Seasonal Businesses: Tackle Fluctuating Demand with Technology
Service businesses like Landscaping, HVAC or Snow Removal Services can have an unpredictable, seasonal business cycle. The lean months can be long and can ruin your profitability numbers. Or as in the case of our snow removal services friends with the recent Arctic blast, it can lead to a nice little windfall (pun intended)! In any case, fluctuating demand is a major headache. And managing the field team strength to chart the demand dips and spikes is probably the toughest job of all.
It is not just the issue of how many and when. You need your new people to be up and running as soon as possible. This skill management is also complicated by the fact that there is high attrition among many such seasonal industries.
That being said, numerous business owners take the seasonality as an opportunity. The companies that succeed in these industries are those that are able to work lean and mean, optimizing their resources based on insight, analysis and technology.
SMB service companies can now view field team data in real-time, helping them to dispatch new jobs efficiently. More importantly, they can instantly analyze the trends and estimate the peaks and troughs in their business. Software like our FieldEZ mobile app, makes it much easier to gather customer data, initiate invoicing and billing on-site, and get live peer consultation on the job.
Technology can also help in knowledge and employee retention. Field Service Management solutions reduce paperwork and data entry – moving employees from doing the mundane to more productive chores. The result is an engaged, productive workforce. And that’s only a good thing!
These systems are a wealth of data, insight of information. Used effectively, it can dramatically improve first-time fix rates. For example, a field tech can save his resolution for a particular maintenance ticket via his mobile app. This will then sit in a repository (tagged so that it is easy to search). A quick query is all that is required to tackle new maintenance jobs of the same kind!
Cloud technology and SaaS is also another boon for these service organizations. Some of our customers like those in boat maintenance do not work for the winter months. User-linked monthly pricing allows you to ‘hibernate’ your systems – and get the best bang for the buck!
Controlling costs around demand fluctuations can be a challenge for service organizations. However, with smart contemporary tools and proper planning – this can be contained and indeed leveraged!