The disruption caused by coronavirus has put almost every business to the test. Special regulations have had to be rolled out for essential workers across many industries, including those in HVAC industry. Staff within these industries are key in preventing further disruption from adding to the already significant pressure on consumers and businesses in the current climate. While having to adapt to new working environments and an altered economic landscape themselves, it’s now imperative that these workers can be as efficient and productive as possible.

While many business premises have temporarily shut their doors, hospitals, government departments, supermarkets and other critical facilities are busier than ever. In addition, for many, households have become their workplaces, schools or gyms. For both consumers and businesses alike, building maintenance has become both more urgent and spread over a bigger geographical footprint. To continue meeting the essential needs of customers in this trying time, businesses within the HVAC industry must find ways to be more agile and efficient, starting with the way they manage their workforce.

Using technology to track productivity

To continue meeting the essential needs of customers in this trying time, businesses within the HVAC industry must find ways to be more agile and efficient

It may have been a growing trend before, but ditching paper records and digitalising the way engineers are dispatched, tracked and allocated jobs is now imperative for building services companies. By digitalising scheduling and dispatch tasks, building services companies can overcome inefficiencies in operations and improve worker productivity. This not only makes a real difference to customers’ businesses continuity, but also reducing the impact of the current climate on the bottom line of companies themselves.

Monitoring each job in this way also means building services businesses can keep tabs on job progress in near real-time. If one overruns, they can adapt their schedules to dispatch another technician to the job. It can also help confirm workers are taking the breaks they need to stay alert, both on the job and on the road, in the context of engineers, fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers working longer hours to meet increased demand.

Making the most of your platform

In these uncertain times, businesses need tools to not only monitor the location of their mobile workforce, but also those which give workers reliable access to the resources they need to do their jobs.

Many businesses may already have some form of digital solution in place to track vehicles, jobs, resources and many other assets. Getting these existing systems to talk to each other, however, can be problematic. It’s therefore important for new solutions to integrate with existing technology and help reduce complexity, rather than increase it.

By digitalising scheduling and dispatch tasks, building services companies can overcome inefficiencies

One of the best way of doing so is by making use of a dedicated staff-facing smartphone app. Cost effective, simple and quick to install, apps connected to central fleet management systems bring a range of agility benefits for businesses. For example, they can be set up to automatically notify workers in the field of upcoming jobs or the expected duration of certain visits. This affords field workers a high level of efficiency, and means customers get the essential support they need faster and more reliably.

This access to maps, job instructions, quotes, invoices, customer information and more from their handheld device means engineers are better equipped to serve the customers who rely on them. Building services businesses can also track tools and other assets technicians might need to use to a complete a job, helping to dispatch only those with the right qualifications and tools to each job.

The need for mobility in uncertain times

While the majority of UK citizens are urged to stay at home, there are those for whom mobility is absolutely crucial. Field-based businesses must also contend with their own sources of disruption, such as unexpected events including vehicle breakdowns, vehicle theft and heavy traffic, all of which lead to lower levels of productivity and higher costs, not to mention the impact on the health and safety of staff.

By implementing a solid foundation of workforce management, businesses can help keep people and assets safe and secure, whilst also affording greater visibility of overall operations. These are the key ingredients to caring for staff and customers, and to maintaining crucial mobility in a time when the world is otherwise at a standstill.

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Derek Bryan Derek Bryan, VP EMEA, Verizon Connect, Verizon Connect EMEA

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