Total Installer talks to Rhonda Ridge, managing director of Ab Initio, about the benefits of AdminBase, a state-of-the-art business management system that’s designed to transform the way installation companies do business.
Question: A fast, reliable business management system should be at the heart of any business – yet some installation companies seem reluctant to change. Why do you think there is often resistance?
Rhonda Ridge: Well, while it’s true that most people these days like to keep up to date with the latest electronic gadgets and mobile phones, it is obviously a little more complicated when it comes to something as intricate as a business management system, as in most cases it will be integral to the way a company does business on a daily basis. There is the time and effort involved in researching a new system, plus the cost of setting it up. Also, there is an element of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, because once a team has got used to a certain way of working for so long, it’s human nature to resist change, even if it promises to be easier and more efficient in the long run.
I would emphasise, however, that a modern business management system – one that it is intuitive and simple to use – can transform the way installation companies operate, especially if, as is the case with AdminBase, it can fully integrate all processes from point of sale through to servicing, as well as incorporate the latest in mobile technology.
Question: There will be installers who will argue that it’s easier to just buy newer hardware or update their existing software. Isn’t that the case?
Rhonda Ridge: That might help to a certain degree, but really such measures are just a short-term fix. Hardware isn’t designed to last forever, it all becomes obsolete over time, and even if you do buy a new computer, then you run the risk of exposing other issues, such as compatibility with existing software. It takes longer for software to reach the end of its lifespan, but eventually it will also become obsolete, at which point you might not even realise how inefficient your system has become until it is too late. For these reasons, it’s absolutely vital to invest in a CRM system that has the ability to evolve, in order to maximise the potential of a business over the long term.
Question: You mentioned the importance of an integrated system, what exactly do you mean by that?
Rhonda Ridge: For installation companies that are running separate, non-integrated programmes, it will be highly likely that these will conflict and cause problems on a regular basis. In many cases, there will be someone who has figured out a way of keeping everything working, but wasting time with quirky fixes is not the best situation to be in. A good business management system should be reliable and efficient. I would suggest that if you’re getting stressed and wasting time – and therefore money – with systems that do not communicate ‘as one’, then you should really be considering an upgrade to a system that eliminates the need to duplicate tasks or re-enter data more than once. With AdminBase for example, it is possible to enter a single input of data that can run seamlessly through every department in the company, updated in real time.
Question: How can installers benefit from a system such as Adminbase?
Rhonda Ridge: Put simply, for installation companies that are being left behind with an old management system – and potentially losing sales as a result – then AdminBase will revolutionise the way they do business. A key feature is that it incorporates mobile technology, which means that it allows sales people, surveyors and fitters to be in direct contact with the office, through mobile devices and tablets, using specially designed, easy to use and intuitive apps.
AdminBase has been developed specifically for window and door installers and by fully integrating the entire sales process, and by effortlessly collating and storing all information from point of sale, survey, installation and service, it will improve accuracy, remove the problems associated with old fashioned pen and paper orders, speed up payments and ultimately, by becoming more streamlined and efficient, it will enable a company to realise its full potential and become more profitable as a result.