Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort has served the Sacramento, CA, community since 1984. They provide services in the HVAC, solar pool heating, solar electricity, and energy storage industries.
Jason Hanson is the President of Sierra Pacific and a huge advocate for Successware. They had been using some modules in the platform for the past twelve years and recently migrated their mostly paper business to all digital within Successware.
When Sierra Pacific started using Successware, they only used the accounting and customer management modules, adding Successware Mobile for their techs about five years ago. They had developed strong manual paper processes for their job lifecycle that worked for them for years.
While this was a strength for them for a very long time, eventually, with the advent of COVID-19, they realized they needed to make some changes. Absenteeism and turnover were taking a toll on their productivity because people were just not in the office to complete their functions on paper in the job process.
Jason decided something needed to change, and that change was implementing Successware and Successware Mobile into their day-to-day processes and leaving the paper behind for good.
The Transition from Paper to Digital
Moving all of Sierra Pacific’s paper files into a digital environment was no easy feat. The team at Sierra Pacific and Successware got together to analyze their internal processes they had in place and figure out how Successware could best fit their needs.
Detailed steps were written for Sierra Pacific’s internal processes for how they would start a job throughout the close of that job. The teams also had to figure out how the communication between different departments during the job lifecycle would work in Successware between sales to ops to installers and back to accounting and service.
Before Successware, Sierra Pacific had paper job folders that would travel from desk to desk, bin to bin, alerting employees of the status of the job and that it was time to complete their part. Once the job was ready to be closed, an employee would manually enter the information into Successware.
“With the help of a dedicated team from Successware, we were able to peel back step by step what we were currently doing and figure out where in Successware there was a feature that enabled us to replicate it. And in the case of forms, we needed a bunch of forms on the mobile side,” Jason told us.
Forms were a huge part of the digital conversion with Sierra Pacific. In the past, a technician would go to the job with a paper job folder and forms, but with Successware, that was no longer necessary. Custom digital forms and job records helped eliminate the need to bring the paper back to the office at the end of the day since the information would automatically go from Mobile to the back office after each job was completed.
“The team at Successware really stepped up and helped us in mass make those forms available so that we could make an immersion. We needed to totally immerse and roll over almost overnight to a digital environment. Setting up for that took a lot of work and couldn’t have been done without the awesome team at Successware.”
Sierra Pacific couldn’t have some steps in the job process as paper and some in the new digital format, so the change had to happen overnight. The team at Successware helped them create all the forms they needed so they were available when the transition occurred.
Tips for Implementing a Huge Business Change
When asked how best to implement a change like this in your business, Jason said the number one thing you can do is communicate and train your employees. Communicate the changes that are going to happen. Communicate what the process will look like in the future.
Jason leads a daily huddle for his employees called ’15 Minutes to Win It’. During these huddles, Jason would communicate what was going on with the implementation and discuss all the benefits of the new processes. He would reiterate their vision and talk about what the new process would look like once it was implemented. Jason also made sure his team saw what it would look like several times before it went live, so it was less overwhelming to everyone.
There was some reluctance from the team at first when Jason first brought up this new change. Sierra Pacific has a very tenured office staff, and they were nervous about not being able to grab a paper document and learning a new process.
To help with this hesitation, Sierra Pacific had a few champions for the software within different departments. These employees were very excited about the change and dove headfirst into learning the new way of doing things. Having these champions helped the rest of the team with adoption because they had an expert to go to who could help if they got stuck and needed to figure out how to create a process within Successware.
Some departments and teams were slower to adopt to the new way of doing things, which is where the champions also came into play. Jason assigned a project coordinator to some departments that were very busy, so the coordinator could focus on making the change and teaching the rest of the team. Having that change leader really helped with adoption.
Jason also told us another important thing to consider when making a huge change like this is timing. You must figure out the best time of year to make this change. Right after your busy season may be the best time to make a change of this magnitude since your team can have some time to learn the new system before they get swamped again.
Increased Efficiencies and the Future with Successware
Making the jump to all digital has helped Sierra Pacific increase their efficiencies and scale at a rate they may not have been able to before. The speed at which they finish tasks is light years ahead of what they were doing before. Their accounting department used to be buried in manual entry to close jobs, but now that is done automatically.
Learning and using the Job Manager within Successware was a huge unlock for the team at Sierra. This used to be done by moving a paper folder from bin to bin, but the team learned how to create statuses in Successware for each job phase. They could move the job through statuses so the project coordinators could best manage it and see what phase it was in.
Each department can see the job simultaneously, which helps as well. Separate spreadsheets used to be a big part of Sierra Pacific’s work process. They no longer waste time inputting data into multiple spreadsheets and have gotten rid of that redundancy and found ways to document this work in Successware reports. “Our operations efficiency has accelerated dramatically,” Jason told us.
Before going digital, Sierra Pacific’s processes weren’t very scalable. Now, they can scale their business with the same size staff since they can complete work much faster with the automation in Successware. “We can do much more work with the same number of people we have right now.”
When asked what Jason would tell other companies considering making the jump from paper to digital, Jason said to do it early. He suggests if you are a small company, you should do it right from the beginning and if you are a large company, do it before you continue growing. The sooner you digitize and use a tool for business automation, the easier it is to grow. “The best time to take action on the right decision is immediately,” Jason said.
Jason recommends utilizing the Successware training and resources to continue learning the platform and mobile app. He also recommends talking to other companies who use Successware to see how their processes work within Successware. “The tool is so powerful, and it is so helpful to hear how other people are using it.”
When asked about what’s next for Sierra Pacific and Successware, Jason said, “The Successware team is helping and coaching us into the next phase of adoption. We are excited about how far we can take the automation and streamline our workload to produce more output with fewer personal hours.”