A Guide to Handling Increased Business Costs Through Enhanced Reporting and Processes - Banner

A Guide to Handling Increased Business Costs Through Enhanced Reporting and Processes

One of the biggest challenges that field service and facility management companies face is fluctuating costs. With root causes as varied as market trends, inflation, unforeseen events, and circumstances, cost increases are beyond your control. What is within your control is the challenge of rising costs. Adopting a strategic mindset and being proactive in approaching the problem can optimise your business processes to help you manage your expenses, giving you more freedom to keep prices competitive and your customers happy.

Why are costs going up?

The cost of living has become a common phrase in people's vocabularies. Still, the same processes that impact the cost of energy bills and weekly groceries also affect business operational expenses. Whether it's increasing raw material prices, global events impacting supply chains or new regulatory requirements, your business's operating costs will grow over time, so it's essential to understand the impacts on your business.

Start with your reporting

The first place you need to look at to handle your increased business costs is your reporting capabilities. Without accurate reporting, you will inevitably struggle to understand where your opportunities to reduce costs are, so it's vital that you have a reporting system that gives you an overview of how your business is performing across a range of metrics. Analysis of these metrics will allow you to make data-driven decisions about your resource allocation and cost-cutting measures.

Most field service and facility management businesses have yet to invest in their likely outdated reporting systems. Investing in modern reporting software that allows you to streamline data collection and enhance accuracy and real-time insights is recommended. A cloud-based field service management software or facility management system will give you the base level of reporting to cut costs effectively.

Focus on your business operations

The core of your everyday business activities is where you'll accrue the bulk of your operational expenses, so by streamlining your day-to-day operations, you'll be able to see actual results across your business, which will either reduce your costs or help you increase revenue so you can maintain profitability without raising prices.

The most common areas where you can improve your business operations are:

1. Streamlining Inventory Management

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Poor inventory management is one of the most common ways facility management and field service businesses waste money. Common parts being ordered almost automatically regardless of stock levels, larger purchases not being correctly quoted for in ways that are easy to report on, or just multiple locations and vehicles with stock that's hard to keep track of all add up to an unclear picture of what your inventory is, and that makes buying parts only when you need them very difficult.

With a cloud-based field service management system, you can give your field and office teams access to real-time information that will clarify stock levels across any site or vehicle. Your field teams can even update what items they've used, which will be reflected instantly in the inventory. This means you have an accurate overview of your parts and inventory, letting you order items only when needed, meaning you spend less on parts overall.

2. Manage outside contractors more efficiently

For facility management businesses, in particular, the use of outside contractors can be a costly process. Often, they'll just be given a job to complete, crack on with it and then send the invoice, and it'll just get paid. While this approach means work gets completed, money is being spent when you may not need to.

If you can get your contractors to use the same field service and job management software your field team uses, you'll gain more control over work completion costs and time frames. Invoices can be sent and stored centrally, making it easy to see the costs. The timeframe for job completion can also be provided by the subcontractor, allowing your office team to assess whether the speed of the fix is worth the extra expense or if the job can wait for one of your team members to become accessible to fix it.

With proper management, you can cut your reliance on outside contractors to use only genuinely specialised services needed to gain in-house skills. Outside of this, you may only need contractors, especially if you can...

3. Improve productivity


Whilst taking direct action to reduce the costs of the material parts and services you use is not possible, you control how much revenue you bring in. By increasing your team's productivity, you'll be able to get more work done for the same amount of cost, which, for field service businesses, can allow you to take on more jobs to generate more revenue and offset the increasing prices.

Productivity boosting can be done through more efficient job scheduling. With the right cloud-based software, you can quickly and easily assign jobs to your team based on their location, skill set and much more. This means you'll be able to give the right person to the job quickly. Once on-site, your team can access all the information they need to complete the job, get information on-site, your team can access all the information they require to complete the job such as stock levels, complete asset histories, as well as information about the client/nature of the job. This means they can spend less time looking for information and get the job sorted quicker.

With cloud-based software, you can even handle invoices, quotes, and payments whilst in the field, making payments more accessible than ever and decreasing the time it takes to go from job completion to payment received.

4. Making regulatory compliance simpler

One of the biggest time-sinks for productivity is regulatory compliance. Filling in the necessary paperwork to demonstrate compliance can be time-consuming and takes time away from completing other jobs that drive revenue. With the right software, you can create forms and checklists that will allow your team to complete all the compliance checks and records whilst on-site, making it quicker to complete the paperwork and letting your team get off to the next job sooner.

Taking things to the next level

If you're keen to engage with some of the latest and upcoming technologies, you can also look at how to use predictive analytics within your reporting systems. By leveraging algorithms and machine learning, you can forecast future costs, allowing you to make proactive decisions and adjust your approach accordingly.

On a more fundamental level, you can utilise best practices, such as SFG20 schedules for assets you manage regularly. This will enable you to plan for work schedules and give you oversight into how much capacity you will have in advance, letting you plan your scheduling more efficiently.


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