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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: __________________________

How to streamline your payroll operation using SmartTrade Mobile’s timesheet feature together with SmartTrade Essential or Ultimate’s payroll export feature!

Many SmartTrade users already use SmartTrade’s payroll export feature to export their employee timesheet data directly to their payroll package.

Employees using SmartTrade Mobile can enter timesheets easily on their mobile device using SmartTrade Mobile, or the simpler SmartTime timesheet app, and return the timesheet data to SmartTrade in the office.

It’s then a simple step to export the timesheet data from SmartTrade into your payroll package making it a seamless operation! Even if you manually enter your timesheet data into SmartTrade there are significant benefits in exporting the data to your payroll system.

SmartTrade currently supports the following payroll packages:

  • IMS Payroll
  • iPayroll
  • MYOB 
  • Ace Payroll

If you have another payroll system provided it allows data to be imported then it’s very likely we can design an Advanced Report to enable timesheet information captured in SmartTrade to be exported to your payroll package

Just imagine the time and double data entry saved by having your field staff enter their own timesheets and then being able to export the data from SmartTrade into your payroll package!

Lee Sarson of Rhino Fire & Security Ltd summed up the benefits:

“We used to get technicians into the office on Wednesday morning to hand-in hand written jobs sheets
           and timesheets!”

“We used to have 30-45 minutes down time per tech each Wednesday filling out bits of paper and trying
           to find the ones they lost!”

“We then manually transferred the hours to large project job sheets and tried to decipher the technicians’
           hand writing!”

“The process took admin staff the entire day!”

“We now have the job done by 9.30am!"

“Time sheets are filled out by techs as they go from job to job, no more problems with techs trying to
           recall what they did a few days ago becausethey lost some paper work!”

"Job information is loaded into the system as soon as a job is completed, allowing the invoice to be
          generated and sent same day, this improves cash flow!"

"Now time spent returning job information is billed to clients!"

"Filing in the office has dropped 95%!"

"I can’t believe we used to work with such outdated systems, the change was dramatic and instant!"

Please don’t hesitate to call our support team to discuss what’s possible in terms of streamlining your timesheet and payroll workflow activity!

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Asset Management – working with SmartTrade Mobile and SmartForms to manage assets in the field

Asset Management is a SmartTrade Ultimate feature, using it with SmartTrade Mobile and SmartForms makes managing assets in the field a lot easier. 

You need to have at least one SmartTrade Ultimate licence to be able to be able to utilise the Asset Management functionality

Other functionalities that come with SmartTrade Ultimate:

  • Work Orders – an important feature for Asset Management, work orders for assets can be initiated from a SmartForm;
  • SmartGate portal – you can set up your clients so they can log jobs and/or see their SmartForm results;
  • Project cost control – this feature is primarily a cost control tool which enables users to:

• Create and track claims and retentions for quote jobs;

• Project variations can be entered and tracked separately but reported together;

• Create invoices;

• Consolidate multiple “draft” invoices into a single invoice for a single customer;

• Create project reports:

  1. Job Profitability report
  2. Project Summary Report
  3. WIP Report

Here's your chance to find out how Asset Management and SmartForms work together!

If you would like to evaluate how Asset Management works with SmartForms on SmartTrade Mobile give our support team a call!

Here’s how they will set you up to evaluate Asset Management and SmartForms:

✔ If you don’t have a SmartTrade Ultimate licence and/or aren’t using SmartTrade Mobile we will set you up with trial licences.

✔ We’ve also prepared a short user guide explaining how Asset Management and SmartForms work together.

✔ You can then experiment with a demonstration SmartForm, we’ve chosen the A6 Boilers demo SmartForm because it shows a number of the available SmartForms features. There’s also a short user guide to help you navigate your way through the demo SmartForm.

✔ And as always don’t hesitate to call our support team if you need some help!

✔ If after evaluating Asset Management working with SmartForms you think it might help your business you only have to call our sales team to get set up. We’ll then schedule some online training to make sure you are up to speed with Assets and SmartForms.

Working in the office with SmartTrade Ultimate


✔ Enter Asset details

✔ Attach applicable SmartForms

✔ Create Job + Asset + SmartForms

✔ Dispatch Job + Asset + SmartForms to SmartTrade Mobile

✔ Clients can be given permission to see SmartForm results in the SmartGate portal

Working in the field with SmartTrade Mobile + Asset + SmartForms

✔ Open Job -> Asset -> SmartForms

✔ Complete SmartForms

✔ Sign-off SmartForms

✔ Return Job + Asset + SmartForms to Office

SmartTrade Ultimate + Assets + SmartForms, a great way to manage assets in the field!

We’ve recently released a software upgrade – here’s the new stuff in SmartTrade!

SmartTrade Mobile - in the Field

Ordering on SmartTrade Mobile is now available!

Mobile users will now be able to:

✔ Generate orders, previously you have been able to create an order number on SmartTrade Mobile to give to you supplier. NOW you can add MyData line items from the job sheet to an order and email it straight to your supplier, the order details are returned to the office with the job.

✔ New security privileges for SmartTrade Mobile to:

  • see or not to see the Client pop-up notes;
  • choose what job card fields are mandatory or not (Job Category; Accounting Group, Job List 1, Job List 2).

The feature additions allow you to undertake a comprehensive job workflow on SmartTrade Mobile:

✔ Create a new customer and site;

✔ Create a new job;

✔ Create a quote and email it to the customer;

✔ Accept a quote;

✔ Add materials, including MyData kitsets;

✔ Create an order and email it to your supplier – NEW!

✔ Download a SmartForm, complete the form, email a PDF copy to the customer;

✔ Attach photos to the job or SmartForm;

✔ Update assets (Assets is a SmartTrade Ultimate feature);

✔ Raise order numbers;

✔ Complete and return timesheets; and

✔ Create an invoice, preview it, get the customer’s signature and email the invoice to the customer.

There's also a number of minor upgrades and bug fixes for SmartTrade v6.

These are covered off in the Release Notes.

SmartTrade Mobile data is encrypted!

Given the increasing threat from hackers we thought we should point out that SmartTrade Mobile’s data is encrypted making it very difficult for hackers to get hold of the information.

We aren’t aware of any successful attempt to hack into SmartTrade Mobile data.

Posted by on in News and Announcements

It’s footy season again across Oz and NZ so here’s some jokes about the 3 major oval ball codes!

First a Rugby Union joke!


Two elderly Kiwis, Leo and Frank, had been best friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Leo was dying, Frank visited him every day.

One day Frank said, “Leo, we both loved Rugby all our lives, we played together all through school and for the local rugby club afterwards and after we retired we still attended every Rugby game we could and we followed the All Blacks all around the world. Please do me one favour when you get to Heaven. Somehow you must let me know if it’s true Rugby’s the game they play in Heaven.”

Leo looked up at Frank from his deathbed and said, “Frank, you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favour for you.”

Shortly after that, Leo passed on.

A few nights later, Frank was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, “Frank! Frank!”

“Who is it?” asked Frank sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”

“Frank, it's me, Leo.”

“You're not Leo! Leo just died.”

“I'm telling you, it's me, Leo”, insisted the voice.

“Leo! Where are you?” said Frank.

“In Heaven”, replied Leo, “I have some really good news and some not so good news.”

“Tell me the good news first”, said Frank.

“The good news”, Leo said, “it’s true Rugby’s the game they play in in Heaven!

“Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, and we all play Rugby!!”

“Better than even that, it's always warm and it never rains or snows, the grounds are always in perfect condition!!!”

“Even better still, we're all young again and we never get tired or injured!!!!”

“And best of all the after-match beers are free!!!!!”

“That's fantastic,” said Frank. “It's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news Leo?”

“You're listed in the run-on side next Saturday!”

Next an Australian Rules joke which epitomises the fact AFL supporters are more passionate than we Kiwis are about Rugby!


A family of dyed in the wool Hawthorn supporters head out shopping one Saturday before Christmas. They are in a Rebel Sports shop, the young son picks up a Collingwood guernsey and says to his older sister, “I've decided I'm going to be a Collingwood supporter, I'd like this Collingwood guernsey for Christmas” (for non-Australians “guernsey” is their name for a footy jersey).

The sister is outraged at this, whacks him round the head and says, “Go talk to your mother.” Off goes the little lad, with the Collingwood guernsey in hand and finds his mother. “Mum?”

“Yes son?”

“I've decided I'm going to be a Collingwood supporter and I'd like this Collingwood guernsey for Christmas.”

The mother is outraged at this, whacks him round the head and says, “Go talk to your father.” Off he goes with the Collingwood guernsey in hand and finds his father, “Dad?”

“Yes son?”

“I've decided I'm going to be a Collingwood supporter and I would like this Collingwood guernsey for Christmas.”

The father is outraged at this, whacks his son round the head and says, “No son of mine is ever going to be seen in THAT!”

Half an hour later, they are all back in the car heading home. The father turns to the son and says, “Son, I hope you've learned an important lesson today?”

The son turns to his father and says, “Yes, Dad, I have!”

Father says, “Good son, and what is it?”

The son replies, “I've only been a Collingwood supporter for half an hour and already I hate you Hawthorn b*****ds!!!!”

Then a Rugby League joke!


What does the Kiwi rugby league team do when they’re playing the Kangaroos and their captain tells them to assume their normal positions?

Line up behind the goalposts to wait for the conversion, of course!

Finally, another Rugby Union joke to celebrate the forthcoming British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand!


The Archbishop of Cantebury is a fanatical Rugby Union supporter so comes to New Zealand to watch the British & Irish Lions rugby team playing the All Blacks.

Between matches the Archbishop goes to the beach. Shortly after arriving at the beach he spots a commotion just off-shore. A helpless man, wearing an English rugby supporter’s jersey, is struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 20 foot White Pointer.

As the Archbishop watches in horror, a boat with three men wearing Welsh, Irish and Scottish rugby supporter’s jerseys races from the shore. The Irishman quickly fires a harpoon into the shark's side while the Scotsman and Welshman reach out and pull the hapless Englishman from the water. Then, using long clubs, the three men beat the shark to death and haul it into the boat.

Immediately the Archbishop shouts to summon all three men to come and see him, “I give you my divine blessing for your brave actions” says the Archbishop.

“I always thought there was bitter hatred between the English and Celtic rugby fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes the proof that you can bond in the spirit of true brotherly love to support the British Lions.”

As the Archbishop drives off, the catholic Irishman asks his mates, “Who was that?”

“It was the Archbishop of Canterbury, he’s the head of the Anglican Church”, replies the protestant Scotsman. “He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God's wisdom.”

”Well”, the Irishman says, “he may have access to God and his wisdom, but he doesn't know anything about shark fishing! Is the bait holding up OK? Or do we need to go get another Englishman?”