In today’s economy, commercial contractors want more ways to optimize and automate business processes to achieve operational excellence. But what does that mean?
“Operational excellence comes from continuous improvement across every part of the organization,” says Sendur Sellakumar, ServiceTitan SVP of Commercial and Construction. “First and foremost, it's about the right mindset. You want to have leaders in your organization who truly understand and realize they need to shift their thinking in terms of adapting new approaches, new models for driving the business.”
From there, Sellakumar says businesses need to apply that mindset to their operations.
“That means how your teams—dispatching leads, service managers, project managers—all are operating within that mindset, and how that’s embedded in the operations. An operating platform such as ServiceTitan can really help inform and guide that thinking in operational excellence.”
Operational excellence proves key to dominating in the industry and regions you serve, Sellakumar adds. He recently hosted a webinar with Thilo Schatz, ServiceTitan Senior Manager of Corporate Solutions Engineering and Construction GTM (Go to Market) Lead, to discuss how ServiceTitan’s capabilities enable commercial contractors to drive efficiency through automation and technology rooted in data.
In this webinar recap, we cover:
Common pain points and how to take action
How to operate more efficiently through automation and data-driven technology
How ServiceTitan features help commercial construction businesses drive efficiency through real-time visibility, control, and accountability
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How to drive operational excellence
Sellakumar describes three ways organizations drive operational excellence throughout their business:
Embrace a data-driven culture
Delight the end customer
Streamline operations with automation
Embrace a data-driven culture
Everyone at the company needs to be immersed in the data of the business, Sellakumar says. And the way you make that happen is by embedding data in the operational workflows of the business. For example, let data drive your weekly meetings.
“That really empowers it versus just having anecdotes,” Sellakumar says. “When owners start to have that [data-driven] thinking, it tends to drive automatically in the thinking of the teams around them.”
Delight the end customer
“We all talk about customer service, but what can we do to enhance the end customer experience and differentiate ourselves from those around us in the industry and local region we’re serving?” Sellakumar asks. “And, of course, can we digitize that in a way that the software platform can help you?”
Streamline operations with automation
To answer the questions above and delight customers, you need to combine process, data, and automation. ServiceTitan Commercial powers this automation, serving as an operating system for the trades.
“You should think of us as being a partner, not just in terms of software, but really in terms of helping you grow and scale your business,” Sellakumar says.
To demonstrate their level of commitment and partnership, Sellakumar and Schatz share how ServiceTitan drives efficiency, down to a persona level.
ServiceTitian efficiencies by persona
Instead of just thinking about how the software benefits your company, consider the team that is getting up every day to help run your business.
“Efficiencies down to the persona are what really drive that operational dominance in the industries and markets you serve,” Sellakumar says. “How do we empower the people within your organization to do their jobs better, more efficiently, and really help them get to the next level of execution across your company? ServiceTitan can certainly help make that happen. We’ve seen it proven time and time again.”
“A data-driven culture starts with the GM or owner being able to see data that are automatically delivered to them via dashboards or reports,” Schatz says.
ServiceTitan provides a high-level overview of their business, with the ability to drill down deeper into any areas of the reporting dashboard to see where the data came from.
“Often, you'll see a profitability number, a sales number, or a revenue number that doesn’t translate into what you think is actually happening in the business,” Sellakumar says. “That's really where you see the drill-down happen. As an owner and a GM, you want to be able to look at that 30,000-foot level, but then go all the way down to that 5-foot level to really make a big difference.”
Schatz uses job costing data as an example.
“It’s very important to not only know what those numbers are and where they come from, but what happened to cause those numbers,” Schatz says. “If we’re losing money on that job, why? If we’re making a good profit margin, we also want to know why, so we can replicate that across everything else.”
ServiceTitan’s job costing report allows you to view invoices at a line level, review timesheets, and examine overhead costs.
The software also provides access to the lifetime value of a customer.
“Lifetime value of that customer, not just any single job, is critically important,” Sellakumar says. “Of course, the job data is important. But when you think about it holistically, that's when you really get value from that 360 [degree] relationship with the customer.”
Because your time is valuable, Schatz recommends scheduling reports to be sent to you and your team members automatically at whatever interval you prefer.
Another important report, especially for construction divisions, is the project tracking report, which allows you to see a real-time snapshot of project process, including how much has been invoiced and what project costs are outstanding.
“Often, construction contractors want to look at how many hours they have left to cover on a particular phase of a project, particularly a multi-month or multi-year project,” Sellakumar says. “I hear this often with production builders, ‘How do we get a view of how many phases are left, so I can move my crews between houses?’
“Not only can you capture all of that information via forms in the system, but you can transmit that into reporting. So, now your teams aren’t calling each other constantly trying to figure out data. Your project managers are able to live in that data.”
ServiceTitan offers the Enterprise Hub for owners running multiple companies.
It helps commercial GMs and owners solve the following pain points:
You want an overview of everything that’s happening while still operating acquisitions separately
You want to standardize business practices across different businesses you recently acquired
You use a centralized call center to service multiple businesses
Enterprise Hub includes user and tenant management. Tenant management allows a company owner to manage different businesses, each with their own ServiceTitan profiles, under one roof.
With Titan Exchange, you can create content and push it to each of your ServiceTitan tenants.
“Think of standardizing your process, think of best practices, forms, and reports,” Schatz says. “Data is only worth something if everybody measures the same thing. In Enterprise Hub, pushing standardized content into each one of your tenants can happen through a single click.”
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Sellakumar says out-of-the-box reporting usually works for running multiple locations.
“But if you’re running multiple businesses, let's say you're running a plumbing business in city one, and you're running an HVAC business in city two, this actually allows you to consolidate the data across them,” he adds. “We've seen owners and GMs actually run their business even remotely from those locations in a very clean, effective way.”
“Accounting is a data-driven culture in itself, so we don't need to worry about that too much, but we want to support that,” Schatz says.
The Transaction Hub helps automate your accountants’ daily tasks and reports. With invoice aging, the accountant can view all invoices aged past the due date in one screen, and send out mass statements, noting the past due balance and accepting payments.
“If they want to dig a little deeper into these invoices, we allow them to do so,” Schatz says. “But at the same time, when it comes to collecting the money, this is a very quick and easy way to do it.”
The reviewing invoices feature within the Transaction Hub allows accountants to review invoices and ensure data is correct before they’re sent to the end customer.
“This goes back to optimizing your cash flow,” Schatz says. “It's getting those invoices out—without any errors—and getting the money in quicker.”
To keep accounting accurate for long-duration construction projects, ServiceTitan helps automate AIA billing.
“You go out, do your project work, and automatically, it already inputs everything into the AIA continuation sheet and the AIA billing sheet,” Schatz says. “You click a button and can send your continuation sheet out to the customer.”
The layout is customizable, so general contractors can progress bill with the categories they prefer. After generating a progress invoice, you can quickly export it to QuickBooks.
Large commercial customers typically expect a more modern, digital customer experience. ServiceTitan allows you to create a custom portal with paid invoices and outstanding bills, so the customer can view project progress and self-serve. The customer portal includes:
How many visits remain
Equipment included in the service agreement
Number of maintenance visits
Number of repair visits
“All that information is available to them at their fingertips,” Schatz says. “We are at that age where this is expected.”
The customer portal also gives companies a way to easily review accounts with their customers and help them plan for the following year.
“Then, you're able to have a data-driven conversation with the customer about allowing for budget for installs for the subsequent year, or other higher-margin work that may be really relevant for the business in terms of driving higher customer lifetime value,” Sellakumar says.
Service Account Manager
Looking for a way to manage the details of your company’s service agreements? Within the Service Agreement module, service account managers can view at a glance:
Total billed amount
Remaining amount to be billed
Service managers can book visits directly from the same screen.
Construction Project Manager
The construction project manager is responsible for making sure the project stays on track and on budget. ServiceTitan optimizes this by providing a project dashboard, which includes scope, service locations, and financials.
By applying project labels, the project manager can report on the project in whatever way is most optimal for the company and general contractor, then translate that directly into AIA billing.
“It’s about making that project manager the CEO of the project,” Sellakumar says. “The best project managers tend to live in this module, and are able to not only look at this on desktop, but leverage a lot of this data on their mobile device.”
To stay on top of POs and inventory management, ServiceTitan offers a mobile inventory management feature with barcode scanning. This helps with receiving purchase orders, transferring from warehouse to warehouse or truck to truck, and especially cycle counts.
“All of a sudden, that inventory count that's usually off at the end of the month is going to be a lot more accurate, because we now have it a lot more automated,” Schatz says. “No more spreadsheets, no pieces of paper, it’s very quick through your cellphone.”
When you have service level agreements with commercial businesses and something goes wrong (refrigerator goes down at a grocery store, for example) you need to dispatch a technician quickly.
With Schedule Assistant, when a property manager submits a booking request, the system looks at available technicians, skill levels, and locations, to give the dispatcher the ability to send the right person who is closest to that job.
How ServiceTitan helps commercial and construction clients succeed
Commercial is currently the fastest growing segment of ServiceTitan’s business, and with good reason. Consider the following results our commercial clients obtained last year:
19% increase in revenue
21% increase in service agreement renewals
16% increase in average ticket size
10% improvement in invoices paid on time
9% increase in revenue per tech
“We're always adding capabilities to help enable more positive customer outcomes, and we see it in the results,” Sellakumar says. “Ultimately, this is not just about the software. It’s the mindset, that operational piece, and the platform all help to bring these results.”
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.