The topic of discussion in this blog piece is that of scalability and how that is possible once you have implemented a well-thought through and tailored CMMS solution for your company. In a very real sense, making such a change to your operations is like discovering you have gears whilst pedaling uphill: what’s possible grows for the same effort. In the case of Shepherd, the CMMS solution makes this leap in efficiency even more possible by being native to NetSuite: read on to learn how.
Recording all information and making it available in the field is a simplified description of what Shepherd does: Shepherd automates communication. This is communication that occurs without the user’s knowledge. This is no bad thing considering the volumes of information concerned, and the fact that having to pass that information through a user is often precisely what a Shepherd client is hoping to eliminate.
The human element
Such communication takes place between sales, accounting and servicing. Before the roll-out of Shepherd in a company, it is not unheard of that Sales might sell a service that is then not carried out by the servicing team. Or, perhaps a task was undertaken by the servicing team but never invoiced. Why does this happen? These mistakes occur because the processes used require someone to actively inform the other departments what needs to be done as well as perhaps what has been done, and sometimes that process fails.
These mistakes can mean inefficient work that costs more or work that goes unbilled. Regardless of which, one result remains the same: there is damage to the service provider’s reputation in the eyes of their clients. It all leads to the impression of a disorganized operation which, in turn, undermines the cornerstone of business relationships: trust.
Shepherd’s communication channels
Initially, sales will need to communicate with servicing to let them know that they sold a job that the service team is responsible for delivering. Shepherd does this automatically, once Sales logs the job their client has agreed to. This translates into Shepherd ensuring that the technician to whom the job is assigned knows what tasks they are expected to perform based on the service the client bought: what sales enters, the technician sees without an additional person acting as a go-between.
Accounting now needs to be informed because the job must be invoiced based on what the job required in terms of billable resources. Beyond the day-to-day operations, all this information can be further refined too, allowing upper management to have a broader view of their costs and income and to see if their current model is as profitable as they expect.
The task of assessing the profitability of a single aspect of the business would be very difficult if done by hand, but with Shepherd it is a simple case of ordering a report. That aspect could be a customer: are they costing your company more than they earn you? Or it could be a piece of machinery: is its maintenance more costly than the work it does for you?
Consistency with the service order
If the human element can result in mistakes due to oversights, it can equally result in mistakes because of habits. It is not uncommon for a technician to perform the tasks they usually do, rather than doing the tasks that job requires of them. When that happens, the issues that required the job in the first place will remain, at least in part, unfinished. That is bad service to the client and wasted time for your company as the technician must make a second visit to do what should have been done during the first.
Shepherd does away with this: partly due to the fact that what the sales person agreed on the initial work order is exactly what the technician sees on their device in the field. With that checklist, accounting can bill for exactly what the technician confirms was done, instead of the same tasks as they normally do out of sheer routine. That means time well-spent at site, fewer remedial visits to correct mistakes and more accurate billing.
Greater capacity and greater oversight
Within Shepherd’s verticals, scalability means your service managers can handle more technicians more easily. Simpler planning means service routes can be optimized to allow more services to be done in the same amount of time. And, as described above, there will be fewer repeat services devoted to addressing missed tasks from previous visits. From the rental perspective, you can forecast and plan more effectively so that you can increase rental utilization for each rental asset you own.
Above all, implementing Shepherd can give you a new perspective of your company operations: one where you are no longer in the dark about what it is your technicians (both a large expense for the company, and a large potential source of income) are doing during their shifts. It allows you to see, with significant ease, which technicians are efficient and generating good work, and which are not, helping you make informed decisions about your staff.
Forecasting is also far more reliable. Long-term forecasts are no longer a vague estimate but a clear idea of what you can or can’t hope to do in the coming months or year. You’ll know if you have enough staff to meet your goals, or too few. Coordinating holidays is also infinitely easier so that you are never left unable to cover your obligations. These benefits are all confirmed by the feedback of existing Shepherd customers.
Preparation is key to a smooth transition
Ultimately, once armed with Shepherd CMMS, the scalability of your company is either limited or enhanced by how ready you are to make the most of what it offers. As is often the case, preparation makes the transition far easier. Thinking through and documenting the exact service requirements of your own assets or those you look after for your clients is one step. Listing the competencies of your technicians both overall and individually will also help make sure you can deliver on the promises you make.
Another very useful preparation is taking the information in your previously-used paper manuals and recording it in a format that can be uploaded to Shepherd: whether in the field or on the plant floor, limiting maintenance work to how many copies of a manual exist would be such a wasted opportunity given that the entire knowledge contained in those manuals could be converted to a digitized version accessible to all, at any given time or place.
A further dataset that can be reviewed is what inventory is present in your service vehicles: it is a constant surprise to companies to see quite how much parts inventory they have distributed amongst the trunks and backseats of service vehicles. These parts are essentially invisible to the warehouse. There are cases known to Shepherd whereby long-lead items thought to be lacking suddenly appeared through this very process. Up until then, jobs had been postponed and turned down due to not having these parts when in fact they had been there all along: unknown to the company until the implementation of Shepherd.
Letting your company grow
These are just a snapshot of what is possible once you move to Shepherd CMMS for your maintenance, field service and rental management when more of your potential is unlocked and put to use.
If the functions and possibilities above sound like something your company could benefit from, why not take the first step to finding your high gear and ask for a demo to discover how much more you could do and grow with Shepherd as your CMMS.