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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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How Millennials are Changing the Field Service Industry

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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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How is Field Service Software Helping Businesses to Get Ahead 2019?

How is Field Service Software Helping Businesses to Get Ahead 2019?

Since 2014, we have seen a steady increase in both new field service businesses coming to market, as well as strong growth in existing operations. What is even more interesting is the number of retailers, wholesale distributors and manufacturers who are looking it minimise their exposure to increasingly competitive markets and insulate their revenues against the fluctuations they have had in recent years to changes in consumer demand.

At Klugo, we have helped a number of Australian businesses expand and future proof their operations by adding field service software solutions to their existing NetSuite ERP solution. These businesses have mostly been wholesale distributors and manufacturers who were wanting to bring what used to be a cost centre, (in that they had to pay subcontractors to compete routine and preventative and panic maintenance) and turn this into a key business profit centre by hiring a team of technicians direct and engaging directly with their customers.

Field Service Management Applications combine important functionalities like enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to offer you a near all-in-one tool that can manage all of your business processes with total traceability. These programs are designed to provide a simple and user-friendly interface across all areas of a business field service company.

So, what makes a great Field Service Management software?

A number of things in truth, depending on what type of business you are. Different Field Service Management software’s in 2019 offers a wide range of features and functionality. Whilst some packages are designed for small companies and some for large; there’s really only one solution on the market that is designed to provide everything a small business owner needs. NetSuite helps them connect sales, back office and service scheduling teams to the technicians in the field who are carrying out the work.

NetSuite provides an end to end solution and can scale with the business as you grow so you can be sure you are not investing in a technology that you will outgrow in a few years. In addition, NetSuite lets users start as simply as they require, in some cases with core financials and inventory management, and then scale the solution to other areas of the business, such as sales and CRM, work order management and field service management as their needs change.

The Field Service Software Boom, Results Speak for Themselves.

Customers who have chosen to branch out into field service software solutions have reported many key benefits almost immediately. Whilst the additional revenue stream has strengthened their businesses as a whole; it has also strengthened their relationships with their customers by providing better service. A one-stop shop to meet their customer’s needs, from evaluation and sale through to after-market service and customer response.

In 2019, customer service is king. Many businesses are starting to realise that building strong long-term relationships with customers means that they not only have a lower cost of sale, and better repeat business but can sell a broader range of products and services ongoing. This relationship makes customers much ‘stickier’ and results in lower customer turnover.

As a business owner, becoming more aware a of what technology is available and making a plan to migrate is key to the continual improvement of your systems strategy, and an Integrated Field Service scheduling software solution could just be the beginning.

Why Use Single System Technology?

Many businesses we work with have used software as a means to fill a gap, rather than looking at the problem holistically. They may have started with a simple accounting package, such as MYOB or Xero, but kept most other information in spreadsheets and documents.

As time went by, and spreadsheets became hard to manage they invested in some smaller, disparate systems to solve the immediate problems they were facing:

To many customers to keep track of?Add a Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Inventory getting out of control?Add an Inventory Management Software.
Warehouse is becoming inefficient?Add a Warehouse Management Software.
Marketing is taking too much time?Add a Marketing Automation Platform.
Too many technicians to manage manually?Add a Job Scheduling Software.

Whilst their intentions were good, what they ultimately ended up doing was creating silos of information that were difficult to access, required data duplication in multiple systems and prevented any real-time reporting. As time went on, and the businesses become more complex the inefficiencies and in some cases risks that this strategy presented were no longer acceptable.

Field Service companies now have a better choice for small business field service software, and the earlier they make this choice, the more scalable and flexible their organisations will be. NetSuite Field Service Edition provides small, medium and large field service businesses with a single platform to run their entire operation.

From Marketing, Sales, Quote and CRM, Project and Job Costing, Tasks and Work Orders, Job Scheduling and Financial Automation, NetSuite for Field service is the only solution in the world that gives field service businesses everything they need to grow.

A new way forward with Klugo.

Klugo are Field Service specialists. So much so, that we started our own software development company to build NetSuite native applications to handle the unique requirements of a field service company. If you would like to learn more about how we have helped our customers modernise their IT strategy, then feel free to reach out for an obligation free discussion.

Key Benefits and Areas of Considerations.

Reduce scheduling costs.

Significant costs for field service businesses come with scheduling service calls for clients. Manual systems mean schedulers need to leave large “windows” for appointments and allow ample time between scheduled stops. Field Service Management Software allows users to schedule more appointments efficiently. White space is also reduced with increased efficiency on data capture in the field.

Increased customer satisfaction.

Systems can improve customers’ satisfaction in three ways:

  1. They can provide more accurate data to allow for more precise arrival times for technicians.
  2. They can predict the tools and parts that a rep will need ahead of the job based on previous jobs or routine work order requirements.
  3. They can allow the customer to pick the most convenient appointment time, which can reduce administration time and cost in working out ideal times of a visit.

Reduce parts inventory costs.

Systems can analyse history files to predict which parts will fail on what schedule. Companies can use this information to more accurately manage part inventories being carried to reduce inventory costs with low turnover.

Reduce fuel costs.

Intelligent route planning is a feature of most FSM systems. It calculates the most efficient way for a technician to navigate to their appointments, dramatically reducing travelled kilometres and consequently lowering petrol costs.

Market Trends and Terms to Understand in Field Service.

Designed for Mobile.

When Microsoft introduced the Tablet PC version of Windows in 2001, fieldwork organisations were listed as a key target market. However, the software that ran on these devices was the same as a standard PC or laptop. Almost two decades later, mobile field service apps are available for all major mobile and tablet platforms from Blackberry, Android and iPhones to iPads and Windows 7 tablets. These apps are designed with the end-user in mind to minimise the time required to capture data and take advantage of the devices native features like sign-on-glass.nced settings.

Customer support consolidation.

Functionality in CRM to give service and support. For example, NetSuite lets customers generate a support ticket, set an appointment, create an order. Schedulers can then pick up these requests, schedule a rep and track the progress of the job in real time. Once the rep has completed the work, the order is closed, which closes the support ticket and can prompt automated billing.

Web-based interfaces.

Reps and managers can interact with web-enabled systems at the office or on the road. Web-based tools can also let partners access the platform and can even allow customers to schedule their appointments. The internet has brought owners, technicians, schedulers and customers together with a single collaborative environment.

Software as a Service (SaaS).

Cloud-based platforms that are typically accessed through a monthly subscription plan. In the long term, this model proves to be cheaper. Whilst on-premise software used to have a once of cost, realistically that once off cost only covered one version of the software, and ongoing maintenance spend was still required.

Interested in Finding Out More About NextService?

NextService is the world’s only NetSuite Native Field Service software. Built exclusively on the NetSuite platform, NextService provides an extension to native NetSuite functionality to include a drag and drop scheduling board, custom field service management dashboard, enhanced job and case forms and a customisable mobile app that allows technicians to complete jobs in the field and have the data sync straight back into NetSuite in real time.

NextService is leading the market in Field Service Technology and is empowering field service business to simplify their IT system, take control of their business operations and grow with the confidence that their system will scale with them.

Download NetSuite Guide for Field Service

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Top 7 Trends in Field Service Technology in 2019

Top 7 Trends in Field Service Technology in 2019

Over the past five years, field service businesses have been consistently investing in technology that will improve technician utilisation, minimise data entry and provide better customer service.

In 2019, there are hundreds of apps and software packages that are being specifically designed for a field service-based business and these technologies are helping these businesses streamline their operations and lower their overhead costs which is great news for a highly competitive industry.

These are the top 7 trends we see at Klugo with our field service customers.

1. Push to Paperless

This trend has been rapidly gaining pace in the last 2-3 years. Both an increased focus in moving towards “greener” ways of doing business, as well as the opportunity to declutter utes, desks and offices has made this type of technology one of the main drivers for digitising a field service business’s operation.

In most cases, when we start an evaluation with a field service company, they have some form of digitisation or ‘paperless’ data capture. These inputs can be as simple as fillable PDFs through to sophisticated field service management solutions. The problem though is that these stand-alone systems are not integrated into the customers CRM and Accounting Software, or worse…. They are integrated poorly and generating big administrative and IT overheads.

A single platform of technology, built for field service, such as NextService provides an end to end solution from Sales and Marketing, Job Creation, Scheduling, Accounting and Finance, Inventory and more.

2. Accelerating the Payment Cycle

Field service businesses by nature largely charge for their services after the service has been completed. To smoothen the payment process for customers, NextService customers can take customer signatures on glass in the field concerning job completion reports, and automatically send the invoice to the customer in real time. Some customers have also taken this a step further to be able to take payment in the field, which hugely minimising the amount of back-office effort required to receive payment.

Smart field service businesses are doing everything they can to automate the payment cycle because fast payments equal better cash flow, which in turn allows for faster growth.

3. Solving the Scheduling Dilemma

In 90% of businesses we work with, scheduling jobs always come up as a massive pain point. Whether they are scheduling on a whiteboard, or in an excel spreadsheet, customers are frustrated with data inaccuracies, difficulty in changing schedules and coping with last minute changes.

NextService gives the scheduling team an easy to use drag and drop scheduler that allows for what if planning, job assignment and reassignment and the ability to filter jobs by skills required or location.

NetSuite for Field Service

Download our guide for all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite and boosted by our own NextService software. Lear more about the cloud-based ERP that can support your growth.

 4. The Move to Mobile

Almost every customer we speak with tells us that their mobile technicians have smart devices with them in the field but are not making the most of the technology that is already in their pocket.

NextService gives field techs a mobile or tablet interface with a daily, weekly and monthly schedule of all jobs, complete with case history, customer and asset details and more. They can fill in JSA’s in the field for compliance, allocate inventory to the job (and make sure it’s charged to the customer) all from their mobile.

NextService also integrates with the phones native map and GPS functionality to make navigating and locating customers easy. No more phone calls back to the office for customer details or addresses. Schedulers can see where every technician is in real time.

5. Customer Experience Champions

Field service is competitive, and customer satisfaction is critical to retaining business and gaining loyal customers. Most customers we work with believe that despite their best efforts, there is more they can be going to go above and beyond for their customers.

Through automated workflows, NextService customers have been able to design how their ideal customer experience would look and automate communications to improve transparency. One of the easiest ways to improve your customer experience is to make their life easier. Give them all the information they need about their case in real time and automate their customer journey. This automation saves hours for customer service staff and frees up their time to start adding true value and personalised service, not just chasing paperwork.

6. Real-Time Visibility

In most cases, before NetSuite and NextService, our customers are working on a number of disparate databases that do not share information. Whilst this might be ok, when you look at each department in a silo, there is a huge opportunity to gain access to business-wide data that will help improve operational and financial decision making and give invaluable insights into business KPI’s and performance.

NetSuite boosted by NextService is a single platform of technology. Having everything in one place facilitates the ability to build reports and dashboards and thus making better decisions. Also, because it is one technology, the ability to change and be flexible as you grow is immense.

7. From Reactive to Proactive Service

The Internet of Things integrates maintenance networks into a digitally connected customer care ecosystem. Machinery connected to the internet can turn data into immediate predictive actions that can drive major improvements in how businesses deliver world-class services.

Every day IoT-enabled sensors and connectors are integrated to machinery and equipment, allowing field service companies and their technicians to receive regular reports from the systems they’re monitoring, allowing them to react to emerging issues before they cause disruption. This results in not only happier clients, but also simpler fixes rather than large-scale repairs.

SuiteApps are programs built for NetSuite’s API that connect to the same database as your NetSuite data. This integrations enable NetSuite to communicate with an infinite range of equipment and hardware, making it a powerful centralised ERP solution.

In late 2018, NetSuite announced the launch of SuiteSuccess starter edition, which is price and bundled with small service businesses in mind. With the addition of NextService, Field Service Companies both large and small have a new option to consider when evaluating their software strategies.

 

Want to know more?

To find out more about how Klugo has helped more than 150 Field Service businesses modernise their technology platform:

Top 5 SuiteSolutions to Improve Sales Management in NetSuite

NetSuite is well-known for enabling businesses’ sales team with unique visibility into every aspect of the customer relationship, from support cases to bills, contracts and inventory. With powerful and customisable real-time dashboards, sales managers and reps using...

Top 5 Features of NetSuite Starter Edition to Automate Small Business Administration

The SuiteSuccess Starter Edition, which was released earlier in 2018 to the Australian market is turning heads in the small business world. For companies who feel they are hitting the limits of what small business accounting software can do to support their growth,...

Xero vs NetSuite. Migrate to Cloud ERP in 45 Days.

Products like MYOB and Xero provide outstanding accounting functionality. However, as businesses grow and prepare for the future, they find that the complexity of managing their distribution operations increases, and the limits of these entry-level software packages...

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,...