Data collection is one of the most important aspects of the job when it comes to GPS installation. I’m not talking about data collection like what Facebook and Google use, either. I’m talking about actual, hands-on, data collection from your installation technicians in the field.
How does it work?
The first step is collecting the actual data. You need to see what your installation technicians are seeing, in real-time whenever and wherever possible. The second step is getting that information from the field technician to the back office so that the work can be tracked and billed as effectively and efficiently as possible. Being able to collect the data in this way also aids in the ability you have to update the GPS manufacturer partner and the end-user, as well. It will set you apart from other companies in your industry, simply because you will have access to information in real-time and will be better able to serve your clients.
There are several tools available to you, the business owner, to aid in this data collection. Google Forms is one that I’ve seen quite a few of my clients use. It’s free, and not difficult to set up. Once you have all your forms set up, and have granted access to your technicians, it’s as simple as them opening up the forms on their smartphone and filling it out. These can update in real-time, so your back office has access to the data immediately.
At Top Class, we use Fast Field, but there are quite a few providers out there that offer similar products. We tested five or six different options before we landed on Fast Field, so I would suggest that you take your time and really figure out what is going to work best for you and your company before settling on something. If you need to get data collection up and running right away, I would suggest setting up Google Forms to use while you’re shopping around for the platform you’ll be using long term.
Increasing your productivity and cash flow
This type of data collection will also increase your cash flow. I know, you don’t understand, but I’ll explain. Most of us in the GPS installation industry are on a 30-day billing cycle. So, if you’re waiting for the information from your installer, and they don’t bring it to you until the morning after the job is completed, and then it sits on someone’s desk in the office until they can enter the data, and then the forms need to be processed by your accounting department, and on and on. So if the job isn’t completed until Friday, you won’t get the forms until the following Monday, and so on. Whereas, if you have your techs using a data collection program that updates in real-time, your back office can start the billing and processing almost immediately.
Protecting your business
Data collection, if done right, can also protect your business. If something happens to one of the vehicles your tech is working on, that documentation can make all the difference. And the truth is, we’ve all had it happen. Your tech goes and installs the GPS system on the vehicle, and once they’re done you get a call from the owner claiming there was damage done during the install. Well, if you have your forms set up, and your tech fills them out right at the beginning of the job, that covers your ass.
I really can’t stress enough how important having this type of data collection process set up in your business is. And especially in this day and age of technology, there’s absolutely no reason or excuse for you not to be doing this with every single client you have.