Why Workforce Management Software Is Better Than Spreadsheets
Spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel are without doubt a powerful tool for small businesses. With enough know-how it’s possible to use Excel to analyse more than just financial data – but that doesn’t mean that is how a business should operate.
Using spreadsheets instead of workforce management software might appear to be the cheaper solution in the short term, but in the long-term it is nowhere near as cost-effective.
The assumption when using spreadsheets to power a service industry sector business is that the company is saving money by using a cheaper program than a full workforce management suite. It’s an easy mistake to make – after all, Excel is a powerful program and in the right hands it is fairly easy to create very powerful workbooks and formulae to calculate quotes, invoices and the like.
However, the problems start when you need to move that data. For example, while the data might be correct in the back office, how long will it take to be updated in the field? If you are keeping track of inventory on Excel, how long will it take for field engineers to get the latest inventory on their mobile devices? In an industry where an engineer might need to make SLA-critical decisions on the fly based on how available stock is, there is no way Excel will be able to help them make that decision.
Likewise, for many small service industry companies cash-flow is of absolute importance. Any delay between doing a job and invoicing is critical – meaning that a business cannot afford for there to be any issues when transferring data from excel to an accountancy platform. Normally, the best case scenario the info can be transferred across via a file such as a CSV. However, if manual data input is needed to transfer information across, then there is another element of human error that could potentially be thrown into the mix.
Workforce management software suites like Joblogic are designed to prevent issues like this. Because information inputted into Joblogic is stored in the cloud, it’s available to engineers via their smartphones in real time, enabling them to know their calendar and stock information immediately. Likewise, because Joblogic allows you to invoice directly from job sheets, there is no loss of data there either.
Another thing to consider when looking at the usage of workforce management software over spreadsheets is just how intuitive spreadsheets are.
For example, using Excel to schedule work for engineers is a hack. It can be done – but it’s not what Excel was designed for, and as such the potential for error is there. Spreadsheets are reliant on the information that is put into them – for example it can’t work out what the most effective use of site engineers is based on where they are travelling to. That information would need to be calculated by the person doing the data entry – causing more work.
Is a spreadsheet going to identify scheduling conflicts? Will it be able to send out jobs to engineers who can simply click the postcode and get directions? If an SLA-critical reactive job comes up, is it possible to rejig schedules and send that out to site engineers from Excel?
Of course, the answer to all of these questions is that it can’t – because it’s not what Excel is designed for.
With workforce management software like Joblogic in place, it’s possible to do all these things. With the scheduling module it’s possible to schedule jobs as they come in, and group them by geographical area and by customer. It’s also possible to check to make sure there are no conflicts and that all jobs are scheduled as effectively as possible.
Likewise, when using the mobile tracking app, jobs can be deployed to engineers in real time, with notifications being pushed to his smartphone when a new job is sent. This is really good for when a reactive job comes up that is SLA-critical, alerting the engineer immediately.
Replacing Your Spreadsheets with Workforce Management Software
If you’re currently using Excel or a similar spreadsheet program to power your business, then it’s entirely possible you are facing some of the issues above. Contact us today to find out how you can improve the effectiveness and profitability of your company by making the move to workforce management software.