Survey of Fire Safety & Security Dealers Nationwide Exposes Owners Concerns with In-office Efficiencies, a Need for Improvement

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A survey conducted by Tri-Ed/Northern Video and HindSite Software asked contractors about key areas of their office operations. The results point to large areas of possible improvement surrounding standard office tasks, where increased efficiency could provide huge benefits.

HindSite Software partners with Tri-Ed/Northern Video to survey contractors on their office practices.

It seems like fairly innocent data, but I think it points to a common trend in any field service-based business. Inefficient office operations are often tied to paperwork and the information recorded on it.

Tri-Ed/Northern Video, the largest independent distributor of security, fire safety, home automation, and network infrastructure products partnered with HindSite Software, developers of the field service software, to survey security dealers nationwide on their office practices.

Dealers were given several questions and asked to rate the “pain” of the issue, from one (“Not an Issue”) to five (“Very Painful”). The results revealed that office systems and processes have great room for improvement. Key areas of pain centered specifically on invoicing and billing practices, with paperwork organization and scheduling efficiency following as less pressing issues.

The “most painful” issue overall was invoicing speed and accounts receivables, with 30% of respondents stating that invoicing turnaround time was “Very Painful” to their business. 51% of respondents rated this area as a four or five. The second most painful issue focused on the contents of the invoices themselves, with 28% of contractors giving a “Very Painful” rating to parts used on jobs going unbilled. 56% of dealers rated this area as a four or a five.

The “least painful” issue was scheduling efficiency, at 37% of contractors giving poor scheduling or scheduling mistakes a rating of four or five. A still significant figure, but the least rated among the topics.

“It seems like fairly innocent data,” commented Ted Rightmire, of HindSite Software. “But I think it points to a common trend in any field service-based business. Inefficient office operations are often tied to paperwork and the information recorded on it. When we see the two most painful issues revolving around billing, one part in the field with recording parts used on a job, and the other in the office trying to process that same paperwork and get an invoice out to a customer, it points to a breakdown in that business system. Thankfully, it’s an area that can be vastly improved with a little bit of automation.”

The companies surveyed averaged 12 employees. Half of the respondents did not use any business management software (or did not state that they did), and an additional 25% used basic Microsoft™ or Google™ products (such as calendar and spreadsheet applications). “With just 25% of the respondents using a dedicated field service software package, these results are not surprising, but they still point to a critical business issue within the industry,” continued Rightmire.

About Tri-Ed/Northern Video:
As North America’s largest independent security distributor, Tri-Ed / Northern Video provides state-of-the-art solutions from the industry’s leading manufacturers of CCTV, IP, access control, fire, intrusion, sound, communications, structured cable, and home automation products. With 46 locations across the U.S. and Canada, Tri-Ed/Northern Video offers personal customer service, technical systems support, flexible credit terms, next day shipping, ongoing training programs and the industry’s richest rewards program. For more information please visit

Lynette Baranowski, Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager, 516-941-2849, lbaranowski(at)tri-ed(dot)com

About HindSite Software:
HindSite Software has provided field service software to contractors since 2001. Titled “The HindSite Solution”, the software integrates scheduling, contact management (CRM), field data collection (e.g. mobile time tracking), and invoicing in QuickBooks® in a paperless system. HindSite Software is based in Saint Paul, MN. For more information email info(at)hindsitesoftware(dot)com, call 888-271-4076, or visit
Ted Rightmire, Marketing Manager, 651-280-6343, tedr(at)hindsitesoftware(dot)com

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