Episode 6 | Duration: 15:07 | Special Guest: Bruce Paulson | Host: Trey Simonton | Series: Facilities Management
What's in this episode?
In our next Facilities Management Coffee Talk episode, we discuss best practices for service provider adoption and getting your network of service providers onboarded onto a new CMMS quickly. If you are interested in more information about better managing your service providers, check out our ebook.
Trey: Welcome back to the continuation of our second series in our Facilities Management Coffee Talks. Today our topic is focused on the roll-out of a computerized maintenance management solution, and specifically on service provider engagement or adoption of the new process. Our guest today is Bruce Paulson, the head of professional services at Accruent Verisae and a sixteen year veteran in the facilities management space. Good morning, Bruce.
Bruce Paulson: Good morning, Trey.
Trey: Welcome to the podcast. We hope you have your coffee.
Bruce Paulson: Yes. All set. Good to be here.
Trey: Fantastic, Bruce. As I mentioned in the intro, our listeners are really getting focused on solving very specific problems, and one of the things we're hearing more and more often is that they love the concept that a computerized maintenance management system, a facilities management software package, can be a single system of record that they can use as well as their service contractors, but everybody seems to continually stay focused on service provider adoption. Can you take just a minute here in the beginning and talk about best practices and how you get service providers to onboard?
Bruce Paulson: You bet. One of the most important drivers of getting service providers to adopt a new CMMS system is really starting with the customer. For our customers, they really need to set clear expectations of how they want their providers to use the system, and then to communicate that effectively out to their providers, as well as within their own organization, whether it's operations and, of course, across all the facilities maintenance organization.
Bruce Paulson: One other thing, sorry to step on you again, but the second thing would be that they really need to let those service providers know that they're going to be tracking and following up on a very regular basis with them as far as their usage and adoption of the system.
Trey: That's good. Do you feel like it's pretty easy for them to get on board? Sometimes this can seem overwhelming to them.
Bruce Paulson: Change is hard. In general, change is hard. We understand that and we do our best to, make a system that is very intuitive and easy to use. We avoid extraneous activities and clicks in our software to make sure that it's as direct as possible. We have dashboard tiles that really focus what actions need to be done in a simple and straightforward way.
Bruce Paulson: The other thing is we provide lots of training and support for those providers as they're coming on board with this new system, so that they know exactly what the expectations are and then the processes and activities that they need to take to get the job done.
Trey: That makes sense. If I'm a service provider, Bruce, I get why this would be really beneficial for my clients. What are the benefits for me?
Bruce Paulson: It's a great question. One of the key selling points in communications that our customers give to their providers is what's in it for me of this new system? It's obvious, for most of the providers, what the benefits are to the customer: better reporting, streamlined process to manage issues and performance and, really, to get more value and save money in their FM systems.
Bruce Paulson: For the providers, one of those clear benefits is that it's a quicker turnaround on payment. When they're tracking work and completing work and then sending invoices through the system electronically, we have optimized the solution so that those invoices accurately are reviewed and then approved for payment if they're clean and set very quickly, and then that gets into the AP system.
Bruce Paulson: Checks can get cut much quicker than in a payment or a paper-based invoice process, as well as if there's ever any hiccups and an invoice needs to get sent back for updating and editing, that process is incredibly quick compared to a paper-based process, where it really can be turned back, updated, and then resubmitted within minutes instead of days and weeks.
Bruce Paulson: Other benefits for our service providers is they get customized training for each customer's process of how they use that CMMS, and there's 24/7 technical support available to all of the service providers to call in if any questions or issues arise.
Trey: It sounds like communication's a lot easier. Man, if I'm a service provider, I would love it if I actually get paid quicker. That would be a big win.
Bruce Paulson: Absolutely. Money is kind of the key driver in a lot of these programs and that is a big benefit.
Trey: So let's get down to the hard question. What if a service provider just digs in their heels and doesn't engage? What do you recommend as a best practice to either hold them accountable or to penalize them if they don't engage? That's a big word, penalize.
Bruce Paulson: Number one, a customer is hiring a service provider to do a job. Part of doing that job is to follow the process of that customer, so if a service provider is not willing to follow that process, the simple answer is find a different provider.
Bruce Paulson: We can't always be so simplistic. We've got key providers that a customer really wants to work with. Sometimes they might be in an area where there's a very limited choice of service providers in a particular area, so they might have to do business with customers who have a little bit of leverage and may choose not to engage in that system in the CMMS process.
Bruce Paulson: Like anything, you can negotiate through benefits and penalties, or a carrot-and-stick approach or either/or. Sometimes, for customers that choose not to comply or adopt the system, and if a customers still needs to work with that service provider, then you might reduce rates. Even over the course of time, if you have someone who uses a system but not well, you evaluate that. You do coaching, you help them see how they can improve, give them ideas.
Bruce Paulson: Ultimately, you're going to award more business to those providers who adopt the system and show value and show great performance. You're going to award them more business and probably take that business away from providers who are not performing as well and not using the system to drive the value that the customers wants and expected.
Trey: Almost favored status if they are engaging in the process and helping the client's life be a little bit easier. That makes sense. So, as a service provider, now I've got this new process. Am I also going to be charged for it?
Bruce Paulson: That's a great question, Trey. A lot of our competitors in the CMMS space do charge the service providers just for access and use of a system, and that's generally also per customer that they have to charge for that. Our model is not to charge the service providers anything, so they're getting the access to the system and the benefits of the system: all that support and training and quicker turnaround in payment for their services without having to pay Accruent any extra fees on that.
Trey: That's good news. That makes, I think, biting into this a little bit easier. I heard you say earlier a best practice is that you track as your contractors engage. You track it as they download the application, start engaging via their mobile devices. Any thoughts on what percentage of adoption you see in the early stages versus what percentage of adoption your best practice clients see over time?
Bruce Paulson: That's a great question. The metrics really are very customer-specific, and a lot of that really depends on how well those customers, each customer, is communicating out to their service providers. In general, adoption and performance will increase over time when a customer has a great communication plan, a clear set of goals, and then good follow-up with their customers.
Bruce Paulson: For example, a best practice customer will set a set of key process indicators or success metrics for each of their providers that they want to see them perform well in X areas, things like when we say system adoption and usage, that means that they're using the system to accept the work order dispatched to them within the SLA, we call it our "accept SLA."
Bruce Paulson: Their technicians are getting dispatched and showing up on time to start the work on time. They are, if there is a fix SLA, they're fixing, completing the work, within that timeframe at a high rate. As well as providing a good value, their first-time fix rate is high, they are not having their work recalled for poor service at a high rate at all. The rate of invoice rejection is low.
Bruce Paulson: Those kind of things, when those are tracked on a regular basis generally, it's a quarterly performance review and they've given the providers a lot of access to data, whether it's dashboard tiles and reports so they can track their performance along the way on a regular basis, really in real time, and then those providers generally are improving on a regular basis, getting better and better. As they learn the system they optimize. They're making sure that their people are trained and working to meet those goals with the customer.
Trey: That's helpful, Bruce. It sounds like what you're doing is providing a certain level of flexibility in the beginning but over time really holding your top contractors accountable for being on the system. So that's very, very helpful. Go ahead, please.
Bruce Paulson: One other major reason for that improvement is our customers then see which providers are the top performers. To the previous point, they award those top performers with more business, and those providers who are not performing and not adopting get less and less business. So that clearly, then, impacts the performance improvement over all of the business as the good performers get more business to perform well in.
Trey: So, Bruce, I know you have tens of thousands of contractors using the system today. Do you find some of the smaller contractors do better at adoption than some of the larger groups, or do you find some of the larger contractors are already engaged?
Bruce Paulson: It really is a mixed bag. Sometimes the small contractors are hungry and agile and are looking to make their name and so they really step up and do a great job. Other times, smaller contractors might feel like, hey, we're such a small organization that this is just a burden on us to add this system and process.
Bruce Paulson: Sometimes larger vendors, larger service providers, are into their own process, and so they sometimes push back and feel like they have more leverage to push back to not follow these processes. What we've seen really successfully done with some large providers is they do have an option to buy integration because they might already have their own service management software and technical solution in place.
Bruce Paulson: They can buy integration from that system into our CMMS system, so it avoids some of the double entry of all the things from accepting work and dispatching technicians on site to those technicians checking in and out of jobs on site and updating that data. That really automates that for some of those providers that are large enough to be able to think about, having enough volume, even, to think about that integration being a good investment.
Trey: Sounds like the best contractors see this as an opportunity to show how good they really are. That's interesting. Well, Bruce, that's perfect. Thank you very much for your time today. We appreciate you knowledge in this area, and I have a feeling our listeners are going to want to hear back from you on other subjects.
Trey: To our listeners, thanks for listening in. We will continue to bring industry experts to the call to help you with the challenges you're facing today and try to make your lives a bit easier in 2019.