Manage the system not the people
This Journey is somewhat special for us here at simPRO. Andrew and Prue of Mr A Electrics joined us wayyy back in 2002. In fact, they were the fourth company to begin using Enterprise (back before it was even known by that name). So while we were busy building software to systemise business processes, they were busy systemising.
With some forward thinking and determination they’ve achieved the kind of freedom many dream of. Nowadays, Andrew spends about 3 hours each week on Mr A Electrics. Mind you, both Andrew and Prue still keep busy - more on that later, but their electrical business has become one fraction of the story.
They had so much to share with us we’ve divided the video into three parts. From handling a paper diary up a ladder, to Prue’s tactics getting Andrew off the tools, hear their approach to freeing up time to pursue hobbies and business ventures, giving them the lifestyle required to achieve their dreams.
In the beginning
These savvy operators are big fans of process and procedures. In fact they attribute their success to systemising the business from the outset, it’s why they were among the early adopters of field service management software.
By implementing stringent procedures configured in simPRO Enterprise, Andrew and Prue could then hand over the reins to local Mums from the school to run the business, one of which is now the General Manager. Pre-Builds are one example Andrew uses to explain how simPRO has enabled people with no electrical experience to provide accurate quotes for electrical jobs. Pretty fantastic right?
“It meant office staff didn’t have to have the industry knowledge we have, it meant Mums from school were able to come and do our quoting.”
The days of paper
The paper diary became impossible to keep up to date. It's difficult to take bookings when you’re up a ladder. And when the diary is onsite, trying to take a booking back at the office without knowing a tech's availability has it's share of challenges.
Obviously once Enterprise was in place - no more paper diary.
Getting off the tools and building systems
With Enterprise integrated Prue began prying Andrew off the tools. First she took away the work boots so he couldn't set foot on-site, then his work shirt, his tools disappeared and eventually the van was replaced with a cute little hatchback. (It became too embarrassing to arrive on site in the hatchback). They knew he needed to work on the business rather than in it.
Realising the dream
Prue notes that nowadays, the younger field techs are already familiar with technology which makes rolling out Connect a breeze.
The ground work was laid to make sure the technology and the systems were embedded into the daily workflow, the rest began taking care of itself. It wasn’t long before they began reaping the benefits. World travel and home renovations were underway. During the home renovations Andrew could log in from home and check everything was on schedule.
“Without simPRO, we wouldn’t have a business. We would have done something else.”
Local Mum, come general manager is now responsible for 99.9% of the business. While we're talking about hiring locals, around a dozen apprentices have springboarded their career with Mr A.
Freedom, and lessons learned
We mentioned Andrew and Prue were keeping busy. Their community work includes: president of the school P & F, soccer coach, taking care of elderly parents and project managing friends renovations. They have time to spend with the family: three world trips, self-managed renovations and an aquaculture garden. Then there's the web design skills to develop some online business ventures such as: Sparky Direct, Sparky Workwear and even Kids Guitar Zone.
“The great thing about simPRO is it follows a system, so you just follow the system.”
Prue can't express enough how you can't leave it up to the software to achieve success, it's boils down to the attitude, the mind shift. You need to allow someone else to take on your role and leave it up to the system to take care of things. If something fails, then revise the system, not the people.
“simPRO has given us the ability to have choices.”
We'd like to give a huge thanks to Andrew and Prue and the team at Mr A Electrics for sharing their story with us. We look forward to seeing what they're up to next in the near future.