No more scribbled notes

Imagine never again having to interpret the spidery scrawl of your sales person or service engineer. Even technophobes have been won over with her new mobile apps, says Rhonda Ridge of AdminBase.

Although things have improved I still hear stories of orders being faxed in to the office, or notes being left on one-finger-typed manual forms, perhaps even as advanced as an email. But these days there is no excuse for retail installation companies risking the left hand (the sales person) not knowing what the right hand (surveyor and fitter) is doing, with everyone in between trying to pull together the details into a single record.”

Our new mobile apps, as part of AdminBase, are easier to use than writing notes on a pad. If you can touch tick boxes and add numbers on to a tablet screen, then you can operate any of the dedicated apps designed for the functions of sales, surveying, installation and even for service engineers.

In the 20 years since I launched AdminBase, I have experienced two main reasons for not using a single, fully integrated management system. The first is a resistance by the boss to anything computerised, who says “I don’t do computers”, and the second is “we’re too busy to change at the moment”. And, unless they are very lucky, both companies will be losing a great deal of business due to unprofessional customer quotes and follow ups, or actually simply because of errors and payments slipping through the cracks.

Office-based systems are the norm, and all but the smallest firms will have some sort of system in place. But out in the field, among sales people but especially surveyors, fitters and remedial engineers, a pen and pad has remained the norm. Many hands-on staff are unlikely to have looked at a PC since they were put off by the flashing dot in the corner of a dark screen. However, many will have become familiar with working a smartphone and even a tablet and, once we show them that the AdminBase apps are as simple as using their phones to access football scores or even place bets, they are very positive towards using them. Which effectively integrates all field activities into the full AdminBase system, with every process connected.

However, another barrier to upgrading often unconnected company systems, is the fear of disruption and change itself. But those who fear disruption to their ‘traditional’ methods will not realise how simple the move to a modern system can be. In all of my years in this industry, carrying out thousands of installations of AdminBase, not one single day’s business has been lost.

Why has it taken so long for AdminBase to be extended into the field? In keeping with advances in mobile technology, our most recent developments have extended features into mobile apps for the canvasser, salesman, surveyor, fitter and service engineer. These have been designed to use the latest customisable tablet-based devices for use anywhere. They allow for collecting signatures and for all information to be automatically passed back into the system without any re-entering of information. For sales people that can mean the difference between getting the order or not.

The new apps are the latest development of AdminBase, which has more than 3,000 users throughout the UK, from small installers to large nationals with multiple users.

I have always had the ambition to extend AdminBase into the field but, until recently, the technology has not allowed it. Now we are complete, with every part of the window and door installation process covered.