Franc Rebernik and his company, Knightguard, had a compelling reason to adopt the latest innovation in field service management software. The large Australian security firm wanted to win the tender for a big NSW Department of Education contract. While the use of mobile job management software wasn’t mandatory to win the tender, the prospective client made it clear that it was desirable.
“They said, ‘Look, this is what we’d like, and if you can supply it, all well and good; if you can’t, then so be it’,” Rebernik recalls. “There were actually quite a few [security] suppliers that turned around and said, ‘No, it’s too hard. It’s too expensive.’ Having an electronic platform added credibility to our bid.”
Having chosen GeoOp as its mobile job management partner, Knightguard won the contract – providing secure cash-in-transit services for 2000 NSW government schools. Licensed guards attend schools across the state to collect specially marked cash bags and safely deposit them in the bank.
Rebernik, Knightguard’s Business Development Manager, said selecting workforce management software for this job was an easy decision for his business, although it’s a step many in the security industry have not yet made. Pen-and-paper systems remain the industry standard, with many companies sticking with requisition forms and job receipt books. He says that Knightguard, which has been a leading security company since 1990 and has 3000 clients across Australia, is setting the benchmark and that the industry needs to catch up.
A good field service management system is not only easy to set-up, it offers infinite advantages over traditional paper-based methods. The key benefit is that it allows end-to-end job management. Customers can request a job and the business can easily view its field staff schedules and locations. It can allocate the job to the right mobile worker, and provide all relevant information immediately. Once onsite, a worker can take notes and photos – sharing them with staff back at base in real time – and collect signatures and payment when the job’s over.
Excellent mobile job management software drives efficiency by safely storing customer information and field staff information and making it available everywhere, at all times. Job details aren’t lost because of misplaced written messages, unmarked manila folders and locked filing cabinets. It saves businesses time, by eliminating or reducing manual processes, and supports occupational health and safety (OH&S) needs by keeping track of their field staff. It is available offline, too, for times when field workers aren’t connected to the internet.
Knightguard is progressively rolling out GeoOp across its statewide workforce involved in the NSW Department of Education contract. Having just been through the process of selecting the right job management software, Rebernik has already found seven ways it has made his business more efficient.
Rebernik says Knightguard employees on the schools run do between 100 and 200 pickups a week. Done the “old way”, the guards would write down each pickup and deposit in a log and submit an order to the school at the end of each week to organise payment. “Now, with GeoOp, we’re changing the status of each job as it’s delivered or picked up,” he says. “At the end of the week, the guards can basically log on and filter the jobs for the week. We can do that from our end as well, so it gives us visibility over everything that’s going on.”
Rebernik says GeoOp has become an important data tool for the NSW Department of Education. “It gives our client the ability to filter certain information,” he says. “They would like to eventually filter down and look at different budgets, [such as] how much the schools are pulling out. They can extract different bits of information.”
As part of its security regulations, Knightguard needs to track staff movements closely and accurately. Mobile job management software allows the company to verify when guards attend schools precisely, and helps to resolve potential client disagreements over date and time information. “They [guards] have GPS tracking units on board their vehicles, but it’s good to be able to track them while they’re out of the car as well,” he says.
Rebernik said it was crucial that any system should be simple and straightforward. With GeoOp’s help, Knightguard has put together a cheat sheet to help newcomers understand how to use the system effectively. “We’re dealing with a very wide range of [staff] demographics, and some people aren’t as computer literate as others,” he says. “The way we’ve structured it, it’s pretty simple to use. We’ve really tried to implement that KISS [keep it simple, stupid] principle – that’s why we’ve put out a user manual for it. They [the department] also really liked it because of the ease of use. Initially they were petrified about the schools not wanting to take this on but we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”
Even in the early stages of the NSW Department of Education contract, Knightguard could see how job management software made its workforce more efficient, especially when guards were on site. “They’re able to get in and out a lot quicker,” Rebernik says.
Using a job management platform that works across different formats – iOS and Android – means guards can upload the software onto their own devices. With guards using smartphones they’re already familiar with, the company has saved on training time and hasn’t needed to buy specialist equipment. It also means Knightguard won’t be forced to equip guards in rural areas with job-specific hardware to handle just three or four jobs a day.
Businesses involved in cash and security know the importance of keeping cloud-based information safe at all times, and robberies are a clear and present occupational hazard. It’s one of the reasons Knightguard chose GeoOp. “The security benefits around it were fantastic,” Rebernik says. “One of the selling points was the fact that we could actually lock any of the guards out at a moment’s notice. None of the information is stored on a device. If a device is lost or stolen, we can cancel that out as well.”
One function GeoOp is not yet able to provide is information scanning. For this, Rebernik says, guards use the iAuditor app. “At the moment, our guards change the status of the job from ‘Assigned’ to ‘Collected’ and take a photo of the [deposit] bags within GeoOp. Then they open up iAuditor and scan the barcodes on the bags.” With guards collecting up to 10 bags per job, this takes much less time than writing down every 16-digit number. “At the end of the day,” he says, “we basically convert the information into a PDF and export it into a job within GeoOp.” GeoOp expects to provide in-app scanning in the future.
So what should businesses do to prepare for the move to cloud-based mobile job management software? The first thing they need to do is prepare their staff for the transition, says GeoOp’s Chief Revenue Officer Rhonda Robati, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the software and services industry.
“Change management is the greatest detractor of successful deployment,” Robati says. “To ensure business owners maximise their investment in new software, they should invest in up-front training. This will help field workers and admin workers embrace change and make the most of the application.”
She says that staff with mobile devices carrying the latest operating system can be set-up easily with mobile job management software. Businesses only need to plug in basic information to get started. “Your existing customer information should be added to the application,” she says. “When an existing customer connects, their information is on hand and a new job can be created and assigned immediately.”
Robati says a small business can be ready to use mobile job management software within six hours. “Realistically, a business with 50 users can be set up and trained to use the software within one or two days,” she says. “This is typically two half-days of onsite training, with admin included.”
She suggests any company looking to integrate other business software should do this after the field service management software has been rolled out to all users. “It’s an easy-to-use system focused on executing job scheduling efficiently,” she says. “I think it’s important to set up customers and jobs is the first phase and then move to potential accounting integrations, such as Xero.”
Knightguard’s Rebernik says both his company and the NSW Department of Education have been pleased with how the project is progressing. “We can track things and filter information very easily now,” he says. “The feedback we’ve been receiving from the schools is good and the Department of Education is extremely happy with the entire system. I went out there and gave them a demo a couple of weeks ago, and they were blown away.”
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