The dream of many trade or service professionals is to own a business that runs like clockwork. After all, an efficient business tenders more work, completes more jobs and packs more billable hours into every week. But if your business still runs on manual methods like pen and paper administration, that dream probably feels impossible to reach.
But if physical paperwork is what your business has always used, then it might feel equally as impossible to move away from a system you’ve come to rely on over so many years. Being trapped in this mindset while still using outdated office admin methods is one of the key reasons why many trade or service businesses miss out on opportunities to grow and expand. A lack of growth can be frustrating for your employees too, who likely want to reach new levels of success just as much as you do.
The inability to grow can have severe implications for your future viability as a trade or service business, and an alternative way of operating your office is the only solution.
Solutions to the problem of slow and unfit manual methods are plentiful. But one stands above the rest as an answer to the issues we’ve highlighted above, digitisation.
We’ve already covered the many and varied benefits of digitising your field operations in a previous article. Digitising your office setup is just as crucial to ensuring that your business remains efficient and successful in future.
This article will showcase just what a digital system can do to transform how you and your office staff operate every day.
Here’s what you’re missing out on by not switching your office to a digital system:
Effortless job scheduling
As a trade or service business owner, neither you nor your office staff should ever have to say, “Sorry, we just have too much work to handle at the moment”. But the reality is that using manual methods to manage and schedule work can sometimes leave you struggling under a sea of paperwork and wondering what to do next.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of digitising your office operations is that it shifts the heavy lifting related to managing documents like job cards and schedules from people to computer systems. Instead of relying on your office staff to sift through work and schedule it by hand, a job management software can handle all the small details in a matter of seconds.
Additional functionality such as real-time job management updates that keep your office and field teams on the same page is also a bonus of moving from paper to digital. Instead of having to cross-reference where your team might be, a digital calendar with all the day’s work scheduled can tell you the status of each job and the allocated technician. This prevents your business from making mistakes like double booking impacting your workload and costing your bottom line.
Digital job scheduling systems also offer the benefit of allocating the closest team member to the job conveniently based on their GPS location.
Stress-free inventory and stock management
Knowing how much stock you have on hand and what parts you need to source is crucial for running any trade or service business. But no matter how essential it may be, it doesn’t make keeping track of what’s in your storeroom any easier for either you or your office staff.
Even something as simple as organising your current stock can be a time consuming and frequently inaccurate task when using manual methods such as ledgers and counting by hand. Situations like this are one of the main reasons why digitising your office operations adds so much quality of life to running a trade or service business.
You’ve probably experienced frantically searching through your inventory to see whether you have the parts needed to complete a job later that day. Imagine that instead of all that stress, you can instantly find that information using a computerised list of what stock you currently have available. Digital stock control systems also commonly include additional functionality that isn’t available to manual systems. Picture an inventory system with pre-built lists noting every part required for a job or even barcode scanning, and a list of preferred suppliers to automatically order from when stock items run out. That’s the power of digital stock systems, and it leaves traditional methods of inventory management in the dust.
An end to invoice double handling
Running a great trade or service business means finding ways to save time and improve the way you operate every day. That goal may have led you to incorporate an accounting package such as MYOB, XERO, Quickbooks or Reckon into your office administration. Incorporating an accounting package into your business admin is a great first step and likely showcases the benefits of digitising your office operations more widely.
But regardless of how good your accounting package is, it likely still means you have to double handle your invoices and process them manually both times. A core part of what makes digitisation so powerful is that it replaces these manual systems with more efficient methods, eliminating the need to double-handle invoices at all. Instead, a digital job management system can feed invoices directly to your preferred accounting package via a simple integration. It sounds like magic, but the amount of time it saves is very real.
Increased reporting capabilities and business oversight
Digitising your office operations has a hidden benefit you might not immediately consider when weighing up the other benefits like the ones we’ve outlined above.
Data is essential; it helps savvy business owners make informed decisions based on real evidence and grow their future success with guidance from their past performance. Digital systems are perfect for generating and storing data, and for a trade or service business owner, this can mean everything when it comes to making good business decisions.
It’s easy to generate anything from a simple profit or loss statement that snapshots your business health to a detailed report on employee productivity showcasing star performers and those lagging behind. The important thing to remember when considering the potential of digital reporting is that the sky is the limit. Any benefit we’ve covered in this article or its field digitisation companion piece can also feed useful data directly into the hands of you and your employees.
Many digital systems such as job management software packages also include report creation as a standard feature. These tools remove the hard work from critically evaluating your business from every angle and underpin just how worthwhile digitisation is for any trade or service business.
So don’t hesitate; now is the time to embrace digitisation and use everything it has to offer to revolutionise your office operations.
The benefits we’ve listed throughout this article are just the beginning of what’s possible with a job management software working behind the scenes of your trade or service business. Efficiency starts at the office, and the sooner you commit to chasing the benefits of digitising your office operations, the sooner you reach the success you deserve.