Case study: Allstate Pest Control
Allstate Pest Control is a family-owned South Australian company. Having started in 1986, the company has grown from humble origins as a three-man team, to a dynamic, 35-person company. Its CEO, Vasili Tsoutouras, credits myFLO with being an enabler of that growth.
Vasili Tsoutouras began at Allstate Pest Control some 15 years ago, under the guidance of his father, Peter. Now at the helm of the business, he is also the South Australian Director of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association. Vasili is the President of the National Board of AEPMA, and is Vice President of the Federation of Asian and Oceania Pest Managers' Association.
The problem: The business was reliant on paper
Allstate Pest Control is a seamless business. But it wasn't always this way.
"We were largely reliant on paper. We did have an invoicing and scheduling system. It was very basic but very effective, and that meant that we had all this paperwork and filing requirements to satisfy business needs,' Vasili explained. "So for instance, it was one person's job that was just dedicated to scanning and filing."
This meant that there was a lot of manual interaction with the system, and a heavy reliance on paper. All of the rest of the 'system' - beyond the invoicing and scheduling - was paper-based.
But that's just one side of the problem.
The problem: A field service team needs to be in the field
"We run a field service business, right? That means, we want to keep guys in the field for as long as possible. The problem with the system that we had was that paper ruled the day," Vasili recalled. "At the end of every day, or at the end of every other day, our technicians would have to come to the office to drop off paperwork, and pick up the next stuff for the next few days' worth of work. So we were losing billable hours in the process of picking up and dropping off paperwork."
Vasili acknowledged that for the time, the system was as good as they could get. At that time, the business systems were cutting edge. But as technology moved forwards they needed something that captured more of the system and enabled the business to grow.
What Allstate Pest Control needed was an entire workflow
"We wanted a program to do the whole workflow," Vasili said, which is where Allstate Pest Control began trying to find that program.
What Vasili found, when he started looking at the options that were available, were a number of great products that were brilliant at a couple of things, but for which you had to pay for everything else.
Vasili walked through the extent of what his needs were.
"I wanted a program that, from the moment we pick up the phone, or employ someone that is, all the steps in what we do - from employing someone to taking a phone call, to scheduling a job, technician goes and does the job, payment is taken, and re-occurring or programmed maintenance is set up all in the one system. So I looked. For a very long time."
Nothing on the market handled the entire business.
This is how Vasili ended up at conferences in the USA, looking at software options that might be the answer to the paper problem.
"I went to America, to pest control conferences over there. That was the only reason why I went to the conferences: Solely and wholly to look at the software. Night after night after night after night I was looking for - what I found in the end, which was myFLO."
Why Allstate Pest Control chose myFLO
After all of that searching, much of why Vasili thought myFLO could be the system for Allstate Pest Control, was that he and myFLO's founder, Michael, worked well together. At that time, myFLO was not aligned to the Pest Control Industry but had the base architecture to support the Pest Control workflow requirements.
This proved to be valuable to Vasili; using his vast knowledge and desires the myFLO team were able to achieve a system workflow that resolved many of the existing issues in the Pest Control industry.
"My fingerprints are all over the thing," Vasili laughed.
The result: A growing business, more ownership, higher productivity
Since having the solution in place, Allstate Pest Control has noticed some staggering gains. For example, every technician averages one additional hour per day in higher productivity, because they don't need to go to the office anymore.
"They're not driving from their home to the office and then their day starts. They're driving from their home to the site, and then their day starts on-site," Vasili clarified. "That's easily a 45-minute to an hour advantage already, just there. And then if you look at what a technician brings us in on average per hour, it's about $200. So, that's a lot of money when you start adding it across 24 field service personnel!' he enthused. "We're starting to talk some turkey here, you know?"
And that's just one example. Vasili went on to explain how his field service personnel have greater ownership over their roles, and more flexibility. The team members also have more information now than they have ever had.
Greater internal control and visibility
This increased information and sense of freedom hasn't come at the expense of internal control. Quite the reverse. The increased visibility over the extent of the work - and the greater control internally that Allstate has a result - has been achieved at the same time as the team members are feeling more in control of their own work.
In terms of administrative change, Allstate Pest Control now has more people in its office than it has ever had. But that is only because the business has grown.
"We used to have two people who were dedicated to administration. But now we only have one. We have grown by two additional staff in sales because we're selling more work," Vasili explained. "The people are doing more productive things. And the person who is doing admin work is doing quality admin work, there's less junk work to be done."
The 'junk work' Vasili referred to was the waste of double-handling: Printing, scanning, filing. The kinds of things that less automated systems require just to be efficient. Because Allstate Pest Control doesn't have that any more, all of the dead administration time just doesn't exist.
Focusing on the right things means understanding more about the business
"There are things that we do now that we wouldn't never have imagined we would have done before," Vasili went on. "Like, the way we analyse the business. We're analysing it in a way that we never did before. So we understand more than we ever did before. And it's allowed us to do a whole heap of other things."
Some of those other things include adding more businesses to the organisation. Allstate Pest Control has been able to launch an electrical and airconditioning business, using the same people from the office. That has a separate set of books. And the assets owned by the organisation are owned by an asset management company that Allstate Pest Control also owns. It, too, has a separate set of books.
"If we didn't have myFLO, potentially we would never have got either - or both! - of those extra things. We'd be fully bogged down scanning paperwork and then filing it."
Backing this up, Allstate Pest Control now has instantaneous reporting through key dashboards that allow management to see the state of the business at any given point.
"You hit refresh, and bang! You get the latest set of data," Vasili explained. And as a result, the only sit-down-and-crunch-numbers kind of reporting that the business now does is over and above what myFLO is. That reporting is for the financial reporting and financial management of Allstate Pest Control's complex structure.
Customers benefit by getting information they understand
But what about the customer side?
It turns out that the commercial customers managed by Allstate Pest Control have greater visibility, and greater understanding, too. This is in large part because of the online portal to which Allstate Pest Control's clients have access.
"The reports now include photos and stuff like that. So I guess we're giving them the same information, but in a form that's much easier for them to digest,' Vasili explained. "Instead of reading a paragraph, and still having no idea at the end because they don't know what a subfloor is, the photo gives them far greater understanding of what and where it is."
In a sense, Allstate Pest Control's customers aren't getting different information. They're getting the same information in a better format: One that they relate to, and can understand.
myFLO is purpose built for the pest control industry
While Vasili might laugh about myFLO "having his fingerprints all over it", the result has been a field service management system that is purpose built for the pest industry. From the very beginning of the process - onboarding a new staff member - right to the very end, the myFLO system handles everything.
Unlike other field service management products, myFLO Pest is the most extensive product on the market. It can - and does - handle the entire business. As the Allstate Pest Control story shows, this has enabled significant and real growth. Not only has the business grown by more than 50%, but it has also been able to take take advantage of new opportunities in the market, thanks to more time and visibility on the right things.
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