The first seminar of the day at PestTech 2018 was billed as 'The industry moves on', so it was quite appropriate that Simon Forrester, who is himself moving on to new pastures in the New Year, opened the session.
Simon is of course, currently CEO from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). He was speaking on behalf of the Pest Management Alliance (PMA). He reminded the audience that this group consists of not only BPCA, but also PestTech organisers, the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA), and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).
He introduced his talk by saying that the frequent impression was that these organisations were often at cross-purposes. But that is far from the case as he explained: “People simply don’t know how much goes on behind the scenes. We work together with common goals and come to a consensus view on what affects us as an industry.”
Simon went on to launch the new PMA Code of Best Practice for the humane use of break-back traps saying that best practice documents such as this should be seen as the industry standard that all profesionals work to. Unfortunatley closer examination of the printed document that was available within the exhibition revealed that this is still a DRAFT. The launch was slightly premature as Pest understands that Defra is still to apporve the final version. As soon as we have it we will add it to the Pest library so watch this space!
Onwards and upwards for PROMPT
This is a welcome step forward for PROMPT bringing a fresh new look along with much easier access for members to check their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points tally. This includes a rundown of each event attended and the CPD coming from that event and also shows how many more points an individual needs to collect to stay on the register.
A new events section allows members to find CPD events easily and quickly and there’s a useful resources section as well as plenty of information on the mobile app and how to use it.
Simon Forrester spoke on behalf of the Pest Management Alliance
Accredited members go through an audit process that guarantees the professionalism of the work carried out.
Future proof your systems
Mike Palmer-Day from ServiceTracker outlined why he thinks it's time to move on from labour intensive card indexes, lost paperwork, spreadsheets that are never up-to-date and poor visit scheduling. He gave a whistle-stop tour of what to look for in a well thought through pest control business management software package and explained how such a package can help all sizes of businesses do things better.
There are many aspects to managing a pest control business. Most, if not all, of the administrative elements can be improved with the right software. Digital systems can streamline the scheduling of visits to customers, keep track of the number of visits against the contract, produce quotations, invoices and statements. They can offer mobile technology to allow technicians to record activity on-site and produce instant electronic service reports.
But they can do much more. They can document what was said by whom and when to each client or prospective client through a customer relationship management system (CRM). They can provide customers with access to their own records via a customer portal and give owners and managers detailed analytical information to allow them spot new opportunities and trends.
Whilst not every business may need all of these 'whistles and bells' to begin with the key message from Mike was to try to future proof your system so that whatever you choose is capable of expanding in such a way that when you want to add extra elements they will all integrate seamlessly together.