The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) business has changed the way buildings are designed, constructed, and occupied. In turn, technology and electronics evolution have reshaped how these systems are installed, how they operate, and how they are maintained. By standard, HVAC systems are becoming smaller, smarter and, of course, more efficient.
As in many other industries, developing a great product is essential to succeed, but it is not enough. To achieve total consumer satisfaction, there is much more that needs to be optimized, such as the back-office operations.
With this in mind, we have gathered the 5 biggest challenges in 2018 for HVAC companies and set some tips to facilitate the work of the technicians and the run of operations.
1. Complex teams
Managing a technical assistance team is a difficult and demanding process that can take up too much time with work assignments, definition of schedules, planning and monitoring of operations, and others.
To make these fundamental tasks easier, we suggest the use of Infraspeak Planner, a recent module that can help increase operational performance in HVAC companies.
Its use is similar to the well-known traditional calendars, but much more intuitive and intelligent. In this digital interface, managers are able to assign tasks to a particular technician, through a drag-and-drop feature, and monitor the run of operationsin detail. It is perfect for complex teams, since it is possible to organize the work and needed services in different and remote areas; optimize displacements and time for each task; and indirectly control expenses.
Infraspeak Planner makes the work of the managers much easier, which allows them to invest more time in strategic planning and prevents knowledge from being lost and transforms it into actionable insights.
Find more about planning operations in complex teams in our article about managing operations with complex mainteance teams.
Any technical assistant or sales representative handling the company products must be aware of their capabilities and should stay updated on any changes or upgrades. We recommend at least three hours of coaching a month, an easy-to-implement method that might help increase the communication flows and the final results.
Besides this internal investment, it is also important to speed up the process of reporting failures among the staff and between the company and customers, while providing the technician with all the information needed to run the service without excess bureaucracy or data loss along the way. Information should be as centralized and easy to access and manage as possible.
We have previously written in detail about how to improve communication within maintenance operations.
HVAC service companies feel an increasing need to invest in specialized equipment and cutting-edge technology. Yet, they also have to set the prices competitively to avoid losing customers to other rival companies.
The secret is to balance what is spent with the prices that are defined, always trying to reduce costs and adopting the best practices for the business.
As we all know, time is money, so efficient management translates into fewer failure corrections, less maney waste and more time optimization. Infraspeak can help with this as it allows for the elimination of up to 70% of the administrative work associated with maintenance. The gains from the use of the application become significantly higher than its cost.
HVAC companies are busier when the weather is either very cold or very hot. Extreme temperatures increase the number of calls and the technocians’ work conditions get worse. These are also the times of the year in which they have to ensure that equipment is running at peak performance.
Being a business that might experience seasonal highs and lows, it is crucial to manage finances to take advantage of flush times and hold up during leaner times.
People can get really impatient, especially when they’re not happy with something, so technical assistants have to do their best to solve any problem as fast as they can. Besides the mandatory courtesy — being nice to people, even when they are not — they have to reduce the dissatisfaction before, during and after the problem shows up.
The best solution to control unexpected issues is to invest in proper preventive maintenance, which ensures that equipment works in full conditions for longer, with better performance and fewer failures. Changing the filters regularly, checking the registers, and scheduling seasonal cleanings are just some examples of what should be done.