International Door & Operator Industry

MAR-APR 2018

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 22 of 142

20 International Door & Operator Industry™ Continued from page 18 ASSOCIATIONNEWS *On the next pages this report is published for informational purposes only. The information presented is given to the best of the knowledge of the IDA and is believed to be accurate. However, no person should rely solely upon this report before making any purchasing decision. This report is not intended to be, and should not be taken as, a recommendation, guarantee, warranty, or assurance of the ability of any software provider to satisfy the needs of any person or entity. IDA recommends that readers do their own independent research before making any purchasing decisions. IDA specifically disclaims any responsibility or liability relating to the use of the suggested products, and shall under no circumstances whatsoever be liable for any actual, special, incidental or consequential damages which may arise from such use. • Electronic payment – This feature allows a Technician to generate and send an invoice immediately after completing the job and accepting payments from the customer through various non-cash payment modes such as bank cards, ACH and eChecks. Inventory Controls - Ability to manage the truck and/or warehouse inventory based on parts used on job sites, and enable the warehouse to replenish truck inventory daily or as needed for scheduled upcoming jobs. It helps with maintaining accuracy on invoices and accountability of parts maintained on trucks. How do I choose the best vendor for FSM? Unfortunately, after we decide all of the neat things we would like our new FSM to do for us, the first place our business minds go to is – what does it cost? Can I afford it? Well, by now you've probably determined you can't afford to not invest in FSM. But you shouldn't have to mortgage the house to do it either. For smaller and midsize companies, there are now low-cost, cloud-based mobile apps available that can handle many of these functions. For companies with fewer than 15 technicians or those that are looking for a rapid deployment with a low investment, this new class of applications provides an affordable way to rapidly automate the field service operation. Granted, some of these apps lack more advanced features or may pose problems when it comes to scalability. But for small business owners in particular, the ability to quickly deploy a FSM solution outweighs some of the disadvantages. Costs of an FSM software system are often figured on a per user basis and can start at $15.00 per user per month and go as high as $150.00 per user per month (User meaning technician in the field and office staff handling dispatch). On top of user fees there are often charges for initial set-up, desktop software (if that is necessary) and training for some programs. For some software/programs additional fees could range from $1000 to $20,000 or more. For some the initial cost can be shocking, but keep in mind that using a good FSM system may eliminate the need for additional office support staff as invoicing and payment collection may be done in the field in real time, and scheduling reminders and follow up calls will now become automated. It is quite possible FSM software may even increase the revenue generated. Being able to create reports that accurately depict job costs and the ability to drill down to where revenue is generated and where it may not be helps in making business decisions that affect profitability. Another plus is having access to a dashboard in real time that shows you which tech or which truck is leading in revenue generation or maybe not. Dashboards can keep track of commissions earned and add incentives for technicians to sell more. What should I look for when choosing a FSM? Check to see if it has these key functions and features before making your final choice: • Cloud Based – Is it available in the cloud or only on-premise? • Mobile Platforms – Is it available on mobile? Does it have an app for iOS and Android? • Integrations – Does it integrate with the software you're already using? • Scalable – Can it grow with your company? Is it too much for your company? • Viability - Ability to work as intended or to succeed as promised, how complex would it be to learn? • Reputation - Google search and check those reviews. • Service and support offerings - what kind of technical and customer service is offered? A great way to determine whether a vendor possesses these qualities is by reading reviews from your peers or others in a similar industry that've used the systems in question. Reviews will give you more information than you may want. But certainly will let you know what you don't want. A good resource for online reviews is Software Advice. Good resources for an initial search is,, and All 3 of these have head to head comparisons of different software available and can even arrange demos. If you opt to talk to a company directly – ask for references. Most will have references that use their system and are in the door industry. 1 Gartner field service study, "Best Practices in Selecting Field Service Applications," written by William McNeill, Michael Maoz and Gordon Van Huizen. * The initial findings of the committee can be found on pages 22-23. This is a brief overview; the full report is available to IDA members. Request your copy by emailing your r Continued on page 22

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