5 Effective Ways to Reduce Field Service Costs

There are five ways an organization can reduce their cost of field operations and delight the customers at the same time.

1. Go Mobile:
According to a recent Mobile Analytics Report released by Citrix, the total number of enterprise mobile devices worldwide had increased by 72% last year. Without mobility, service organizations can’t overcome some of the critical challenges like lack of real-time information, reduction in productivity, profitability and overall customer satisfaction. Customers, service managers, and field technicians can effectively use a single mobile platform for raising a case, managing work orders and invoices and get a real-time visibility of field support processes. Developing a customized app can streamline the workforce and push the productivity even further. Internet connection is mandatory to get the real-time visibility through mobile.

2. Minimizing fuel cost:
Fuel price is increasing every year globally. Every time a field technician covers longer distance, organizations have to bear the cost of fuel which reduces the profitability. With map integration, technicians can prioritize tasks based on distance, which helps to cut down on fuel costs. In a day, field technicians have to visit multiple places depending on the task assigned by service managers. Map integration not only helps field technicians to track the locations but also it helps customer and service managers to track the particular technician on the field as well. Map intelligence makes a big difference in travel optimization and cost reduction.

3. Knowledgebase integration:
It’s quite possible that field technicians may not be aware of a particular issue every time raised by any customer. Any unresolved issue generally leads to lower customer satisfaction. Organizations should integrate a knowledge base with the present application to look at similar issues and see how they were resolved. This knowledge base can be enriched every time when technicians face a critical and unique case and share their experience in the portal. Parallelly, customers can also have access to the knowledge base which helps the customer to resolve the less critical cases by themselves. It eventually leads to the reduction of service requests and overall cost.

4. Parts Management:
Effective parts management also plays a crucial role while it comes to the reduction of costs and productivity improvement. Most of the spare parts used in the day to day field service are quite expensive. A parts management application integrated with the current application can help organizations to enlist the relevant parts related to the particular products. It can also help to get the list of available parts of the warehouse, enable the field technician with the right tools and skill required. A knowledgeable and skilful service technician makes all the difference when it comes to customer delight and ensures service department with high first-time fix rate.

5. Timely alerts and notifications:
Alerts and notifications feature should be there in service manager console of the particular application which organization is using currently. It can play a major role when it comes to cost reduction and overall customer satisfaction. A manager should be informed of the cases which are not been resolved or an SLA is not met. It should also notify technicians when a new task is assigned or the task priority is changed. It helps to save ample amount of time and increase the overall service efficiency.

The key to managing service operations effectively is to assign the right technician with the job. Mobility can help with faster issue resolution, reducing time and cost for the organization. Customized solutions with the consideration of the above factors can improve the response time. It creates a positive impact for service managers, technicians, customers and overall organization.

The Worst Cashflow Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

The worst cash flow mistakes a small business owner can make can be counted on one hand. They have one thing in common, and that’s about failing to follow the money. They’re about keeping your eye on the prize, and we go through them here, ending with advice about how to track your own company money using expense management software for small businesses…

Failing to think before you splurge. Great! You’ve started a business. You’re on the road to fame and fortune, and now’s the time to invest in an expensive suit and a new car, isn’t it? No, in short, it isn’t. This is exactly the time NOT to commit money – yours of the company’s – to anything you don’t need. So there’s the first lesson. Understand the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. To succeed in business you need a phone, but the Armani suit can wait…

Expecting the best. This is about your financial planning. Understand that you’re not going to be a millionaire in the first year. On the contrary, you’ll be doing well if you can afford to pay yourself anything like a salary in Year One. If you overestimate the number of units you can sell, or the clients you can get to come on board, then revenue will be lower than you predict, and you may find yourself overstretched with any finance package you’ve put in place.

Offering credit. Poor paying suppliers can cripple small businesses. If you’re made to wait for payment, that’s like offering them an interest-free loan, and you shouldn’t do it. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask for payment up front, so long as you’re ready to honour your commitment. After all, you wouldn’t expect the local supermarket to give you a month or more’s credit on your grocery shop (though if you’re a supplier to them, the boot would be on the other foot). In general, large organisations are slower payers, and also have complex internal procedures in place about how and when payments can be made. Better to work with smaller companies, where you have direct access to the person with the power to pay.

Being cash poor. If you’ve made careful and conservative cash flow forecasts in the early days of your business, everything’s fine, so long as cash moves as you’d predicted. But what happens if it doesn’t? If you have no cash cushion you could be in trouble. Try to have a couple of months-worth of cash in the bank so you could carry on if you had no income at all. It’ll help you sleep easier, too.

Not making an unpaid finance assistant work for them. Bet that caught your attention didn’t it? This is not about the kind of modern slavery that has people working for nothing, but it’s about technology. It’s about arming yourself with good quality business expense management software for small businesses and being disciplined in its use. In the early days of your business you need to be especially careful with money, because having little of it generally sharpens the focus in the need to be a good money manager. In later years, when you’ve earned a wedge, there’s no reason to take your foot off the control pedal. Keep a tight rein on finance, and you’ll be rewarded with better dividends in the future. Selection of the right small business expense management software will enable you to keep track of expenses very easily, but more importantly, it will allow you to interrogate the data, and show you how effectively you’re managing spending and cashflow – and show where improvements can be made. And picking the right package means it’ll offer excellent value for money, because the savings you make by using it are probably going to be more than the cost of investing in it in the first place.

The Future of Data Science

If you have a question in mind regarding the future of data science then you are definitely concerned with whether the techniques and tools such as Python, Hadoop or SAS will become outdated or whether investing in a data science course will be beneficial for your career in the long-run. But there is no need for worry. Businesses have only recently begun to realize the worth of their data and have just begun to make significant investment in these areas. So data science careers will be around for quite some time.

HISTORY OF DATA SCIENCE

The history of data as well as statistics is proof of the fact that the transformation of data into useful insights is something which has been happening for a long, long time.

The high-tech data-driven world has forced companies to develop cheaper and more reliable sources of data storage so as to store lots and lots of business data. The extraction of useful insights from this mass of data requires the skills and knowledge base of statistician and programmers. This combination of statistic skills and programming skills can be seen only in the DATA SCIENTIST. The job of data scientists is not only extracting useful insights but extends to designing new tools and techniques for processing and storage of data.

A SECURE AND LUCRATIVE CAREER AS A DATA SCIENTIST

The individuals with right mix of skills necessary for jobs as data scientists will have a challenging career. The job and salary prospects of DATA SCIENTISTS make it an even more worthwhile educational investment for new entrants and professionals in the near term. Data scientists will have a wonderful career in the future as well. The field of data science (machine learning in particular) is not going to disappear but rather outshine other fields. So the future of data science looks promising.

The market for data is regarded as highly competitive. Standing out from the crowd and having an edge over the competition are the two important traits to keep in mind when pursuing your career in the field of data science.

HOW CAN THIS BE ACHIEVED?

A lot has been discussed about the use and benefits of data. But now the question arises regarding how to accomplish training in this field. Professionals can advance their skills and knowledge base by taking classes in data as it is always said that upgrading one’s skillset (by way of training, education or any other mode) is the key to a successful career and a bright future. It is always beneficial to be in sync with the latest technology and trends.

THE FUTURE OF DATA SCIENCE IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE BRIGHTER THAN EVER

But remember, getting into this field is not easy. You will need to have an in-depth and thorough knowledge of all the techniques and methodologies utilized in the field of data science.

How Prepared Is Your Board for Cyberspace?

While cyber security is an important issue for boards, it has not always been top of mind. Because a major corporation like Equifax had a breach in its IT system, many companies are rethinking how to secure cyber security.

Boards around the world are examining the Equifax case to determine how to best secure their organizations valuable information stored in their IT systems. So who is responsible? Since the CEO has stepped down, it is apparent he was being held accountable. However, where was the board of directors?

In today’s world of cyberspace, corporate boards have to think about more than governance, CEO compensation and strategy.

As it stands, it is in the board’s best interest to ensure the company is not exposed to debilitating risks. Companies have workplace safety standards and sexual harassment policies to mitigate lawsuits. They even have disaster recovery plans in the event of natural disasters or occurrences like the World Trade Center plane crash. These plans and policies are in place to keep business running smoothly and perpetually. It protects customers and employees.

However, with sophisticated computer hackers around the world, it is no news that computer systems and valuable information can be breached and stolen. There are hackers who breach computer systems as a business. They ask for ransom in the amount of tens of millions of dollars. If it is not paid, they threaten to release the companies secure information, which sometimes could contain private email communication from top executives.

While many enterprises as large as Equifax may have disaster recovery plans for their physical operation, they may not have the same plan for cyber breach. The disaster recovery policies would include immediate action steps based on size of the breach, who made the breach, what information was taken, were company smart phones breached, what to communicate to employees, the public and shareholders as well as other important factors.

In some cases, it may make sense to inform the FBI. In other cases, it may be better to pay the ransom. The challenge with calling the FBI is that the hackers could be in countries like Russia. In Russia, the FBI may not pursue them. Why? Because the Russian government is always looking for good hackers. If the FBI exposes the hackers in Russia, the government may hire them, which can present long-term problems for the US. When it comes to paying ransom, it’s tricky. If you pay, they may hack you again as though you are an ATM machine. If you don’t pay, they may expose confidential information. These are also the kinds of challenges that directly involve the board.

What’s most important is that the board is talking about cyber security before there is a problem. There should be constant audits of the cyber security system to mitigate any risks. In addition, as a board, they should hold the CEO accountable for that security. Furthermore, there should be clear policies to guide the board and the executive team on how to handle the various moving parts in a delicate situation. Boards with disaster recovery plans and high accountability with the CEO are more likely to be forward thinking about cyber vulnerabilities and proactive about updating the security system.

Palm Oil Plantation Business in Indonesia: How to Get Started

Palm Oil Plantations are a very lucrative agricultural business for agriculture entrepreneurs and companies to invest in. The potential in this business makes palm oil one of the largest revenue streams in Indonesia. After the President of Indonesia Mr. Joko Widodo (Jokowi) imposed a moratorium on the land available for plantations, the value of palm oil plantations has increased dramatically.

The process of acquisition or take over of plantations, especially oil palm plantations, is not as easy as imagined. There are a number of important factors that are key to success in the take-over of oil palm plantations that must be followed and implemented based on the principle of gentlement-agreement by each party.

Considering that transactions in the property sector, especially the take-over of oil palm plantations, contain very high capital business and involve many parties as mediators, the government in this case the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia feels the need to make rules to safeguard the rights and obligations of the parties involved through the Minister of Trade Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia no. 33 / M-DAG / PER / 8/2008 concerning Brokerage Company of Property Trade.

However, even though there are regulations governing trade transactions, it is not uncommon for a transaction to be too convoluted and less cooperative between mediators, so that the take-over process actually becomes unsuccessful or completely void.

The following are steps to acquire a palm oil plantation in Indonesia

First, contact a trusted brokerage firm and ask if they have palm oil plantations to sell. Do not contact individual brokers as they may not have the complete detail on specific plantations, and generally they are not clear with the actual relation to the available plantation. Such cases often occur in Indonesia and you should make sure that the plantations have no legal issues.

Second, ask the brokerage firm to do the due diligence so that you avoid future legal issues in Indonesia. A trusted brokerage firm must have qualified survey tools such as drone mapping and a reliable agronomist / business analyst team. Thus, there is a match between the plantation legal documentation and the actual physical plantation.

Third, make sure the selling price of the plantation is fair. Almost all individual brokers markup the original price up to 30%. You should be careful in doing business with these types of individual brokers because of this type of lack of transparency. In this case you need to appoint a trusted agent to represent you in the take-over process. A typical commission fee of 1-3% should be expected from the plantation selling side.