Why Your Productivity Sucks (and How Field Service Software Can Help)
Ok, not your productivity.
Your techs' productivity.
But it's not their fault.
It really all comes down to this. You get what you inspect, not what you expect.
That’s essentially the same thing as the classic phrase “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
With labor as one of your biggest costs, how do you inspect it? It needs to be more than seeing labor as a percentage of sales, accompanied with the usual fist-pounding about how you expect people to be more productive for their buck.
Reducing labor cost during a busy time of year isn’t always an option outside of restricting overtime, unless you’re faced with some hard choices (read this article in Irrigation & Green Industry, by Judy Guido, for an honest opinion on that matter). You set a rate, your techs work for that rate, and you pay them what they’ve earned. But what you can do is regularly inspect productivity, and field service software that provides mobile time tracking is a great tool to use.
But first, what is your current productive time percentage?
What is it? What percentage of your payroll hours contribute to revenue, or are “billable hours”. Many contractors don’t know (and a gut feeling isn’t enough). The contractors who begin to track it say they sit at 50-60%. The contractors who track it objectively and accurately using field service software can sit as high as 90%.
Here’s how a few of our customers have told us they’ve reached that number.
- Tell your guys you’re watching it.
We’re not talking bad-cop action here. Just state that this is very, very important to the continued success of the business, and you’ll be keeping an eye on it. Just by making it known, contractors have seen an improvement. You get what you inspect…
- Stop giving raises for loyalty alone.
No more raises just because it’s been another year. Now raises are given based on value, and an employee’s productivity percentage is a major factor. Loyalty, seniority, experience, they all still count, but it can’t be the only factor. Now you’ll say, “John, you’ll get your next raise when you increase your productivity percentage by 10%,” or whatever number is appropriate and realistic.
Every pay period post the latest productivity percentages, by employee. That’s it. Give the most improved and best players a verbal high five and move on. We are all competitive by nature. Create an environment where productivity matters and is recognized, and watch the healthy competition flourish. And if you still feel like you need an incentive, take the two best (most improved and overall best) out to lunch once a month.
A note on objective, accurate data:
You are a leader, not a bad guy. Objective data means you are not picking on someone, you are pointing out legitimate areas of concern, areas that need to work to meet your expectations and the needs of the business. This is the real value of field service software: it provides accurate, objective, actionable data.
One more way to control productivity? When you schedule jobs, tell your people how long you expect each job to take. Setting a "time budget" ensure things get done in that timeframe! Think about it, if you give me four jobs, I will assume that's my day's work. Those four jobs will fill 8-10 hours. But if you give me four jobs and tell me you expect them done in an hour each, you can bet I'll be checking in afterwards and asking, "What's next boss?".
Time budgets. Set 'em!
Objective productivity. Measure it!
Success. Take it!