This is the second of a two-part blog series.  Click here to read the first in this blog series which discussed technology requirements for mobility and subcontractor management.

With over 40 MEP and HVAC projects, Jolt Consulting is well versed in assisting MEP and HVAC service organizations navigate their business and technology challenges.  For more information on we have helped others in your industry, visit our case studies and client results or contact us today.

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The famed science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke once proclaimed, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.”

Perhaps banking on “magic” isn’t the best strategy for your mechanical, electrical, plumbing (“MEP”) or HVAC company, but implementing technology that meets your industry specific needs just might be.

Most service software solutions meet basic service requirements of work order creation, scheduling/dispatch and field technician activity, however, these are only “table stakes”.  When it comes to the MEP and HVAC industry, software companies may indicate they meet industry specific requirements, but in reality, most fall short.  This causes challenges for service organizations to find and implement solutions that will enable their specific business objectives.

Let’s consider how Best-in-Class MEP and HVAC service organizations should evaluate, integrate, and leverage technology to solve their specific industry challenges.  These service organizations must “dig deeper” into the technology company’s capabilities and examine how these providers solve their MEP and HVAC specific business needs.  Let’s examine the final 3 of these 5 key areas.

Quoting and Estimating

To systematize customer estimates, evaluate how/if the solution has basic Configure Price Quote (“CPQ”) capabilities for service and/or light construction work.  Quotations are largely based upon field observations that are initially built in the field and automatically routed to the back office.  CPQ capabilities provides the ability to append drawings or other reference documents and link these the quote.  Additionally, the ability to track the lifecycle of the quote – from draft to approval – needs to be factored in.

Complex and Varied Service Contract Management

The MEP and HVAC industry has service contracts that are becoming increasing complex.  Not only are there various tier options (e.g., bronze, silver, gold), but these options are becoming increasingly applied at the installed asset level vs. overall customer or location levels.  Each of these tier options carries with it a different set of services provided and service level agreements (“SLA”) to drive a base level pricing structure.  The end customer pricing is ultimately calculated by adjusting the base level pricing with modifiers such as geography, customer specific pricing, etc.  Another industry pain point is the ability to define different dollar amounts that are allocated across the contract milestones and the ability to recognize this contract revenue independent of invoice dates.

“Lite” Project Management

Whether a small upgrade or retrofit, service work that falls between normal, daily field technician break/fix/PM work and long-duration construction work cause challenges for service software.  It’s imperative for any “well-oiled” business to optimize workflow from a project management standpoint.  The ability to link related tasks in a serial or parallel fashion and manage these work orders in a project fashion (e.g., crew assignment, scheduling) is fundamental.  An operational benefit of utilizing project management functionality within the service platform is the ability to provide an estimate of total projected project costs based on projected labor, parts and expenses and track actuals.

Best-in-Breed versus Platform

The MEP and HVAC industry traditionally has approached technology via a platform approach, that is, a single software solution runs most facets of their business; financials, purchasing, construction, service, etc.  However, often the service “module” of the platform is limited and not robust enough to support the organization’s goals, drive operational efficiencies and create a differentiated customer experience.  As service becomes increasingly important to companies as a larger percent of their revenues and at higher profit margins, more and more MEP and HVAC companies are transitioning to best-in-breed service software solutions that are integrated to the back-end financials.  This is critical strategic decision and much thought must be given to determine the right approach for your company.

Conclusion

The MEP and HVAC industry has many industry specific needs that service software technology companies struggle to meet as part of their core solution.  This causes challenges for service organizations to find and implement solutions that will enable their specific business objectives.

Service organizations must “dig deeper” into the technology company’s capabilities and examine how these providers solve their MEP and HVAC specific business needs.

With over 40 MEP and HVAC projects, Jolt Consulting is well versed in assisting MEP and HVAC service organizations navigate their business and technology challenges.  For more information on we have helped others in your industry, visit our case studies and client results or contact us today.