The fundamental principles and challenges of service technicians
As a service contractor, small or large, competing in today’s challenging economic environment demands more emphasis on image and productivity than ever before. First impressions are always important in any business relationship, but as the economy has weeded out some weaker contractors, consumers and businesses have become more exposed to professional level contractors (and how they present themselves) via HGTV and other contractor-oriented shows. They expect technicians to present a professional image, including tools, trucks, and overall organization and appearance. Tool bag innovations contribute to this image presentation.
From an efficiency standpoint, time has always been money for contractors. Any means to improve field service productivity can lead to a higher level of profitability and customer service. Service contractors are often plagued with inefficiencies due to myriad reasons: Job cancellations, traffic delays or bad directions, unforeseen complications on the job, processing paperwork, etc. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to solve some of these problems.
Tool manufacturers have been developing innovative hand and power tool solutions for tradesmen to improve productivity for decades: Di Bosch introduced its first power drill in 1932. In 1923, American inventor Raymond DeWalt introduced the world’s first radial arm saw, a sliding circular saw that could make long cuts with accuracy. Makita Corporation has also staked its reputation on cordless, battery-powered power tools – most notably, the hand-held drill, which it introduced in 1978. Skilsaw was invented in 1924, and Black & Decker invented the electric drill in 1917. Nail and staple guns, meters, etc. are more examples of tool manufacturers making a tradesman’s workday easier. The rapid pace of tool innovations continues to make tasks easier and create the opportunity for higher levels of technician productivity.
In addition to innovation in tools, technology offers field service companies tremendous benefits in the form of greater productivity and real-time access to information. Navigation systems (for the most part) ensure route directions are accurate while real-time traffic alerts recommend alternative routes. Service companies that use technology to monitor when technicians start jobs, test equipment, and finish jobs help route jobs more efficiently and improve field service utilization rates, labor productivity, and customer service. RMS Omega Technologies, a leading barcode systems integrator, reported that technicians who perform water tower maintenance and inspections can increase their productivity by 28% using mobile tablets. Motion Computing, maker of motion rugged tablet PCs, claims its software reduces fuel costs and drive times by enabling real-time load balancing and job status for dispatch; enables technicians to capture data while in the field, reducing error-prone and time consuming data entry processes; and, according to a natural gas distribution client, the Motion solution reduced the number of calls by 3,000 per month with significant monthly savings. Tablets also offer service technicians the ability to instantly access warranty information, source replacement parts, and access manufacturer equipment specs and schematics rather than relying on customer service departments while they are in the field. In addition, tablets dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to fill out invoices and work orders, which eliminates the redundant data entry and processing required years ago.
The Overlooked Innovation
While the implementation of technology and automation and upgrading to innovative hand and power tools are proven ways to improve time savings and productivity, there is an overlooked tool that accomplishes the two main objectives of enhancing a service company’s professional image and increasing productivity: The Professional Grade Tool Bag.
“A professional grade, organized tool bag enhances the technician’s image and company’s brand while boosting the service organization’s bottom line by offering substantial labor savings, productivity improvements, increased billing time and other intangible benefits.
Most tool bag companies employ product designers and engineers who have never worked a day in the field. These employees are challenged with determining how to design tool bags for work routines that they have never performed, and most likely do not understand. The end results are tool bags designed for price points and shelf space at Home Depot or Lowes, which puts the end user’s needs behind the economics of selling products to Mass Merchants.
The fact is, experience in the field is the only way to understand what problems, issues, and concerns tradesmen face on a daily basis, and understand how to design high quality, functional products that improve image and productivity. Although most tool bags serve as tool storage solutions, most are hardly functional, cannot stand up to the rigors of the of daily jobsite use, and require a technician to constantly search for tools. At Veto Pro Pac, tool bags are designed to address Roger Brouard’s (the company’s founder) frustrations with the many tool bags he used during his twenty five years working as a carpenter. In 2002 Veto Pro Pac revolutionized the tool bag industry and launched its professional grade tool bags with heavy duty patented center panel designs and tiered vertical storage compartments.
On the image factor alone, given that customers are keenly aware of each factor relating to appearance, including a technician’s tool bag, service contractors should invest in their technicians and provide them with professional grade tool bags that send a message to customers that they are dealing with a top notch company and technicians. In addition, outfitting all technicians with the same professional grade tool bag creates a stronger company brand identity and saves time and aggravation having to frequently replace the bags. The investment pays off by upgrading the image of the company, saving time, and improving the technicians’ sense of pride about their professions.
Contact us with any questions about the right tool bag for your line of work.