Are Painting Operations Draining Your Bottom Line?
Organizations often don’t realize how painting operations are a drain on the bottom line. As operations like rural wall painting, highway wall painting, and dealer shop wall painting are gigantic in scale, many operation managers do not go beyond just managing the task while simply attempting to remain closer to schedule and budget goals.
Transparency and real-time visibility into the status of the task seem far-fetched objectives that find little relevance in front of the enormity of the painting project.
And even if a few of the managers decide to take on improving the workflow efficiency to stop the draining bottom line, the involvement of cross-functional teams and collaboration with external vendors pose some serious challenges that impact the operational effectiveness.
Overcoming the challenges of painting operations requires taking an unconventional approach to managing the entire workflow of the operation. But before enacting on any approach, it is essential to be aware of the challenges that hinder the operation and cause revenue leakage.
Top Challenges Companies and Ops Managers with Painting Operations Face
Painting operation managers are no stranger to process challenges, but the complex matrix of work request, approvals, purchase orders, dealers, and customers worsen the matter for them.
Based on our experience working with companies in these domains and discussion with head honchos from marketing, operations, IT department, following are some of the top challenges they face while executing PR painting activities:
Poor Scheduling and Planning of the Job
The painting operation workflow consists of a series of tasks that must result in the desired outcome. Often it begins with sales manager generating a work order request for the purchasing team.
But if the purchasing team has not clearly understood the task and its requirements, chances are that they skip important steps, which leads to poor scheduling and planning resulting in unfinished deliverables.
A common scenario that brings the process level challenges to our attention can be:
- Operation manager: We require wall paintings on 10 different distributor locations.
- Purchasing team: Ok we will check your requirements and accordingly will decide the prices and allocate the work to a vendor, thereafter create a PO for Vendor.
- Purchasing team generates the PO and work is allocated to the vendor.
- After few days..
- Operation manager: Some of my work is done, some are not.
- Purchasing team: But vendor did inform that he has completed his work.
- Operation manager: But you should have sought my approval before making payment.
Proper scheduling requires a clear understanding of the task to be done and granular allocation of the job for each distributor location. It is only possible when all the teams involved have complete knowledge of all the components of the project and workflow that includes multiple approvals by every stakeholder involved in the process.
Painting Contractors/Vendor Allocation and Management
Vendor management is the core competencies required to successfully complete the painting operations. Lack of proper planning and management can lead to catastrophic failure with potential financial impacts.
There are 4 key areas of vendor allocation and management that operation managers and procurement teams must address:
- Vendor classification & allocation: Classify and allocate vendors on the basis of their location, pricing, and quality.
- Vendor relationship management: Enhanced communication between vendor and internal teams, defining and managing negotiation lines.
- Vendor performance management: Set task priorities, specifications, and KPIs to measure performance.
Since the painting operation is a part of marketing activity and does not have an immediate and visible impact on sales orders, operation managers and procurement teams tend to ignore certain factors such as:
- Knowing the key vendors and where they are spending the most money
- Setting up standard contract life cycle management
- Regular communication, inspection, and monitoring of task assigned
Many companies fare poorly on these factors, which reduce their chances of achieving operational efficiency to a great extent that ultimately drains down the bottom line.
Execution of Task: Expectation vs Reality
As with most field operations, managing locations is key to success. But since external vendors are involved in the painting work to be done, it is difficult to get a timely response to the work request without rigorous follow-up.
Often there is no reliable monitoring and inspection method to check the existing status of the task, and so the questions such as:
- Is the assigned location painted,
- Is the assigned area painted,
- What is the total area painted,
remain answered until a whole lot of papers are turned upside down and a series of confirmation calls are made. However, even these confirmations go unchecked for long unless a field-sales professional of the company confirms the situation on the site.
Managing Unannounced Changes in Jobs on field
When so many stakeholders are involved, unannounced changes are inevitable, which could be anything from the inability of certain vendors to complete the task on time or change in the task due to internal reasons.
And like what Charles Darwin wrote in his seminal work, On The Origin of Species, “survival goes not to the strongest of the species, nor to the smartest, but to those best able to adapt to changing conditions” which relates to the natural selection though but is still significant in corporate scenarios.
Change is integral to the process of achieving operational excellence. Therefore, operation managers must have strong control over the current processes to identify the changes to be made and determine a clear line while executing the change.
What managers need is a tool that helps them control the process and make adjustments based on reality and what-if scenarios.
Paying for Inflated, False, or Duplicate Invoices
In the absence of advanced monitoring and inspection system, there is no particular parameter set for approval of the work done. Means, either the company has to send their field workers on every location to check the status of the task or simply rely on the words of vendors.
Most of the times, companies send field sales professionals on locations selected randomly to check the current status and quality of the task done. And if a few of the locations match the expected quality, sales professionals approve all invoices generated by the vendors.
What they need is a system that creates red flags of the false invoices for them, which are:
- No proof for invoiced services
- Invoiced services cannot be tracked in real-time
- Invoice is always in a round number amount
- Discrepancies in the total payment to a contractor to total purchase order amounts
Combating the Painting Operation Challenges with Technology
Painting operation challenges fester into bigger headaches when you don’t change your approach to handle operational issues. In digital times, organizations need a powerful technology solution to identify the root cause of the problems in operations, close gaps, and prevent revenue leakage.
Using advanced field service management software can introduce transparency, visibility, and analytics into the entire process, which is essential to boost operational efficiency.
5 Ways Field Circle- a Field Operations Management Software Can Boost Operational Efficiency
Field Circle is an advanced technology solution that empowers a company to adopt a modern approach to execute painting operations while also measuring the right metrics to take strategic decisions.
Here are the ways Field Circle, a field service management software empowers your internal teams and help you manage painting operations efficiently.
Enables Quick Creation of Work Orders with Higher Accuracy
It is very easy to create a single work order or work order in groups based on the requirements. The work order tab consists of many processing options so that the team managers can easily add the information required to perform the task for clear understanding for other teams involved in managing the operation.
Track Spends for Better Planning and Analysis
Using Field Circle, the purchasing team can track the spends made on each vendor. The team can evaluate the initial business requirements in contrast to spending, which is important to assess the effectiveness of the entire painting operation.
In addition to evaluating spends, the purchasing team can review the entire work history of a vendor, including invoice generated throughout the work order lifecycle and approvals made by the sales team while assigning new order to the vendor.
Set and Measure KPIs For Vendors and Pay Only for Actual Task Performed
Your operation manager can assign various levels of responsibility to each work order that authorized members in the team and the third-party vendors can view. The manager can set the level of KPIs such as:
- Expected actions
- The start date
- The expected finish date
- The completion date
- Actual actions performed
Managers can measure these KPIs and based on the performance, can approve or disapprove the invoice sent by the vendor.This way organizations can prevent the unintentional loss of revenue, which significantly impacts the bottom line.
Provides Real-Time Visibility
Field Circle provides real-time insights into the existing status of the painting operations. Now the field sales professionals and team managers don’t have to keep calling the vendors to check the status of the task. They can easily identify the mismanagements and errors in the completed task and then reassign the task to the vendor to complete it properly.
Strengthens Decision Making Capability
The advanced field service software, Field Circle provides a collective insight into the task and help you accommodate constraints and avoid bias. The software supports your decision-making capability by:
- Providing information that drives awareness throughout the project life-cycle
- Enabling you to involve the right people at the right time to complete the task
- Helping you develop sound processes in today’s “VUCA” – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment
- Helping you to follow a well-designed and well-executed process
- Removing cognitive biases and providing a platform to examine the vendor’s performance with responsibility and understanding
Typically in painting operations, painters either aren’t doing what company needs them to do, or companies aren’t properly measuring what’s being done. Both ways, it ends up impacting the company’s bottom line. By using an advanced work order management software like Field Circle for field operations, companies can effectively address all the painting operation challenges and increase their operational efficiency.
Field Circle is into transforming how global enterprises manage their field sales and field service teams. Our comprehensive and easy-to-use field service management software helps enterprises leverage the power of cloud, enterprise mobility, IoT, business intelligence and data analysis to boost the performance of your sales operations. Our intuitive field sales management software is tried, tested and trusted by numerous businesses around the world.