There are several steps you can take to help increase the profitability of your business. In today’s technology-driven world, successful electrical businesses use field service management (FSM) software platforms to streamline operations, remove inefficient processes, and eliminate time-consuming tasks.
All of these benefits lead to increased profits.
Another important feature of FSM software that can help you increase profits is reporting. In short, reporting involves compiling and evaluating data, and then sharing that information in an organized manner. Although it
is primarily used by management staff, business owners, and stakeholders, reporting can be beneficial for staff at all levels.
Whether you perform large-scale commercial installs or residential service and repair, business reporting tools are useful when it comes to increasing profitability. How? With proper FSM reports, you can make more strategic decisions, remain within your budgets, and analyze what is succeeding or what isn’t in your business in real time. Let’s dive a little deeper.
Making Strategic Decisions
The more information you have on hand, the more likely you are to make informed decisions. The key term here is “on hand.” You likely have tons of information floating around about the amount you spent on materials in the last month, how productive your electricians were over the last quarter, or which projects or service jobs generated the most profit. However, when it comes time to make a business decision, you need to be able to quickly and easily look at that information so you can make the decision that best benefits your business.
When your data is housed in the cloud and easily accessible, you can quickly compile your data and generate reports based on what you are hoping to determine. Not only will your decisions become more strategic, but your plans become more strategic as well. Reporting helps you take what you know from past experiences and receive a better view of what you can expect in the future.
Also, you can’t argue with data. If you are trying to make a business decision and need to encourage stakeholders to buy in, reports can help back up your reasoning, cut out the guesswork, and provide support for decisions.
Remaining on Budget
No one enjoys coming to the end of an install, or any electrical project, only to realize you’ve run way over budget. While there will always be factors out of your control that can contribute to a project running over budget, you can at least do your part to keep projects within budget and time frames as much as possible. Again, reporting can prove beneficial.
By running reports throughout the different stages of your project and viewing reports from past projects with similar components, you can get a better understanding of your material and labor costs and invoiced versus estimated profits. You can then use this information to adjust budgets as needed moving forward and avoid unnecessarily losing profits. Rather than wasting time making manual calculations, use reporting software to instantly determine your project status and make quick decisions to remain on budget.
Where are you most successful in your business operations?
Reports also function as an analytical tool that shows what is or isn’t working in your business. When you make an effort to generate reports regularly, you can start to pick up on certain trends over time. These trends can point to areas in your business that might be inefficient or operations that need some reworking.
For example, maybe you notice that a certain type of electrical service you provide is constantly taking longer than expected. Why is this happening? Pull a productivity report to see the estimated labor hours for the service, which staff were scheduled to that service, and the amount of hours worked versus the hours billed to the customer. Then, use this information to determine if you need to adjust your service quotes or maybe make changes to the staff dispatched to this type of service going forward.
Helpful reports for electrical businesses
If you’re interested in using reporting tools to increase profitability, but not sure what kind of reports you should be generating, these four types of reports are a good place to start.
- Profitability reports
As previously mentioned, reporting can help you make strategic decisions to increase profitability. A basic profit and loss report allows you to review the success of your past jobs and projects so you can make more profitable decisions. These reports provide a view of the costs involved, what was billed to the customer, and the gross and net profits.
- Inventory value reports
Do you know what materials you have in stock at this exact moment? What about the value of those materials? Again, technology comes in handy to provide a clear picture and save time. If you keep your inventory updated in your field service management software, you can easily run a report to perform an inventory count rather than spending hours manually combing through your warehouse. You might be losing money on untracked inventory without realizing it. Avoid this issue with inventory management software and reporting tools.
- Work in progress (WIP) reports
A work in progress report provides a quick snapshot of the service jobs and projects that haven’t yet been invoiced. As you monitor cash flow and business financials, this report can help you forecast expected profits based on materials and labor costs of in-progress work. This is especially helpful for project managers to keep an eye on budgets and actual costs.
- Custom reports
A good field service management platform will provide the ability for you to develop custom reports based on your specific needs. Pull specific information from your database to create custom reports for different departments or stakeholders and to make more in-depth comparisons.
For electrical contracting businesses that want to increase profits and remain competitive, software for reporting is not optional; it is vital. With the proper field service management software reporting tools, managing your business becomes easier and more organized. An investment in business technology will not only help you in the short term, but it will help you guide your business toward success for years to come.