If your field service business utilizes trade apprentices, chances are you’ve found that many of them are well-acquainted with the world of technology. While you’re busy teaching your aspiring electrician or HVAC repair worker the tools of your trade, your apprentice may be full of great ideas for improving operations. If you choose, you can find ways to improve your business that you might have never considered.
If you have a trade apprentice who is willing to share ideas, be sure to let him or her know that you’re open to new ideas. Jot the ideas down and ask questions. While the trade apprentice is there to learn from you, everyone loves to feel like a teacher occasionally. And with this great resource right under your roof, why not take full advantage of it?
Put New Systems in Place
If you’ve been thinking about implementing new Cloud-based software, now is a great time. Your trade apprentice can not only help you find the right system for your small business, but he or she can help you as you work through the original bugs and learn to use your new software.
Revamp Existing Systems
As your apprentice begins learning the day-to-day operations of your field service business, chances are any outdated procedures you have will stand out. If, for instance, your workers are driving all the way back to the office to pick up and drop off paperwork, your trade apprentice will likely be biting his or her tongue to avoid speaking up. Your own outdated practices may become glaringly obvious to you as you explain the way things are done to someone who is just leaving a school where new technologies were likely taught.
As your trade apprentice helps you with billing, job scheduling, or job costing, you may find you have the chance to revamp these old systems. This may mean creating electronic spreadsheets, using electronic billing, or finding software to handle all of the above. Watch your trade apprentice work and learn all you can.
Find New Equipment
Technological advances aren’t limited to computer software. Your trade apprentice may be able to suggest handy devices that can take the guesswork out of your jobs. Diagnostic computers and electrical testers are becoming commonplace in field service businesses and your trade apprentices are learning about them during the course of their education. Expect these young aspiring workers to come in expecting that your business is already using the latest technology. When it comes up, encourage those workers to make recommendations that could improve your operations. Often the devices you need cost a fraction of the amount you’ll save in your first month of implementation.
Trade apprenticeships are a learning opportunity for both the apprentice and the teacher. The teacher needs only open his or her mind to learn everything the apprentice has to teach, making the apprenticeship a successful experience for everyone involved.