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Smart Tips

Tips for successfully mobilising your business

For a service business to remain competitive, mobilising is a question of when, not if. Fortunately it is largely common sense, and most businesses mobilise successfully without hiring consultants or writing a detailed change management plan. Some tips are:
Define your key business objectives. Simple, measurable goals such as increasing the % of time charged out or issuing invoices quicker are best. Identify possible concerns. Some users may be apprehensive, say clerical staff wondering if their hours will be cut. The table over the page lists possible concerns and responses. Do this early on, but keep it in balance – don’t doom the project by raising too many potential problems, focus on 2 or 3 obvious ones. Select suitable mobile devices (see the table over the page). The likelihood is that any device more than say 2 years old will be a problem; trying to save money by using under spec’d devices is false economy.
Define workflows
A mobile application is just a tool that can be used well or badly. Mobilising is an opportunity to streamline workflows, not just to reduce paperwork. Decide on a sensible workflow, but be open to suggestions on how to improve this as you gain experience.
Set expectations
Ensure your employees understand the goals, and consider having a policy, part of the employment agreement, covering the use of mobile devices, particularly if you intend to use GPS tracking. The privacy of employees has to be protected, particularly if the employee owns the mobile device. Attached is a sample agreement covering mobile devices. Ensure that employees understand that running multiple applications and downloading large non-work files will degrade performance, particularly on older devices. Most reported performance problems are due to users running applications such as movies or having a number of browser tabs open.
Involve and reward the users
Involving employees is important, but don’t lose sight of the key objectives and never surrender control of the change process. Hold regular feedback sessions; say weekly at first and then fortnightly. Acknowledge that there will be some hiccups and frustrations along the way. Deal with genuine issues promptly, but also highlight what has worked and celebrate successes!
A natural question is “What’s in it for me?” Be honest as it goes without saying that the main reason for mobilising is to improve performance and profits, but there are benefits for users as well (see below) Be firm with resistors and work out ways to get them on board. But if this proves impossible, consider replacing them. As the owner of a US business that mobilised recalled, “We lost a few foremen because of it, but honestly they were people who probably needed to go anyway. They left because they knew what was about to happen, and we’d see what they were doing during the day.”
Trial and then roll out in stages
Mobilising all field staff in one go sometimes works, but is risky if there is resistance. Identify one or two employees who are technology savvy and get them to trial the system. Once they have it working and the benefits are apparent, roll it out to the other employees.
A few short training sessions help to get people up to speed quickly and to allay fears. Some employees will get to grips with the new system quickly. Others will take longer or struggle, so schedule training on a needs basis. The software provider should offer training materials, such as on-line videos, and some businesses develop in-house manuals detailing their preferred workflows. In practice few use these resources after an initial period, and it can be a burden to keep up them to date given the rapid evolution of software. The best answer is for the application to be user friendly and intuitive, with adequate help information built in, so that users quickly learn from on-the-job experience.

Tips for successfully mobilising your business

Employee concerns Affects Responses
Can I cope with this technology? Older employees
  • Implement in easy to digest stages, such as starting with time sheets.
  • Train, with the focus on non-embarrassing self-teach tools
I prefer the current processes and don’t want to change All
  • Trial with supportive employees to prove the system
  • Use team incentives
Slashing paperwork will reduce my hours or may even make me redundant Office staff
  • Identify productive alternatives, such as a customer care call sprogram
  • If hours are reduced, offer more flexibility
The real agenda is to make me work harder Field staff
  • Share the productivity savings.
  • Offer more work flexibility.
There goes my overtime Field staff
  • The goal is to increase sales, not reduce hours.
I will miss the social interaction from coming into the office every day. Field staff
  • Structure regular opportunities to socialise within work hours(say 2 hours every fortnight). Increasing utilisation by say 10% equates to at least 8 hours per fortnight).
  • Keep employees connected via other means
It will be used to track my whereabouts and invade my privacy Field staff
  • Stress how GPS tracking enhances customer service.
  • Ensure employees understand the policy.
  • Ensure employees owning devices can turn off GPS tracking.
  • As a last resort, state the obvious: those who don’t abuse company time have nothing to worry about.
What’s in it for me? All
  • Happy boss!
  • More flexibility, less time spent travelling and in traffic jams
  • Better information on the job, less reliance on the office.
  • Enhanced customer service and fewer unhappy customers.
Employee concerns   Responses
How do I deal with an essential employee who refuses to mobilise?  
  • Offer individual training.
  • Try a buddy system.
  • Start by using the mobile as a simple notification system (jobs and schedule) and then move to timesheet entry and then, the job data entry.

Device issues Solution
Some users may struggle to read the small fonts on Smartphones, even with a high definition screen. Depending on the application and the user, a tablet may be a better option.
Some smartphones and tablets keyboards have small keys that can’t be upsized, and the standard Android keyboard has a limitation on inserting a decimal point. 3rd party keyboards can be downloaded either free or for a few dollars (SmartTrade recommends SwiftKey).
Performance problems such as SmartTrade Mobile slow to load or appearing to freeze from time to time Check whether the user has other applications running and if so, close them. If this doesn’t work, call our support team
Internet browsers behave differently, and some suit an application better than others. Ask the application provider to recommend a browser (SmartTrade recommends Chrome for all devices).
Smartphones (tablets) are prone to being damaged Protective cases are available, ranging from soft covers through to waterproof cases such as those sold by Otter and LifeProof.

Example of mobile device agreement (obtain advice from your lawyer)

Employer: _________________________________ (We, Us)
Employee: _________________________________ (You, Your)
Device(s) used by you in your job (“Devices”)
Owned by
Device type Make and Model Serial# Ancillary items Insured
 Us  Laptop  Tablet        Yes
 You  SmartPhone
       No
 Us  Laptop  Tablet        Yes
 You  SmartPhone
       No
 Us  Laptop  Tablet        Yes
 You  SmartPhone
       No

 Mobile connection
 Telco  Vodafone  Telstra  Optus   Virgin   Spark  2Degrees Other: ___________________
 Plan:____________________ which includes  Voice/TXT  Mobile data (Mb/Gb/month)
 Cost of plan met by  Us  You  Shared ___________________

1. We may:

  1. For reasonable business purposes monitor email, messaging systems and data on Devices.
  2. GPS track Devices during work hours.

2. You consent to us monitoring email, messaging systems and data on Devices.

3. You must in respect of each Device, depending on whether or not we own it:

  We own it
  Yes No
a. Take good care of it, and advise us immediately if it is damaged, lost, or stolen  
b. Not use it during work hours for personal purposes, other than answering incoming calls and making emergency calls  
c. Not without our written consent make personal use of any data plan paid for by us.
d. Not disable GPS tracking of it during work hours.
e. Only load data essential to your job.
f. Not load pirated software or illegal content, nor hack the operating system.  
g. Keep it password protected and ensure that we have the current password at all times.
h. Report any suspected unauthorized access to our data.
i. Keep it up-to-date with approved patches and upgrades
j. Return it to us immediately on ceasing employment with us.  
k. Delete all our data residing on it immediately on ceasing employment with us.  
l. Not use it when driving any of our vehicles.

4. This document forms part of your employment agreement with us

_______________________________             _______________________________

Signed by or on behalf of UsSigned by You

Date: __________________________Date: __________________________

Posted by on in Smart Tips

SmartTrade incorporates many time saving short-cuts, some of these are standard Microsoft short-cuts, others are SmartTrade short-cuts.

Below is a list of SmartTrade's short-cuts



F1 key

Pressing the Function 1 key from anywhere in SmartTrade opens up the help file at the relevant place.


Use ENTER when

If you are typing search data into a search field you can press ENTER at any time to start the search, you don’t have to scroll across to the SEARCH button.

Working in a field

If the field name has an asterisk*

Right clicking into the field will allow more features.

Home key

Move to the beginning of the current field.

End key

Move to the end of the current field.

Tab key Move to the next field in the tabbing order.

Shift+Tab keys Move to the previous field in the tabbing order.

CTRL+C keys
Highlight text in a field then hold down CTRL and press C to copy it to the clipboard, the text in the field is unchanged.

CTRL+X keys
Highlight text in a field then hold down CTRL and press X to copy it to the clipboard, the text in the field is deleted.

CTRL+V keys
Click into a field then hold down CTRL and press V to paste text from the clipboard into the field.

CTRL+A keys
(Select all)
Click into a field then then hold down CTRL and press A to select/highlight all text in the field.

Working in Rich     text fields

(i.e. those where you can choose a font and size)
CTRL+D key

Click into a rich text field then then hold down CTRL and press D to insert a data/time/name stamp into the field.
CTRL+F key Hold down CTRL and press F to open and edit a rich text field in a separate window.

Screen tips

Hide the expanded tool bar to create more screen room Click the small up arrow on the top black menu bar to hide the expanded toolbar and give you more room on your screen.
Click the arrow again to restore the menu bar.
CTRL+Tab key Move between SmartTrade screens when you have multiple screens opened.

ESC key Click on the ESC key to close the active SmartTrade screen.

Grid tips

Customising the grid

Right-click on any column HEADERS of a grid for many options for hiding columns, pinning a favourite column etc

Filtering in the grid

All of SmartTrade’s grids have a small ‘filter’ symbol on each column heading. Click this symbol to choose options to further reduce the items shown in the grid.

View the latest note in the Find Jobs grid or Find Clients grid

Right-click on a Job in the Find Jobs grid, or a Client in the Find Clients grid and choose View Latest Note from the menu. The latest note that has been added or updated will be displayed in a small box. This will let you quickly read the latest information without having to edit the job or client first.

Email tips

Choose a different email address Clicking on the “TO” button when emailing any report (e.g. invoices, quotes and orders) opens a small search screen allowing you to find all other contacts to select from.
Keep a record of the quote or invoice emails sent from the SmartTrade

While a user can confirm if a quote or invoice has been emailed out of SmartTrade by looking in the History tab as per below, they are not able to see the actual contents of the email.

To keep a “sent” record of emails dispatched from SmartTrade set up email preferences in the BCC list to send a copy to your email account.


Monitoring who is logged in

Go to Administration => License Keys => Logged in users tab to see who are all the users currently logged in – and force them to log off if necessary.


Working in the Job Sheet tab of a job

Select only items that have quantities to an order or invoice Ticking the top tickbox on the jobsheet twice will un-tick the items that have a zero quantity to either order or invoice.
Adding bulk line items to a job

When adding line items to a job, you are able to multi-select many rows on the “Add New Line Item” form using Shift/Ctrl keys, and then click Add to add them all in bulk (all with the quantity shown in the quantity field). This is much quicker than selecting one item and adding, then selecting the next item and adding…
Working in the Find:Invoice/Orders
/Quote screens
Open the job from the Find Invoices, Find Orders or Find Quote screens Right-click on an invoice in the Find Invoices grid and choose “Edit Job” to open this invoice’s job. You can do the same from the Find Orders and Find Quote screens.

Create a credit from the Find Invoices grid Right-click on any invoice in the Find Invoices grid and choose “Create Credit Invoice” to make an exact reversal of the invoice.
Working in the Quote screen

Accepting a Quote straight after creating it

When you have created a quote and you want to accept it straight away, create the quote and click Save, then go straight up to the Quote Status field and change to “Accepted”. This is much quicker than closing the quote, then having it find it again to accept it.
Working in the Schedule

Floating Schedule 

Clicking on the Floating schedule icon in the Jobs menu opens up a floating schedule that can be moved to a second screen. We recommend using two computer screens for working in the schedule, that way you can continue working in other areas of SmartTrade while still having the schedule open.
F5 key Pressing the Function 5 key refreshed the data in the schedule.

ALT+J keys Hold down ALT key and press J to open up a list of jobs to schedule.

ALT+R keys Hold down ALT key and press R to refresh the data in the schedule

Sync the SmartTrade schedule to a Google calendar Set up Google calendar sync with SmartTrade and then set up in the preferences in Google to:
  • Receive an email with an agenda for the day – Google will send an email at 5AM each morning with the days schedule as set up in SmartTrade
  • Receive reminders – Google can send an email reminder before an appointment is due
Sync the SmartTrade schedule to an Outlook calendar If using Outlook – use the Google Calendar Sync software to add Appointments/Jobs to your Outlook calendar – this works only one-way from the SmartTrade schedule to the Outlook calendar.

Posted by on in Smart Tips

We have prepared a “tips” sheet to assist our customers successfully mobilising their business.

The “tips” sheet itemises a number of common sense strategy points, suggests possible responses to employee and employer soft issues and outlines possible device factors. It also includes a sample agreement for the use of both company owned and BYOD mobile devices.

Please click here to view the full document.