Before partnering with Jonas Construction Software, and specifically implementing their field mobile software solution, eMobile, majority of Concept Group's business processes were completed manually. With their technicians completing manual work orders in the field, and having to physically return them back to the office, valuable time was being wasted and their billing cycle was delayed. Something had to be done.
By deploying Jonas eMobile, their technicians are now able to access the Jonas system, input hours worked, complete work orders, upload documents, and view work history right from their mobile device. They no longer have to return their paperwork back to the office, which not only saves the technicians and back office time, but allows them to take on more work and be more efficient. Since implementing eMobile, they have been able to increase their overall productivity by 10%, increased their volumes by 30% without increasing their back office staff, and have seen a 3 week improvement in day sales outstanding.
We recently spoke to Bob Gillis, General Manager at Concept Group, to discuss the success of the business since implementing Jonas eMobile.
What are some of the benefits that you’ve realized from being able to use Jonas eMobile in order to effectively allocate resources between job and service?
Bob: “Cost recognition. We benefit through eMobile by having flexible resources and being able to properly identify their cost allocation. Time entry is critical, and eMobile has been very good for us for time entry and to both the costing module and payroll module. So I would have to say accuracy of information and flexible resources are the two biggest benefits we have realized through eMobile.”
With respect to payroll, how has eMobile helped the business?
Bob: “Accuracy. The eMobile module affects the accuracy of payroll, through the quality assurance processes that we have been able to put in place. Our technicians are responsible for entering their time in eMobile, both on the cost and the payroll side of the detail page. Our back office staff is able to check and make sure that it matches with the expected hours, and simply approve the hours from there.”
What has been some of the real life savings that you’ve seen from using eMobile with your technicians?
Bob: “I think the greatest savings that we've seen since the inception of eMobile has been removing the need for our technicians to return to the office. Prior to eMobile, on Friday mornings, the technical staff would come in and submit their paperwork and we’d end up with three or four stacks of two feet high paperwork that we would eventually get to. With it came manual entry of time for payroll, costing, packing slips, all kinds of paper, and we were inundated with that paper. Our technicians would have to come into the office and submit their paperwork, so that's lack of productivity where they could be in the field servicing our clientele and our customer base.”
How has the accuracy of your information improved with eMobile?
Bob: “With eMobile, what we found is the accuracy of information with the problem description and the information that the technicians are providing to the office has been dramatically improved. Not only are the statements more legible, but they’re a lot more inclusive, therefore a lot more information is coming back. I think partly because how we divide out that information within eMobile, but it's also the fact that it's easier to use and the interfaces are better, so it's being used more as well. We also have a safety component within the spare fields that reminds everybody involved with that work order what we're looking for with respect to safety.”
What was a day in the life of a service technician prior to implementing eMobile?
Bob: “A day in the day life for a service technician before - what would happen is they would come to the office and collect a work order and go to the field to satisfy customer demand. They would fill out the paperwork, keep it with them, and then on a Friday would submit that paperwork, including all supporting documents. By the end of the week, they would have roughly twenty pieces of paper that supported their activities throughout the week, as well as a paper tracking of their time towards these jobs for payroll purposes. So they would be in and out of the office fairly continuously throughout the week to support that paper routine.
The time taken by the back office staff as you say with the paper processes, they would primarily focus initially on their time entry, because people are most important; and so that would take until Monday sometime to get the time entry done for our staff. Then we would look at entering the costing items into our system, and then we would look at invoicing. We probably didn't even look at invoices until the Wednesday for the completed work orders, and then we would get through those eventually. So some invoices were not even considered to be looked at until Thursday, Friday of the following week.”
Now, with eMobile, what is a day in the life of a service technician like?
Bob: “With eMobile, everything is almost instantaneous. The technicians complete their work, the problem description, the detail page, service items, and then they complete the change of status of that work order. Instantaneously, this information is sent to our back office staff and we will evaluate the work order and all the complimentary information that is in the Digio Document Management System and make sure that we have our costs and supporting documentation. If the information is correct, it is prepared for invoicing, and it goes through the approval process within Digio.
The pre and post eMobile worlds are hard to depict quantitatively, but what I can definitely say is that it would take up to two weeks to get an invoice out before eMobile. Whereas today, technicians are completing work in the morning and two hours later we have the billing preparation and approval process completed. In many instances, the invoice is sent out to the customer electronically, and we can get paid the same day.”
With respect to ROI and productivity, have you experienced any gains with Jonas?
Bob: “At Concept, we have an incredible administrative staff that supports the service team, and that staff has stayed static for two and a half years. During this time, we have increased our volumes by 30%, and our administrative staff has not increased.”