even more so recently. As technology and internet infrastructure has drastically improved so too has a businesses ability to empower their team to effectively work remotely.

A combination of technologies including video conferencing software, VOIP phone systems and cloud business management platforms like NetSuite gives businesses a unique advantage over competitors who are wedded to legacy on-premise systems and infrastructure that mandate the need for teams to work from a dedicated location.

While ‘work from home’ arrangements are becoming commonplace we are increasingly seeing organisations wanting to align their IT strategy in order to simplify network infrastructure and the efficiency and effectiveness of access to their key business systems, such as accounting, warehouse management and field service and mobility. Their goal is to maximise mobile access for their teams, minimise security risks and streamline the flow of information and data throughout their various business departments.

%

Australian’s have adopted smartphones into their everyday lives

The Communication Revolution.

It is hard to believe that the first mainstream smartphone released to a mass-market occurred in 2007, just 12 short years ago. The Apple iPhone, which would go on to become the most popular smartphone device on the planet opened a world of opportunity by giving people access to business systems, such as email anywhere, anytime.

Shortly after, in 2008, HTC released their G1 model and in 2009, Samsung, the world’s now second-largest smartphone manufacturer came to market with their competitive offering the Samsung GT-I7500 Galaxy.

As features and functionality of smartphones continued to grow exponentially more and more business and individuals made the switch from dated telecommunication technology to modern smartphones.

Fast forward to 2020, it is estimated that 18.44 million Australian’s have adopted smartphones into their everyday lives which is a staggering 72.5% of the population, and 50% of Australians use devices other than a phone or computer to connect to the internet.

There’s An App For That.

By 2012, the smartphone race was on. With leading manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and HTC holding the majority of the market after investing billions of dollars in R&D to ensure that their latest release trumped other players.

One of the biggest revolutions in communications and devices is the concept of App Stores, which give people the ability to configure and expand the usefulness of their devices to their own needs.

Whether in business content, or private use, the smartphone changed people’s expectations of technology both at home and at work.

Video Conferencing Software

Colleagues and customers are connecting in ways not seen in past decades.

Mobility Madness

Between 2010 and 2020, we have seen a change in the way people interact with each other and access information.

In 2020, employees expect that will be able to be as connected to their companies, colleagues and key business systems, as they are in every other aspect of their lives.

Video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Skype and Teams are connecting colleagues and customers in ways I am sure no one ever imagined. Whilst for some businesses and individuals this has required a significant and pivot, for the majority these technologies had already been adopted in some way.

However, this is not as true when it comes to the average businesses key systems, such as accounting, warehouse management software or field service management software.

Cloud Technology, But Not As You Know It.

If you follow Klugo, you will probably have heard us talking about True Cloud and Fake Cloud Technology in the past and why it is imperative to understand the difference. We are dedicated to helping Aussie businesses transform their technology footprint by simplifying their multitude of disparate systems into a single business management platform, NetSuite.

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True Cloud Systems, such as NetSuite and NextService offer our clients teams the ability to access their organisations unified software platform, anywhere, anytime on any device. More than that, however, because of the True Cloud nature of our solutions, they are able to access the system quickly and simply, without the need for complex infrastructures such as DaaS Solutions or Virtual/Remote Desktop technology.

Put simply, Hosted Cloud Technology adds complexity to a business’s IT Strategy. In addition to the work required to design, implement and keep software systems running, there is the added workload of ensuring that teams are able to log into your systems through complicated VPN’s and Portals as well as the burden of ensuring that relevant data is interfaced between systems in a timely and accurate manner.

Comparatively, Klugo’s NetSuite customers enjoy a much simpler experience and have been able to pivot very quickly when businesses requirements change, and we think that is powerful. The fact that NetSuite is a single true cloud platform, the need to manage hosting and access is eliminated and data does not need to be interfaced or uploaded to different systems, as it is a single software solution managing all aspects of financial and operational control.

In Summary

Modern businesses need modern technology in order to be agile and adapt in rapidly changing industries. If you are interested in learning how we are helping Australian Field Service Companies, Construction Service Providers, Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Retailers, and more modernise their system strategy, then reach out to one of our NetSuite experts.

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Field Service Business by nature are high contact. Whether providing break-fix repairs to customers equipment or managing installation and commissioning of new manufacturing machinery, being a field service technician means being onsite.

Field Service businesses, which traditionally have been paper-based are now looking at ways to:

  1. Streamline the scheduling and dispatch of their technicians.
  2. Digitise both the delivery of job, customer and asset details to their mobile devices.
  3. Enforce strict safety checklists and OHS processes.
  4. Streamline job data capture, progress updates, customer sign off and billing.

Traditionally, a Field Technician’s typical day involved a very high level of contact with various members of your front office, back office and warehouse teams, as well as the team members of your customers. However, by simply going digital, NetSuite and NextService customers have been able to eliminate the need for morning and afternoon paperwork pick up and drop off, as well as communicate with customers through video calls, rather than face to face.

They have also been able to rapidly adopt new safety policies and procures by implementing custom forms and checklists on the NextService mobile app to maximise compliance. 

Four Key Benefits of NetSuite and NextService

1. Eliminating Complexity in Scheduling

NextService has a NetSuite Native on-platform schedule board that allows your scheduling teams to quickly create jobs, review team members availability, proximity and skills and assign the case to the right technician.

Schedules can be edited on the fly, with notifications being sent automatically to field service technicians as and when things change.

2. Modern Mobility

The NextService mobile app, which works on any smart device becomes the key workspace for field-based staff. They are able to receive details of new jobs, asset and customer details and history, access a full case history of the customer and asset, and capture key information on their mobile device. From van-stock consumption through to time, expenses machine readings and more, NextService can be configured to suit the often highly variable requirements of different job types.

3. Empowering People to Follow Process

NextService as a Native extension of the NetSuite Platform can be configured quickly to capture any custom information you may require. This means that a rapidly changing world can be met with agility and adaptability ensuring that you are able to minimise any newly identified risks for your team and your customers by implementing adaptable checklists and procedures.

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4. Streamlining the Flow of Data

As a built for NetSuite Native solution, any information that is captured in the NextService Mobile App is synchronised to your NetSuite ERP system in real-time. Front and back-office staff will have live information about field technician locations, job progress and be able to build-up to the minute field service management dashboards that empower quick and accurate decision making. Similarly, technicians are automatically alerted to any new job information or changes, which minimises the need for inefficient phone and email communications.

In Summary

At Klugo, we are passionate about helping Australian businesses adapt to change, and simplify their software ecosystem by investing in a modern, single platform of technology such as NetSuite and NextService. If you think we might be able to help you, then feel to reach out to speak to one of our Field Service ERP experts.

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Over the past few weeks, we have been speaking with our customers in order to understand how we can help them leverage the power of NetSuite to pivot quickly and get back to business. Through discussions with many business owners and C Levels, we are finding an interesting commonality in these conversations.

As leaders in their industries, our customers are looking at ways they can evaluate what in some cases has been decades of ‘business as usual’ and transform their strategies to make the most of the ‘new normal’.

1. Communication – Technology Supporting Collaboration Between Customers and Colleagues

It is no secret that at this point in time, Video Communication Platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams are keeping the world turning. Both in business and in people’s homes, these cloud technologies are helping people connect, communicate and collaborate. Whilst this technology is not new, its place in everyday life has been hugely amplified and is making it easier for everyone to go about their work, education and personal lives.

This is largely possible due to the leaps and bounds we have made in recent years when it comes to internet speed and infrastructure and the lowering of costs to high-speed internet and data. In addition to this, the quality of camera lenses and the prevalence of video recording technology in most smart devices means that accessing this new communication channel is very much possible for the majority of people.

2. Travel – Risk vs Reward

At Klugo, travel is very common across our teams. From our Business Development Consultants who fly around Australia to conduct on-site discovery sessions and software demonstrations through to our NetSuite Consulting Team who regularly attend customer sites to run training sessions and provide Go Live support, travel is a part of the job.

Whilst face to face contact with our customers is highly beneficial, we have found that by changing our processes we have been able to maintain a high level of service and customer satisfaction.

Similarly, our customers in the interest of the safety of their team’s have welcomed the way we are currently delivering NetSuite implementations and appreciate that we are able to push forward despite the challenges.

3. Physical Presence and Productivity

Another common conversation item is the impact that a lack of physical presence of team members in their offices has had on their productivity and efficiency of communication. In most cases, our customers have reported that they were able to quickly mobilise a ‘work from home’ plan for any non-essential staff since NetSuite can be accessed anywhere, anytime on any device.

Whilst face to face contact is hugely important in building relationships and ensuring clarity during conversations many business owners are exploring the potential benefits of expanding their legacy ‘work from home’ policies such as a reduction in required office space, increase in productivity from team members and increase in their ability to support work-life balance.

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4. Technology – Mobility, Adaptability and Agility Are Key

In some cases, our customers have chosen to maintain some legacy systems that often times are either cloud-hosted or on-premise. This could be for a number of reasons such as prioritising mission-critical functionality at go-live or needing industry specialised functionality. Interestingly, we are now hearing a number of our customers are wanting to use the NetSuite development platform in order to bring this functionality into NetSuite and move towards their desired end-state of a single platform of technology.

We are excited to be able to help our customers get back control of their businesses very quickly, whether through new NetSuite module implementations, or custom development. If you are interested in learning how our team of NetSuite experts can help your business, feel free to reach out and discuss your requirements with one of our NetSuite professionals.

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How are Australian Service Companies Thriving Overseas?

How are Australian Service Companies Thriving Overseas?

The Australian economy is largely made up of businesses that provide either services or goods and services. Service businesses employ four out of five Australians and represent over 70 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the country. Despite operational challenges of scaling a service business globally, a number of Aussie Service companies are not just thriving domestically, they are hammering the competition on the international stage.

%

Service and service with goods made 40% of exports in 2016

There is a world of potential customers searching for excellent quality services across a wide range of industries. For Australia, the services sector accounts for most of the trading that occurs with other countries. Services made up 21.6% of total exports in 2016, and when goods are considered, they account for 40% of export earnings. The value of the services trade rose by 9.4 per cent in 2018 totalling $190.6 billion, and the share was below average that year at 22.4 per cent.

According to the WTO time-series database, US and China are Australia’s major trade partners for imports. The US accounts for 10.0 per cent of the world’s imports, which is up 4.0 per cent each year since 2013. China comes in second with 7.7 per cent increases each year.

Despite challenges, globalisation offers Australian businesses a prime opportunity to discover potential customers. With the yearly increases in service imports, Australian companies find significant growth opportunities whilst offering their services overseas. However, to truly transform local services into worldwide success, one crucial element is needed: the right technology backbone to support a multi-location business.

Made in Australia for the world.

Many lessons can be learned from local success stories. Poolwerx is one example of a company that is finding success in foreign markets. Having a Cloud ERP system that is global-ready was one of the many key factors that enabled their international expansion.

Poolwerx was founded in 1992, and it revolutionised the pool service industry with its network of pool and spa maintenance technicians. They started a franchise model that utilises the latest pool maintenance technology in Australia. This model facilitated Poolwerx expansion, they have now 160 retail stores and over 575 vans servicing in Australia, New Zealand and America.

Poolwerx success story was featured in the Keynote of NetSuite SuiteConnect in Sydney in February 2020 for its use of NetSuite + NextService. John O’Brien, Founder and CEO of Poolwerx, credited the platform: “With NetSuite, we have better visibility and control. We’re able to have a single source of truth that monitors and reports all franchisee performance, affording us the opportunity to operate as a small team, despite being globally dispersed.”

Poolwerx plans to expand across the US southern tier, the Sun Belt, with a five-year business development strategy targeting verticals in the commercial sector, schools, hotels and fitness centres. NetSuite and NextService will provide technological support for their innovation and international growth.

SprintQuip is another company that achieved success with the help of NetSuite. NextService, a customised field service platform built-in NetSuite was the backbone of the company’s global expansion.

SprintQuip offers cash machine products, including ticket counters, weighers and scales, deposit machines, money safes, sorters, along with service support. Stephen Basford, the General Manager of Systems and Compliance, says the company’s success is due to the efficiencies NextService created in the field and the back-office administration. This has improved customer response times and simplified scheduling and billing systems.

The company now sells and services Cash Machines in Singapore and the UK. Whilst the Head-Office is in Australia, SprintQuip was able to expand into Singapore supported by NetSuite OneWorld technology. The company then entered into the UK by acquiring a local company and quickly onboarding them to the platform. Basford says that NetSuite with NextService was crucial for the business to expand its operations overseas.

The Benefits of OneWorld Technology

Technological advances that were inconceivable even a few decades ago allow us today to connect easier than ever, erasing borders, homogenising cultures and globalising business. But that does not change the fact that companies must be adapted to perform on a local level. NetSuite OneWorld supports global and country-specific requirements addressing the complex multinational and multi-company needs of global organisations.

Businesses exporting their services overseas to access a broader customer-base realise that data transparency becomes a priority when sharing critical information with trading partners and consumers. NetSuite OneWorld benefits businesses by offering real-time visibility into business performance through financial and operational dashboards and reports. These global business insights enable them to build trust and achieve better visibility to all parts of their businesses to drive improvements and react faster and more effectively when problems occur.

Building an international team these days can be easily achieved through partnerships, alliances, and direct hiring, thus having technology that supports global workforce management is essential for companies planning to trade overseas. NetSuite OneWorld is web-based, allowing employees, board members and associates to access the platform from anywhere in the world in their language. It also supports popular mobile devices for data and functionality on-the-go. User permissions management in the business workflow is available within the platform.

Expanding to offshore markets comes with a whole new set of operational challenges in global accountancy, rules, taxation and regulations vary significantly for each country. OneWorld makes NetSuite the leading ERP for global SMEs with its best-in-class currency manager, which includes 190+ currency and exchange rates allowing users to do business across the globe from day one and accepting many forms of payment. Other functionalities include currency conversion and financial consolidation across business units and a comprehensive range of international tax structures. You can adjust for currency, taxation and legal compliance differences at the local level, with regional and global business consolidation and roll-up.

NetSuite Guide for Field Service Companies

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Opportunities to establish a service business abroad

Don’t underestimate the international demand for your services, globalised consumers are increasingly willing to experiment with services that bring something new to the table. Several Australian service companies with innovative technology are growing overseas as a result of a flattening global economy and the possibility to focus on vertical rather than geographic markets.

The service industry will see substantial growth, the Australian Performance of Services Index (Australian PSI®) is expected to be 46.80 points by the end of this quarter and to continue to grow to 53.00 points by 2021. Australia, Singapore and Sweden have been named as the most prepared countries for technological changes, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). They have also been called the most attractive places for investing in tech companies from 2018 to 2022.

Starting a business nowadays is a simple and straightforward process in virtually every country, and a number of governments actively encourage foreign investors to set up shop, through taxation perks and benefits. With the right technological support and strategy, businesses can start trading overseas in less than a month, and it doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. Technological advances in the past decade like NetSuite OneWorld are taking Australian brands globally more quickly and efficiently than ever offering organisations a way to handle multinational and multi-company needs.

NetSuite not only enables international expansion with OneWorld, it is one of the leading accounting/ERP platforms in the world that also offers Customer Relationship Management, eCommerce, Warehouse Management, Field Service automation and Professional Services Automation solutions. Such a comprehensive platform helps multinational businesses align their complete operations. NetSuite’s Centralised BMP nature gives real-time visibility for businesses, ensuring consistent compliance management and alleviating the need for several disparate software. All areas of the company can be run by a single cloud software anywhere in the world.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in NetSuite OneWorld and NextService for Field Service Businesses today. Find out how cloud-based technology can help your service business become an international beast.

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The Secret to Superior Inventory Management

Seize Distribution OpportunitiesThe downfall of wholesale distribution has been highly exaggerated in recent years. Yes, manufacturers have more opportunities nowadays to sell directly to consumers, but there are two main reasons why distributors are...

Top Three Pain Points For SMEs Outgrowing Accounting Software

This article was written by Brendan Laufenberg, SME Consultant, Klugo. As a specialist in cloud software for SMEs, I work daily to help growing companies evaluate the proven benefits of upgrading their internal software systems to a single,...