As we see the home improvements boom starts to cool down, the renewable energy sector is very much alight! This is a time to make hay for those involved in providing renewable energy products such as solar panels, but it is also a time when companies can be overly focused on revenue, whilst ignoring profit. That’s a lesson some home improvement companies are finding right now.
Of course, the solution is to use business management systems to optimise profits and efficiencies, but what is the best approach and what is the best business management system for solar panel installers? Or for that matter, any type of renewables company?
Before jumping in with the obvious ‘Business Pilot is the best business management system for the renewables sector’, which you would expect in a blog post like this, lets first talk about what you need in a business management system. These can also be referred to as CRM or ERP systems. People have varying understandings of what each mean. Since business management is exactly what it says on the tin, we will use that terminology!
Key to a successful system is how easy it is for your team to adopt. It doesn’t matter whether that is a series of notebooks, excel spreadsheets or the latest management software. If your team find it difficult to adopt, it won’t take hold.
A large part of adoption is whether the system or software takes more time to use, than it gives back to you. That should be obvious, but it is the number one reason for business management software to be left on the shelf. The best systems actually do things for you that save you time. For example, with Business Pilot, the various automations make drawn out repetitive tasks as simple as one click. People don’t mind following a system, if it makes their life easier and/or saves them time.
Going back to the earlier point of profitability, you need your software to give you key information at your fingertips. If you can’t find key things (like the margin erosion report in Business Pilot) quickly, then you will be drawn to working in the business and not on it. When a sector is booming, there are lots of balls to juggle and with less pressure on revenue, it can be all too easy to ignore it.
Whatever business management software you use for your solar panel business, it should talk to the other software you use in the business. So, accounts packages for example. If you had to re-key all the information twice, that is making work for you, not saving you work and time. We refer to these as integrations. The technical term is APIs.
You should be able to see your entire business from any device, anywhere, at any time. A lot has been said about ‘The Cloud’. This is really important when it comes to your business management software. As previously stated, getting key information at your fingertips is crucial, but also, having it at your fingertips whenever, wherever and however you need to access it is important too.
You will have heard the expression ‘there’s an app for that’ and whilst the term is overused, having an app for your sales, survey and installers to use on site will make a huge difference to the quality of information you have. Things like site images taken on an app and instantly adding to the lead or contract allow for better decision making.
Probably the biggest area where you can lose margin when things are busy is in the installation scheduling. It’s not rocket science, the more panels you can fit, in the most efficient way, the better. Having a visual installation board will have a massive impact on how efficient you can get those installs going. Make sure whatever business management system or software you use; it makes scheduling a breeze.
Well, at this stage, we probably can answer Business Pilot to the question ‘what is the best business management system for solar panel installers’. However, the only way you will truly know is by taking it for a test drive. Fortunately, we are confident enough that you will agree that we have a free trial. You can dive in, play around and see for yourself. We will also provide a one-to-one demo, either remotely or in person to show you round.
If you are in renewables such as solar panel installations, make sure you gain the most from this current boom, by maximising the opportunity that rising fuel costs have created. Take the free trial.