Software Implementation for Security or Cleaning Contractors

What to look for and what to expect when implementing all-in-one software for your business.

As a janitorial or security contractor, you know all too well the challenges that face your industry like competition, thin profit margins, high labor costs and distributed workforces. But with the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you can meet those challenges head-on and stop them from defining your business. So, where do you start?

Understand why you need an ERP

Are you still using spreadsheets for nearly everything or is your growth being slowed by inefficient software? While spreadsheets can do a lot of great things, they’re not designed for heavier tasks like scheduling your workforce, calculating benefits or managing labor budgets. And simple, out-of-the-box software is fine until you realize it’s not. An ERP encompasses elements across your entire organization including financials, operations, human resources, payroll, scheduling, time and attendance, employee and customer self-service, and invoicing.  

Almost all cleaning and security contractors looking to grow their businesses reach a point where “the way we’ve always done it” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Your breaking point might be too many missed shifts, unhappy customers, uncontrolled labor costs or lack of visibility into your bottom line. Whatever it is, it’s enough to make you step back and realize it’s time to find an ERP solution to help move your business forward.

Find an ERP that meets your needs

You must evaluate an ERP for your particular business since it’s a big investment and impacts every facet of your organization. Think of it like the brain of your business. Your goal should be to find an ERP that has the same useful functions of your current system, while adding new functions your current system can’t do. It should also keep your operations consistent while you improve on efficiency and performance.

When an ERP aligns with your corporate goals, business needs, and is designed for your specific industry, it can provide a platform to achieve your strategic objectives and allow you to manage your business more efficiently. Creating a list of must-have features will help you focus on the right software implementation for security and cleaning contractors like you.

Consider things like whether an ERP has industry-specific focus, if it has anytime, anywhere connection for your distributed workforce, and what analytics capabilities it has so you can start making data-driven decisions.

Get buy-in from stakeholders

No matter the size of your business, it’s important to have the right people around the table when evaluating a software solution that impacts your entire organization. Consider involving these types of people in the process:

  • A technical stakeholder like an IT director, systems engineer or an outside IT representative. This person cares about the security and feasibility of the software. They want to know what’s required to implement the solution from a technology perspective.
  • An operational stakeholder like a controller, human resources manager or operations manager. This person cares about how the solution is used in day-to-day processes because they’re the end user and one of the people most likely to directly face operational challenges when it comes to managing guards and cleaners in the field.
  • A financial stakeholder like the owner, CFO or controller. This person cares about the cost and overall budget because they write the check.

Communicate with your end users

It’s not uncommon for guarding and cleaning contractors to avoid making the switch to new software. New software implementation for security and cleaning contractors carries with it several challenges and can be overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming. When you announce to your team that you’re switching to an ERP, some of them may resist and say, “But I’ve always done it this way,” and struggle to wrap their heads around the fact they’re not only changing their software, but also changing their internal processes because of their software.

Communicate with anyone on your team whose day-to-day activities would be impacted by implementing a new solution. When they realize the new software is going to save them a significant number of hours each month on processes that used to be manual or redundant, it’s a lot easier to get your employees on board — and excited.

You’re ready for an ERP –– now what?

So, you’ve decided to implement an ERP software solution, but now what? With a solid project plan and realistic goals, even the most complex software implementation can realize success and return on investment in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Set a realistic timeline. For a holistic, integrated solution like an ERP system, the average software implementation can take anywhere from several months to a year — or more, depending on how fast you want to go and how many resources you have. It might take longer than you want it to or think it should but setting up the foundation and getting accurate data in the right place the first time around is going to ensure your future success.
  • Develop a smart budget. Be sure to plan for the cost of implementation itself, including any consulting you might need. Factor in licensing fees for users, infrastructure and technology upgrades, ongoing maintenance, training needs and any customizations you might need beyond out-of-the-box features.
  • Plan to conduct business as usual. Knowing how to balance your employees’ time between doing their day-to-day jobs and focusing on the software implementation process is essential. You’re also have to maintain two systems during the implementation process. Just because you did an initial data dump into your new system, doesn’t mean there won’t be changes –– new hires, terminations and new customers, to name a few –– between the time of the initial data transfer and your go-live date.

    “As hectic as it can be doing your regular job on top of implementing a brand new software solution, having a dedicated implementation specialist helped keep us on track and organized,” said Ron Ramos of American Security Services, a provider of contracted security officers in the in the Metropolitan Chicagoland area.

If you’re looking for even more information to help you through a software implementation for security or cleaning contractors, download our ebook, Six Challenges to Software Implementation and How to Avoid Them.