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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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Maximising Safety and Minimising Contact. How FSM Software Is Empowering Field Based Service Businesses?

Maximising Safety and Minimising Contact. How FSM Software Is Empowering Field Based Service Businesses?

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.

Want to know more about ERP for Field Service?

Download our NetSuite Guide for Field Service, find all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP that can support your adaptability strategies.

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.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Field Service Enterprise Resource Planning Systems today. Find out how cloud-based technology can support and quickly adapt to your strategies in field service.

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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.

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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

Do you own a service company and you’re searching to export your services? Download this guide with all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP that can support your international expansion.

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 Smoke is Dissipating, How can Technology Providers Help Australian Agroindustry?

The Smoke is Dissipating, How can Technology Providers Help Australian Agroindustry?

The last three years have been severe for Australian farmers as a whole. Recovering and restoring business after the bush fire season might be a part of our strong culture and producers down under are used to adapting and surviving. Still, with a bush fire season that broke all records of destruction, prevailing drought conditions and intense floods, it’s not hard to imagine why the agroindustry is under stress. It is sure to take an unprecedented amount of time and effort to rebuild the industry and get going.

Young and old growers around the country are bringing change into the sector to reactivate their farms, as with everything, modernising agricultural practices using automation and other technology promises a way forward. Every day more farmers adopt the idea of using technology to combat their problems, lower their costs and improve their efficiency.

The need for better farm technology leaves the onus on automation and machinery manufacturers to come up with stand-out products and services. Technology service providers play now, more than ever, a pivotal role in helping farmers get back on their feet and thrive again.

Machinery Distribution Business Opportunities in The Agroindustry

Some help is coming to farmers through Regional Australian governments who have been providing a number of relief packages to relieve the bush-fire affected producers. For example, NSW is set to offer grants of up to $75,000 for affected victims. These grants can be utilised to revamp vital infrastructure and machinery that could make an immediate impact on production.

Machinery distributors have an opportunity to provide new products and services to farmers in need all across the country. For technology providers to succeed in the market, great farming products must come along with great service, guidance and counsel. Service technicians on the field must sympathise with the pains of growers and enable them with better solutions, maintenance and insurance plans.

Haying has seen a constant growth of above 3% annually and its expected to amount $10b in value by 2026.

A promising sector where technology providers can help is the haying and forage industry, and it is no secret that machinery is its backbone. The haying industry has seen constant growth at a rate of above 3% annually irrespective of problems and prejudices. Even after the 2019-2020 Black Summer bush-fire season, which severely affected this vital cog for Australia, the sector is expected to grow to more than $10,360 million in value by 2026. Hence, this proves to be an opportunity for machinery manufacturers and distributors to increase their margins in sales, lease and maintenance plans.

Recent data on Australian farmers also shows how there is a real disposition to spend on automated machinery. They recognise that in the long-run, automation will bring yields that are worth the initial time and investment. Machinery distributors should not wait for the farmers to come to them, but they should get to the field and help to grow the industry.

One significant example of the benefits in farm automation is the robots that SwarmFarm Robotics and Green Atlas developed for an apple farm in Queensland and are now planning to distribute for the industry. Tasks like flower counting and thinning operations that required several human hands in the past can now be done with the help of machinery with ease. Additionally, the accuracy and precision of these Aussie-made robots are exemplary. Australian growers are open to embracing technology that makes life easy for them.

It’s not just new inventions that are getting the producer’s attention, though. Heavy machinery like tractors are being sold in increasing numbers around the country. Last December 2019, we saw an unprecedented 7.5% increase in tractor sales compared to December of the previous year. Although smaller tractors are weathering a decline in sales, the over-200hp category is in its hay days. From April to June 2019, there was a 44% surge in the numbers sold.

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7.5% increase in tractor sales from Dec 2018 to Dec 2019

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Surge in sales in the over-200hp tractor category

Distribution and Servicing Challenges

The increasing interest of farmers in heavy machinery and automation also means that Agroindustry machinery distributors need to be on the top of their game to reach the farmers. Moreover, heavy machinery also comes with a need to be maintained and serviced correctly. As machines become more intricate, technical issues are something that farmers cannot deal with themselves. Therefore, an in-field team with exceptional technical abilities is vital to retain customers.

Scheduling of these technical staff again can be a daunting task. However, here also, technology comes to the rescue. NextService is a scheduler running on the popular NetSuite platform that connects dispatchers to the technical staff. 

When it comes to repairs, farmers want a quick response followed by a one-time visit to resolve the problem. However, that is far from reality, as 23% of the time the technician will have to do a check-up visit. With a NetSuite-based platform like NextService, the check-up visit rates can go down. Technical staff are equipped with advanced diagnostics and predictive inventory that can be monitored and re-located by dispatchers on a centralised platform improving the First-Time-Fix rate.

Moreover, the process becomes much more straightforward as the manufacturer can track the components that have been serviced using interactive dashboards. The dashboard gives vital data about the work being done by the technicians, the time required to complete it and the average time to complete such requests.

That’s not all, if a customer opts for a service contract along with the machinery, service providers don’t have to worry about executing their farm machinery servicing request on time. This is also done through the NextService software.

Download NetSuite Guide for Field Service

In this guide you can find all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP that can support your machinery distribution business growth.

Enabling Long-Term Business Relationship.

Farming is one of those areas which has been left behind by the automation and technology revolution. However, farmers are gradually realising the potential of adopting these new changes. Furthermore, after the late bush-fires and flooding which have ravaged existing infrastructure, farmers, as they always do, will fight to get back on track. This presents an excellent opportunity for Agroindustry machinery distributors to enable firm business relationships with producers and help them reactivate the industry.

For service providers, having a strong technology backbone like NetSuite can be a great differentiator that enables business. The penetration rate of field service application in Australia is quite low at 25%, and as technology providers, leader distributors will be those who embrace modernising systems themselves. Backed up by a reliable business platform like NetSuite + NextService agroindustry field service providers can nurture their customers old and new and maintain a long and stable business relationship.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Machinery Distribution ERP Systems today. Find out how cloud-based technology can make your agro-technology distrubution and servicing business a real customer-centric beast.

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Sunny Days for Agribusiness Solar Distributors

Sunny Days for Agribusiness Solar Distributors

Australian farmers have always looked to the sun for their livelihood. Now more than ever, the sun may be the key to a successful future and a growing business opportunity for solar providers and solar plumbing companies. As environmental concerns are causing many industries to move away from fossil fuels, farms are already making progress in replacing diesel with photovoltaic (PV) technology.

This shift in technology will result in cost savings for farmers and might be a critical factor in the sustainability of Australian farms. With the growing popularity of electric cars and the forthcoming phase-out of internal combustion engines, farmers must look at the real possibility of diesel-powered equipment becoming economically unfeasible in the coming years.

Converting farms from diesel dependence to solar technology can guarantee the sustainability of Australian Agribusiness. There have been significant advances in solar technologies meaning that it is now well understood, proven, trusted, and widely adopted in Australia and across the world. Now is the time for solar providers to prepare to be a part of this new solar shift and find the right tools to help scale and grow their businesses.

Australian Farms Are Going Green With the Help of Solar Providers

The progress toward adoption of solar technology on Australian farms is good news for both the farmers and solar providers. Over three-quarters of farmers nationwide have plans to control energy costs through the use of solar and battery storage systems. They will need farm solar servicing partners to walk alongside them.

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Fuel accounts for 80% of the lifetime cost of the system.

The cost savings can be staggering. Systems that are run on solar will have zero fuel costs. However, that is not the only cost-saving that will be realised through solar. With a pumping system, upfront capital costs and installation costs of solar are significantly higher than their diesel equivalents. However, the cost gap is quickly closed by eliminating the cost of purchasing, transporting, and storing diesel fuel. Fuel alone can account for over 80% of the lifetime cost of operating the system. And the fuel is only part of the cost savings.

Maintenance costs are also significantly lower. With a diesel pumping system, scheduled maintenance includes refuelling, oil changes, pressure checks, air filter cleaning and replacement, lubrication, and pump service. With solar, while the pump itself requires the same amount of service, the only other cost items are the minimal maintenance on the electric motor and solar array.

The initial capital cost difference between the diesel and solar systems is also offset by the expected lifespan of the systems. This difference makes the yearly cost of solar even less due to lower replacement costs. Solar modules offer performance guarantees of up to 85% of output for up to 25 years. Meanwhile, diesel generators need replacement, on average, every 20,000 hours.

One final cost difference to consider is the cost of personnel to oversee the operation of the equipment. This expense is especially critical on large farms where significant time may be required to reach substations. Diesel generators need a considerable number of regular site visits for refuelling, inspection, and routine maintenance. Farm solar servicing is much simpler. With little required maintenance, solar systems need very little attention.

Cost savings are not the only factor moving Australian farmers towards the switch to solar. Many farms are investing in reducing carbon emission over the next decade following the lead of the red meat industry’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

One Australian farmer made a move to a solar-powered pump, not only to save money on fuel but also to cut greenhouse emissions. The switch will reduce his emissions by 500 tonnes a year, equivalent to the output of 75 Australian households.

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Solar modules offer performance guarantees of up to 85% of output for up to 25 years

Diesel-Generators

Diesel generators need replacement on average every 20,000 hours. (Every 28 months)

Solar-Powered

A Solar-powered plump will reduce emissions by 500 tonnes a year, equivalent to 75 Australian households.

Expanding a Solar Installation Business to Service Agribusiness

Right now is the perfect time for farm solar servicing providers and installers to work with farmers. This partnership will give the farmers more options and allow providers to expand their footprint into agribusiness. To do this, providers will need to take into account the unique requirements of farm installations and prepare their businesses to meet the growing demand.

One critical factor providers need to understand is the unique needs of agribusiness. One of the primary considerations is the unique nature and location of farms. The rural areas where farms are located are far from large cities and need contractors who can handle these remote and rural installations effectively and efficiently.

Providers will need to take advantage of technology systems like NetSuite + NextService to minimise personnel and inventory costs while delivering unmatched customer service. This technology can assist in the efficient management of a service fleet, providing 360° customer service, and avoiding disparate systems.

Service Fleet Management

Using technology to guide farm solar servicing, businesses can keep better track of assets, which will improve efficiency and keep costs down. Managers can track truck and technicians’ inventory in real-time to reduce inventory leakage. Inventory can be allocated using a mobile app using drop-down menus or even by using the built-in barcode reader.

In addition to controlling inventory, technology can increase technician productivity. This boost can make a huge difference in profitability, especially with the large, complex, and remote installations found on farms. Best practice workflows and processes can be enforced by allowing technicians to track their work via an app. Efficiency can also be improved by allowing software to optimise schedules and travel routes, allowing more work to be done without expanding the workforce. Technology tools can even ensure that the right job is assigned to the right technician every time. This match will ensure efficiency and improve the First Time Fix Rate index.

NetSuite for Field Service Guide

Did you knew that you can manage your service fleet, shceduling, accounting, marketing, CMS, inventory, supply chain and multiple warehouses with one single solution? Download our guide to all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite + NextService that can support growth of your Solar Business.

360° Customer Service

As more farmers make a move to solar, they will be looking for a partner to make the transition as smooth as possible. That means that customer service will be essential to building long-term customer relationships.

With 360° Customer Service, solar providers can track the service history of every installation or every system serviced. This also means that service history is retained and transferred when a farm is sold, making it possible for providers to make the transfer seamless. Also, flexible asset records make it easy to keep track of systems and components from any manufacturer. This is another way to offer the highest level of support for customers.

Excellent customer service is even more critical with customers in rural areas, where word of mouth can be the most crucial factor. Solar panels are highly visible and can show other farmers the value of investing.

Avoiding Disparate Systems

As farms move toward solar, small to medium-sized solar businesses may run into problems scaling their business to keep up with the new demand. With a growing business, there is a temptation to tack on additional technology resources as they are needed. With functions scheduling, accounting, fulfilment, inventory, cash flow, human resources, payroll, reporting, content management, GPS fleet tracking, there are many stand-alone options for each need. However, while these may solve an immediate problem, their lack of integration can cause massive issues down the road. With the addition of each separate tool, complexity increases. It also becomes even more challenging to grow and scale the business. Some components may handle the larger scale while others may have limited capabilities.

Starting right with ERP systems like NetSuite eliminates these problems allowing all business functions to be integrated and also providing for scalability as your business grows. Data access is improved with the ability of each area to share consistent data formatting. This allows for the creation of dynamic information dashboards accessible to anyone in the company that needs the information from any device. Your data is available where you need it and when you need it.

Australia is one of the sunniest places in the world. Solar providers can be an integral part of harnessing the sun to provide for the energy and sustainability needs of farms. Done correctly, solar solutions can help farmers lead the way into the adoption of green technology while improving their own profitability.

Solar providers who have been mostly offering services in urban areas can easily make the switch to servicing rural agribusiness by leveraging the technology available through software like NetSuite.

NetSuite can handle almost any business function in the office and the field. With more technicians in remote locations, NetSuite can:

Run on nearly any device.

Show complete customer histories.

Collect data onsite such as signatures, installation photos, and expenses.

Offer data caching and downloading and capabilities for working in remote areas with no mobile coverage.

Enforces best practice workflows and processes.

Tack and access GPS data for intelligent mapping analytics.

This is an exciting time for farmers and solar providers in Australia. Choosing the right technology partner can make these new possibilities even better through seamless integration that can grow with your business.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Field Service ERP for Solar Businesses today. Find out how cloud-based technology can make your team a real customer service beast.

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The Smoke is Dissipating, How can Technology Providers Help Australian Agroindustry?

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Sunny Days for Agribusiness Solar Distributors

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Latest scandals in Retail Payroll, how likely are they to happen to you?

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Technology can Enable Manufacturers to Grow by Onshoring

Recent developments in the field of automation offer an attractive proposition for reshoring the supply chain for Australian manufacturers.

How Millennials are Changing the Field Service Industry

How Millennials are Changing the Field Service Industry

The Millennial generation or Generation Y includes those that are born between the 80s and 90s. They are a generation that grew up with mobile technology and the internet at their fingertips. This instant access to information has bred an inherent expectation that at work, as in their personal lives, they will have instant access to information, from any device, whenever they need it. And if they don’t get this, they won’t be happy.

Millennials are the new generation of the field service workforce. Forward-thinking businesses are making considerable effort to understand the drivers of this generation to ensure they attract and retain top talent. Generation Y’s are today’s 25 to 38-year-olds, and they make up 20.56% of the Australian population (5.13 million). They also make up the largest cohort in the workforce (33%). By 2025, Millennials will make up close to 70% of the total labour market, and their unique way of working is having a significant impact on all industries, including that of field service.

%

Generation Y population in Australia

%

Millienials percentage of the Australian workforce.

%

Total labour market by 2025.

How do Millennials approach their jobs?

These are the top things that Millennials are looking for when it comes to technology that supports them to do their jobs.

1. Collaboration

The constant change of field service work demands collaboration. With the masses of data that are being captured by most businesses, both in the field and in the office, the Millennial Field Tech expects to be able to share this information and collaborate with coworkers in real time. Field Service Management (FSM) software, such as NetSuite and NextService, do just that. They give mobile access to all relevant asset and customer information on a mobile device and allow the Millennial field tech a comfortable and familiar way to capture job-related information.

2. Integrated Mobile Technology

No one tends to love new technology more than the younger generation. For jobs to be done quickly and accurately, most companies use phones, tablets, and a combination of different software to capture the information they need both in the office and in the field. FSM Software gives a business a single platform of technology to manage every aspect of running a field service business. These systems simplify the technology ecosystem and expand the usefulness of captured data, as it can be reported on from a single database, rather than having to spend time aggregating data from different sources.

3. Autonomy

Millennials expect a level of independence in their roles and do not respond well to being restricted by physical work locations. It is a generation of problem solvers. They are entrepreneurial and autonomous in their actions, both at home and at work. They understand that technology can be used to complete mundane tasks, which free’s up their time to value-adding activities. These qualities can be harnessed to its fullest, by giving the Millennial the tools and technology to eliminate the mundane tasks, such as manual capturing of information or duplicating data entry.

Embracing flexibility with mobile field service software.

In the modern world, communication has become expected, and flexibility in communication is an essential factor that Millennials need in their work-life. With field service management software, flexibility is a key focus. Millennials will be able to see their entire schedule from their phones, sign in and out of a job and complete work orders. This way, workers would not have to make trips back to their office and can spend more time in the field, generating income.

These mobile applications also give Millennial technicians access to the information they need to do their jobs well, such as online manuals and guides on repairs. Because a library of information is now available from their smartphone, techs can solve problems faster and get access to the information they need to get the job done right the first time around.

Download NetSuite Guide for Field Service

Find in this guide all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP that can support your growth.

Millennials champion field technology

Millennials can play a crucial role in assisting with technology change in a field service business. By embracing new technology, they can lead by example and help other generations in the company better understand the positive impact of technology, that might otherwise have been met with lacklustre enthusiasm.
How to manage Millennials effectively.

Maximising the efficiency of Millennial field services is necessary for field service organisations, and as time goes in, this is going to be amplified. Field Service businesses can help empower Millennials by:

1. Investing in technology

Give them what they want. In every aspect of their lives, Millennials are making the most of modern technology, and work should be no different. To satisfy the needs of this generation, businesses should be looking into technology that automates, increases efficiency and gives real-time access to information. Field Service Management Software, such as NextService by NextTechnik, does just this.

2. Giving them flexibility

The nature of field service is mobile, so many Millennials who choose a career in field service are not wanting to be tied to an office. If they can complete 100% of their roles outside the four walls of an office and spend more time actually generating income they will be more satisfied as workers than having limitations that they see as easily solvable.

Reasons why Millennials are suitable for field service

1. Millennials are result-oriented

In situations whereby customers are dependent on technicians to fix the necessary system to get their business up and running at full capacity as soon as possible, being practical is one of the things Millennials have in abundance.

2. Millennials are confident

Their parents have raised Millennials that can accomplish anything, and such encouragement tends to boost the confidence of generations entering the workforce.

3. Millennials are educated

Millennials are found to be the most educated generation in history. Millennials tend to improve their learning skills, which is vital for companies when trying to hire technicians based on their abilities.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Field Service Enterprise Resource Planning Systems today. Find out how cloud-based technology can make your field business a real customer-centric beast.

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