Sweeping Business Tech for 2020

Technology innovations facilitated just about everything entrepreneurs needed to do in the commercial pavement sweeping industry during 2019. Try to think of any sales, service, quality assurance, or administrative function that is part of modern sweeping service operations that is not now supported by some technology that’s been either created or innovated within recent years. That’s a harder challenge than it may seem. Here are the business technologies that are changing the way commercial pavement sweeping companies are doing business going into 2020, to maximize efficiency and profitability.
Beyond the obvious fleet modernization, keeping up with technology advancements across the industry these days means making some systemic IT and communications upgrades that can help your team simplify management of their task load, save time, maximize communications value, streamline record-keeping, and deliver a better quality customer experience.

Big Reasons to Keep Your Technology Up to Date with the Industry

Throughout the increasingly sophisticated US commercial pavement sweeping market, it has become more and more important to provide field services and administrative teams with certain fundamentals for competing with greater overall efficiency. That’s because, modernizing your technology:
• Helps Increase Competitiveness — Competitors nationwide are improving their technological advantages, and as a result, customers’ expectations for a smooth, optimally efficient delivery of services and billing have increased.
Going into 2020, municipality contract services managers and private commercial property owners and managers increasingly expect to work with services vendors whose systems can seamlessly interface with their order tracking, payables, and contract management systems.
• Helps Keep Good Employees — Talented workers can easily compare and draw contrasts between their employee experience on your field services crew or as a member of your administrative office team with competing sweeping companies and other service businesses they’ve worked for.
Experienced workers know the difference working for a business that supplies the appropriate equipment and tools to help them succeed in their work and others that make their lives more difficult than necessary, by ignoring their best interests.
• Helps Grow Your Business — Modernizing technology maximizes output per hour, improves service quality, helps control costs, and increases employee satisfaction and profitability. These are all, of course, important improvements that give a sweeping enterprise the competitive edge needed to sustain growth of the business.
In 2020, pavement sweeping businesses with updated systems will have a decided competitive edge in providing a smoother employee experience and customer experience, more professional, accurate, and timely documentation and communications, and a clearer view of customer account service, billing, and communications statuses, needs, and preferences.

GPS and Camera with Remote Monitoring Services

GPS, the great game-changer of the commercial sweeping services industry over the past decade, has undergone its own transformative advancements over recent years. In 2019, the use of more advanced versions of standard GPS equipment was reported by sweeping business owners. GPS tracking technology eliminates the guesswork in determining where field service vehicles and employees are at any given time. It allows smooth payroll processing, based on workers’ tracked locations during work hours.
Knowing the precise customer site arrival and departure times, makes clear how long vehicles and drivers are on worksites, when they’re en route between sites, and exactly where a vehicle is located if it’s inoperable on the side of a road.
Camera monitoring goes beyond standard GPS, with state-of-the-art camera systems inside sweeper trucks. Supervisors have not only real-time location information but moment-to-moment video reporting of what’s happening inside and around the vehicle.
Cutting-edge remote monitoring takes GPS and camera tracking to a new level, delivering much more information about driver behaviors, to help business owners with training, and safety and risk management. Remote monitoring services send email reports to the sweeping services management office, with attached photo and data files supporting the reports.
• Emailed Issue Reports — Emails are sent, for example, when driving speed exceeds limits, when a driver’s seatbelt is not engaged, when a driver is using a cell phone while operating the vehicle, or when a driver is doing one of a list of other prohibited behaviors while driving.
• Video Ratings — Remote monitoring services also review video footage from cameras and a numerical rating of the video information, based on information found by their monitoring team. The remote service emails a link to the segment of video footage that shows an issue, such as failure to stop at a stop sign, not wearing a seatbelt, or speeding. Videos of such incidents might be rated as exposing level 4, 2, or 3 problems, etc.
Sweeping businesses buy the cameras, monitoring input, and transmission equipment, and they pay a fee for the monitoring service. The increased efficiency and ability to discover and correct issues without the need to ride in vehicles with employees reduces the number of hours needed for monitoring in-house, enabling business owners to reallocate management hours to more profitable activities.

Updated Communications Devices

In 2019, top sweeping services providers in locations throughout the US were proudly working to outfit all drivers with smartphone and their entire fleets with tablets.
• Smartphones — Smartphone technology is indispensable in today’s networked world of business on the go. Sales reps, field services employees, admins, and business owners can all access networked files and forward documentation to customers, prospects, vendors, lenders, and others in real-time from any location. From vehicle maintenance, to service quality validations, to payroll entries, to bid submissions, the range of businesses uses for modern cell phones is vast.
• Tablets — Tablets are the best solution for field services employees who need to be able to handle quality validations and other work order processing, and access portals to provide service reporting documentation to third-party vendors, and retrieve electronic documents via office servers. Tablets allow workers to easily navigate user interfaces, and conveniently fill out cumbersome reports, without being limited to thumb-typing on a tiny cell phone screen.
• Conference Calling — This technology has changed the way professionals meet. From the smallest to the largest businesses, today everyone meets via conference calling. Updated technology fits many more participants on calls, allowing an incalculable amount of collectively saved downtime for driving to meetings that can be done by phone.
• Video Conferencing — Video conferencing systems (usually enabled by VoIP) are becoming more and more prominent in organizations large and small, across the global business sector. This technology makes remote meetings feel like being in the same room with customers, employees, vendors and anyone you need to meet with from the convenience of your office or home. Even attending nationwide peers group meetings and various association training can be done while remaining in your workplace.

Innovative Business Administration Software

By 2019, the majority of commercial pavement sweeping companies operated using standard office software technologies, like Windows OS, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and possibly Access. Most use Quick Books for in-house accounting. They’re also likely to use satellite mapping technology, at least internet services like Google Maps or Quest. And, everyone uses search engines, email, online supply purchasing. Many use digital scheduling software and social media marketing.
• Cloud Services — A smaller percentage use cloud services as their predominant means of file management, storage, and backup. Some with website design and management vendors use web automation and marketing tracking and analytics tools, and website optimization (SEO), all executed by their website management experts. In 2020, the use of these technologies and services can be expected to spread farther throughout the sweeping industry, especially in increasingly competitive markets.
• Helper Bots — In 2020 and beyond, the use of helper bots on sweeping company websites, as in many other industries, can be expected to increase, as business owners in growing companies become increasingly knowledgeable about the benefits of assistive bots in assisting their site visitors with sales and service needs that can be handled entirely through convenient and robust interactions with AI-capacitated bots that can communicate with greater versatility to complete transactions and/or assess needs to redirect visitors and connect them with employees in the sweeping service business office.
• VoIP — In 2020, more sweeping companies can be anticipated to make the switch to Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems. VoIP offers increased flexibility and stronger reliability of communications signals and the accessibility of networked digital systems.
• CRM — A Customer Relationship Management system integrates all your business systems, to enable employees across all departments to view prospect and customer histories, including work orders, quality control records, complaints, billing and payments, and all communications with a customer from the moment he/she enters your sales pipeline to the end of the customer lifecycle. It provides for all scheduling, including auto-scheduling of reminders for timely outreach to perform various quality checks, upsells, contract renewals, and so on.

Online Accounting Services

Many, probably most, sweeping service businesses start with solo owners or couples filling all the job roles themselves — sales, marketing, driving, truck maintenance, accounting, and all other tasks. But as the company grows, there is more of everything to account for. More workers are brought on board, more vehicles come online, more revenues and expenses are generated. Accounting needs to expand, and business owners must choose between accurate accounting, which is a big time-consuming job, and efficient management of the business.
Many owners of small to medium-sized businesses turn to outsourcing some or all of their accounting to online accounting services. Online services include Payroll, Accounts Receivable, Payables, bookkeeping, CPA services, and more. Some businesses even use online accounting firms as their entire accounting department, working in close communication but functioning completely as a remote team.

Custom Sweeping Business Information Technology

In 2019, top companies in the commercial pavement sweeping industry have been developing more comprehensive technological capabilities. Here are some of the exciting innovations that leading sweeping companies have been bringing to the array of competitive technology features and benefits offered in their market areas:
• Online Customer Portals — They’re activating customer portals that enable property managers and city maintenance administrators to log in and watch the progress of their ordered sweeping jobs while they are in progress. They’re providing mobile apps that allow customers to send snapshots of problem areas so that sweeping services vendors can respond and dispatch workers in real-time.
• Feature-Rich Validation Technology — New GPS-adjacent developed under the auspices of a major eastern US sweeping company, produces geo-fencing of areas by anchoring an area image to a roadway marker or a parking lot address. The technology also includes data reporting on RPMs that the sweeper truck engine is running, shows whether or not the sweeper truck broom is currently actively engaged, when the hopper is lifted to dump, and a wide array of other useful information for validations and other purposes.
These sound like pricey propositions, but the company owners who champion these new industry innovations argue that a well-designed custom system can allow more competitive pricing, by enabling reduced costs due to more efficient delivery of services. This operational formula generates increased value for customers, actually providing them with greater value, which means strong benefits to sweeping vendor’s growth and branding efforts.
The higher level of service validation is also helpful for permitting from regulatory agencies, enabling sweeping companies to provide authorities who visit an abundance of real-time information and to demonstrate the degree of quality control it makes possible throughout their field services systems.

Comprehensive Field Services Business Platforms

All-in-one business management platforms are designed to provide a one-stop networking hub that integrates everything from work order placement, to vehicle and workflow progress tracking, to billing and receivables documentation, to vehicle maintenance and operations costing, to communications tracking.
Such powerful platforms, like Eagle Eye, for example, which has proven to be one of the currently most popular, provide seamless integration with everything from GPS systems to QuickBooks, for field services business management capabilities that far out-pace sweeping services with operational models that are stuck in the past, still working with non-integrated IT systems.
Having all your business systems interacting on one convenient platform can reduce errors and frustration and save much time that can be used for improving services and pursuing service add-ons. Multiplying those time savings by a number of field and office employees shows a yield in new-found free hours that can be used to help a business grow.

Technologies on the Horizon

Along with the key technologies discussed above for field services, administrative workers, and business owners, new technologies have developed over the past decade that offer many opportunities to increase efficiency, save on hardware costs, and increase the reach of sweeping business owners and their teams into networked communications systems and information databases that can help companies operate in with the full benefit of the best available resources for information and organizational.
Cloud — Cloud services will continue to free more and more businesses from the IT burdens of server maintenance, backup and recovery process deficiencies, security concerns, and performance issues.
VoIP — VoIP enabled communications technologies, such as video conferencing and more robust multi-media training can be expected to find their way into sweeping companies with tech-savvy leadership.
Big Data — Yes, even big data can be anticipated to make its debut in the sweeping services industry over coming years, to aid business owners in much more fully understanding the needs and interests of their commercial consumer market.
Embracing these advancements will allow sweeping business owners to keep their operations on par with their customers’ own way of thinking about what a modern business needs to interact on the technology plane with the rest of the modern business world.

Pavement Sweeping Service Tech Planning For 2020

There’s no question that technology is undergoing transformative change across the US commercial pavement sweeping industry. Especially for sweeping companies planning for growth, reducing operating costs by streamlining service delivery systems is a strategic essential. The features of the technologies discussed above offer sweeping companies transformative operational benefits in increasing service capacity, improving efficiency, customer service quality, process and metrics tracking, and accounting accuracy.
Field services tracking, communications, and administrative management technologies have brought the commercial pavement sweeping industry to a level of efficiency that was unimaginable a couple of decades ago. If you are looking to grow your sweeping business, you’d be well advised to consider upgrading your systems in 2020, to integrate advanced technologies in these areas, which have now become basics for major competitors across virtually all US commercial sweeping markets.
What innovative tools will the next decade bring to the continuing endeavor to perfect sweeping business systems and methods? We can only speculate. After all, 5G is on the way. There are continuing advancements in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). The oncoming technological revolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), to be enabled by 5G, will further expand conveniences and drive functional speed of operations software platforms and programs and networked machines and wireless devices to levels that currently seem incomprehensible in every aspect of business and personal life. And, ever-expanding cloud services promise to free businesses entirely from hardware management and maintenance.
The financial practicality of investing in efficiency-boosting technologies that help maintain operational competitiveness while scaling a sweeping services business can bring a growing sweeping business up to the level of competitiveness that will be necessary going into the coming decade. So, if your plan is for growth, modernizing your technology in 2020, to support the objectives that facilitate sustained quality and growth will be a key strategic growth decision.

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