Better business insight, faster invoicing, improved cashflow. All these benefits can be delivered by investing in digital technology that will make your organisation work better. But when your engineers work at site, they’ll need mobile devices to access this business-enhancing software. And that sounds like it could be expensive.
We’re here to reveal three ways to help you jump the cost barrier so you’re ready to make the IT changes that will improve your bottom line.
Why Mobile Devices Will Help Your Team Work More Efficiently
As a specialist engineering company you know you need to move away from paper-based records and towards slick online systems.
You could ask your engineers to use their personal mobile phones to access and use online systems during site visits. But we don’t recommend it as this is a high-risk approach that comes with a whole host of security risks.
Instead, modernising businesses invest in mobile technology like smartphones, tablets and hybrids that fall somewhere between the two. Ideally, you’ll source hardware that’s made to withstand site visits, water, drops and accidents. This is a little more expensive but the devices will last much longer ensuring you get excellent value for money.
If funding these sounds like an expensive outlay, think again. Not only do Android devices provide a range of cost-effective options, but there are plenty of ways to invest in this technology without breaking the bank.
1 – Pay Monthly Mobile Technology
One way to fund your new hardware is to lease. This gives you the option to access the hardware you need without bearing the brunt of the entire cost up front.
By paying on a monthly basis, you retain more working capital in your business. Helping everything to run smoothly and ensuring you’re not over stretched. You’ll also get access to the latest tech, with items like tablets usually replaced every three years.
This approach has the added benefit that your team is always working with the most modern tools. And it also means you’re not landed with depreciating assets. Plus your lease payments could also be deductible against corporation tax.
A similar strategy involves making the most of your mobile phone provider’s tech fund. Think back to the last time your renewed your mobile phone contract and had an upgrade. The principle is the same for digital mobile devices: simply decide how much data your team will need (ask your friendly software developer for guidance) and set up your contract. You’ll often find that the mobile devices come free, paid for by the data fee.
Again, this helps to spread the payments making it easy to budget and pay.
2 – Redistribute Your Budget Thanks to Digital Devices That Pay for Themselves
Cashflow is one of the biggest killers of SMEs. And our customers in the water treatment industry tell us that their cashflow problems are often caused by these issues:
- A lack of visibility of job progress – this can make it difficult to know when to invoice delaying payment.
- Inefficiencies – paperwork is a risk. It can be lost, damaged and difficult to read. And it takes time to shuttle between your engineers and administrative team who then have to spend hours updating your database.
- Not winning enough work – more companies expect engineering and water treatment specialists to provide digital document management systems. And tender processes are increasingly ruling out paper-based firms.
Introduce online systems and you’ll stand a greater chance of winning more work (find out more here). And with specialist software supported by mobile devices in the field, your team will get more done in less time. This could free up your administrators’ time to focus on other value-adding priorities.
With all your data stored in the cloud, you can redirect the budget put aside for administration, filing cabinets, stationery and printing and storage costs for that growing pile of paper. Which will pay for your mobile devices and software.
3 – Digital Training Funding
Depending where you are in the UK, you might be entitled to digital technology funding. Take a look at this list of grants.
Another requirement when introducing new technology is training. The government’s digital skills innovation fund could help you provide training for your staff to ensure you get best use of your new systems. Not only will this help your business move forward with modern technology but it’s also a great way to show you care about your team and to boost their engagement.
Alternatively, seek a software provider that includes training as part of the service.
Paper-based management systems incur significant printing and storage costs and come with a range of inefficiencies and puts new sales at risk. Investing in online systems does come at a price. But with a range of cost-effective financial solutions to fund your hardware, and an assured ROI from efficiency gains, that’s one less hurdle to clear on your journey to productive, modern business systems.