When you run a trade business, performance monitoring is essential. Without it, how can you be sure that your company is running efficiently?
If you don't have a job tracking system in place, it's tricky figuring out how many workers, hours, and tools you'll need for a particular job - after all, you'll have no data to refer back to. That's why, in order to succeed, you need to make job tracking a priority.
Have you heard of KPIs? The term - meaning "Key Performance Indicators" - is usually linked to pushy retail staff with sales targets to meet. However, bullying customers into buying another pair of shoes is not the only situation where KPIs apply. When you run a trade business, setting and monitoring your KPIs is a way to signpost where you're meeting your targets and where you can make improvements. And to set KPI goals, you'll need a job tracking system in place.
What Is Job Tracking?
Job tracking is a way of monitoring your KPIs and job management data to see how efficiently your business runs. It involves collecting relevant data, such as:
- Time spent on jobs
- Time spent between jobs
- Number of staff it takes to complete jobs
- The number of hours your staff work
- The number of hours your employees spend on your payroll without any work to complete.
By collating this information, you can then review the KPI data of each team member to determine how their work directly contributes to your bottom line. That way, you will be able to monitor where your business operations could be improved and where certain staff members may need further training and guidance. Don't forget; job tracking using KPI data is not about making negative personal judgements; it’s about finding areas where your business can improve its operations.
Determining which data is relevant to job tracking
Deciding which KPI data to track in a job tracking system may seem daunting at first. How do you decide which data is relevant to your business? The more transparent you make your KPIs, the easier it will be to get an idea of where different areas of your business work together well and where there's room for improvement.
So, what data should you track? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Revenue per job
- Total hours per job
- Employee performance
- Cost of materials per job
- Cost of wages per job
- Cost of wages per week against total revenue.
Job tracking software means digital accountability
When you don't have eyes on your staff, it can be difficult to take them at their word, particularly if you’ve hired new staff or if something goes wrong on a job. Even if you've hired a stellar team, and your work management systems are flawless, it can be tricky to gauge the situation when you’re not out there on the tools at the time of disaster.
But when you implement a reliable job tracking system, you take the guesswork out of accountability. A job tracking app gives you all the KPI information in the palm of your hand. Why did the renovation of Mrs Chol's ensuite take two weeks longer than quoted? Oh, there it is - Kerry ordered the wrong tiles. Since it's all - timesheets, invoices, quotes and expenditures - there in your job tracking app, you'll know at the touch of a button that the only thing you need to do to keep things running smoothly next time is to have a little talk to Kerry about double checking codes before placing large orders.
Employee time tracking
Finding ways to automate and digitise the administration side of running a business has been proven time and time again to cut admin time in half. When you use job tracking software and apps, you will reduce a significant amount of the time that you would normally spend organising rosters and timesheets, and tracking progress.
With the right job tracking software, you can input jobs and assign them to your staff. You can estimate how long each job should take and keep a check on progress. Based on how the job goes, you can then determine where your team can make improvements in their time management. Or, you can find areas where you need to adjust your expectations. Job tracking software provides a quick and easy way to improve the productivity of your business operations.
Job tracking software should be equipped with time tracking capabilities, letting you record labour hours in the field. Your employees can insert their start and stop times directly into the app instead of manually inserting them into a paper timesheet, which introduces a higher chance of human error.
When you track your employees' time in the field, you can easily spot your most productive workers. You'll also be able to see if there are any processes that waste your employees' time, and where you're succeeding in bringing in the most profit for your business. Equipped with such knowledge, you'll have a better insight into how your business runs and be able to make informed decisions to help grow your business.
What Is A Job Tracking Spreadsheet?
Most companies need some time tracking method to record and verify how long each employee has worked daily, weekly or monthly on specific projects. They also need to be able to keep track of incoming and outgoing costs, keep a record of their profits and set goals to work towards.
Technology has brought about these beautiful applications that make life a little easier. But there's no reason you can't replicate the results of a job tracking app manually. If you're not ready to commit to job tracking software or job tracking apps, a simple Excel job tracking template can be a great (and free!) short-term solution until you're ready to commit to something with a bit more oomph. Let's talk about job tracking spreadsheets!
A job tracking spreadsheet is a simple, manual tracking instrument - in this scenario, we're using Excel as an example - to keep track of all the information to do with the jobs your company completes. To set one up, you'll need to decide what information is important for your business to track.
A simple job tracking spreadsheet would include employees' start and finish times, job costs, and revenue. Formulating this data into a spreadsheet and giving your employees access to the document will then allow them to input their data, collating all your information into one spreadsheet.
If you're an advanced Excel user, you can even enhance your simple job tracking spreadsheet with formulas to calculate hours and profits, but these calculations can be complicated. Even with formulas, your template can only get you so far. You'll still have to double or triple-handle the information, inputting it into whatever payroll system you use to calculate payroll.
It is possible to track your KPIs without job tracking software. But you’ll need more time to do it.
What To Look For In A Job Tracking Software
Let's explore some of Australia's favourite job tracking apps. Effective job tracking software should be capable of collating all your relevant data in one place so that you can keep track of your KPIs and monitor your business processes for efficiency. Some of the best job tracking apps favoured by Australian tradies will:
- Schedule jobs
- Schedule teams to complete those jobs
- Track time, showing where your resources could be more efficiently allocated next time
- Order materials
- Record billable hours
- Keep your employees accountable
- Check compliance
- Speed up invoicing and payments
- And so much more.
Your business is unique, so the right software for you depends on how tech-savvy you are, how big your business is and what you need the software to do.
Best Job Tracking Software
Are you in the market for job tracking software? We've put together a list of some of our favourite job tracking apps to give you an idea of what's out there.
AroFlo is a smart, efficient job tracking solution that optimises your business' workflow by collating your KPI data in one place. This allows you to see where your business practices are succeeding and where you need to make improvements.
We've designed our job tracking software with flexibility and customisation in mind. You can bend the software to suit your business' specific requirements, which is one of the reasons why our customers love using AroFlo. Get started by booking a demo of our software and see what we can do to help your business.
Jira gives small business teams a space to plan, assign, track, manage, and report workflows. Their software is customisable to suit a range of different business models, from agile software developers and customer support teams to start-ups and enterprises. Jira Software, the #1 tool for agile teams.
Monday.com is a complete job tracking system designed to help your team complete projects efficiently, collaborate effectively, and grow online. It's a powerful project management tool. Monday.com provides you with all the tools and features you need to schedule and track your jobs to deliver great products and projects to your customers.
EyeOnTask is a field service management and job tracking software. It helps all trade business - from HVAC and plumbing to pest control and construction, organise, track, and manage their clients, jobs, invoices, inventory, equipment and contracts easily.
HouseCall offers features such as job scheduling with GPS tracking, dispatching, payment processing, estimates, automated receipts and invoices, real time customer notifications, text message capabilities, automated postcards, and email marketing automation to keep your business on track.
Build a high-performance team with the right tools
You'll only learn how well your business operates when you start monitoring your KPIs. Though it may seem "bossy" - almost invasive - to track your employee’s time, it's really about creating a learning tool, not a judgemental environment. Job tracking is about arming yourself with the tools and information you need to guide your team into more efficient practices. To do that, you'll need the right job tracking software.
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