Why aren’t solar energy businesses as productive in the field as they could be? Issues come in many forms, but they all have the same origin: lack of information.
When techs venture into the field, they need the complete job requirements, the correct parts and tools, and information about the client and job site.
Likewise, the office needs real-time access to information about the progress of their work for both administrative and compliance purposes. In practice, renewable energy field service involves a constellation of fast-moving information – and if it slows down or breaks down at any point, productivity does too.
Before, communication, coordination, and compliance problems felt like inevitable features of field service. Especially since solar energy companies often rely on third-party service providers who operate outside their own sphere of operations.
Not any longer. Digital transformation empowers a solar energy business to use information to its advantage so that the situation in the field, in the office, and at every point in between is clear to all and as productive as possible.
The What and Why of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is an emerging approach to running a business (solar or otherwise) that advocates for digitising and integrating core aspects of operations. Rather than utilising a series of discreet tech tools, organisations that undergo digital transformation have a seamless collection of digital tools and data that starts at the centre and extends outwards in 360 degrees.
ERP serves as the centre. It collects data from all sources and stakeholders in one place and surrounds it with tools for analysing and organising that information. Often called a “single source of truth,” ERP makes accessible as much data as possible so that every question has an efficient answer.
Starting digital transformation means putting an industry-leading ERP like NetSuite in place. Completing it involves supplementing the native capabilities of ERP with solar software specialised for field service.
NextService offers those capabilities within the NetSuite platform – no integration required. NextService comprehensively addresses the requirements of renewable energy field service: scheduling, inventory controls, compliance reporting, budgeting etc. As a total solution, NetSuite and NextService transform field service into a digital asset driven by real-time data, efficiency and insight rather than a manual process running on paperwork.
Productivity improves, but so does utilisation, customer engagement, administrative efficiency, inventory visibility, and billing/EOM processes. The term transformation describes it quite well.
The Future of Field Service
Digital transformation creates a bi-directional information pipeline that travels between any technician anywhere in the field and the home office to eliminate information deficits at both ends.
Techs can turn their smartphone into a powerful tool for planning and performing field service. Mobile devices link them into the ERP and the field service software so that time, distance, and location don’t inhibit their access to information. Techs can use the data and tools at their disposal to precisely prepare for a job and efficiently carry out the work after arriving on site.
They can also draw on those resources, through their phones, to resolve confusion or friction that arises at any point during field service – leading to better job performance and higher satisfaction among customers and techs alike.
Back in the office, solar management software gives administrators real-time visibility into jobs in progress so they can provide guidance/support as necessary. They can also automatically capture metrics about job performance – utilisation, profitability, material wastage, customer satisfaction – to start deploying resources more effectively.
Along with metrics, administrators can request pictures of important milestones being reached so they can see work being done and evaluate technicians (especially third parties) based on something besides numbers.
Real-time insight into each job also makes it easier to determine when contractors may need to be utilised and when resources need to be redirected to jobs that require urgent attention.
Compliance also improves since data from every job flows directly from the field onto a centralised platform where the relevant details get automatically extracted.
Take a Leap Towards Digital Transformation
The future of field service isn’t just more productive; it’s also more efficient, cost-effective, scalable, and flexible. That all leads to greater profitability in a competitive industry, especially for the solar energy businesses that prioritise digital transformation early, complete the process sooner, and establish themselves as elite service providers.
Klugo makes digital transformation accessible for a solar energy business by offering the key components: ERP and solar project management software along with an experienced team to help users implement and optimise those tools.
We offer a number of resources to help companies navigate this process. Explore the value of ERP with this ROI calculator, and consider Oracle financing options. Learn more about the technical requirements of ERP with this planner. Finally, consider what Klugo can do for solar energy businesses ready to reach the next level.