No matter how much back-end systems get automated or operations get moved to the web, manpower remains a driving force for businesses in every industry. So when a lack of skilled labor arises in any given sector, the ability to scale and expand a business can come to a grinding halt.
The creators of Field Nation understood that. They saw a need for a tool that allows businesses to source skilled labor without the middleman. Where companies once had to contact an agency, who then reached out to staffing companies, who finally contacted potential new hires, Field Nation now allows these companies to reach skilled workers directly.
As the leading place to find and manage on-site, on-demand contingent workforce, Field Nation knows a thing or two about finding a niche in B2B and filling it in new and creative ways. We caught up with their Chief Technical Officer, Travis Emslander, to find out what inspired the launch of Field Nation, how its grown to become the success that it is, and how the company has used automation and digital tools to scale their own operations.
What are the typical processes of businesses that are not using Field Nation for their work orders? What problems do businesses have that they look to Field Nation to fix?
Many field service companies rely heavily on their W2 workforce. This gets expensive, especially when it comes to travel costs. People who do not use contingent labor get constrained in where and what they can service.
Most customers come to us because they need to find a qualified technician in a new geography or with a different skill set. We have the leading marketplace for qualified, skilled technicians and service providers. It’s easier to find this talent through Field Nation than traditional methods of recruiting, such as using staffing firms or posting help-wanted ads online.
At what point did you realize that the traditional processes in place were inefficient? How did you come up with your solution?
Around 2008, when the economy took a downturn, our CEO Mynul Khan realized that the changing US economy meant more companies would be looking for contract help as an alternative to hiring full-time employees. He noticed that, on average, companies were paying three markup costs on labor. A company would hire a service company, who would then hire a staffing company, who then found a technician to fill the position. Each of these stages required a markup, and the end-client ended up overpaying while technicians were underpaid. Cutting costs by fostering a direct-to-technician model benefited all parties.
What types of benefits do your customers usually witness with the implementation of your software?
Field Nation offers bottom-line savings in several ways. With Field Nation, there are no recruitment costs. Using contingent service providers reduces the overhead associated with full-time, W2 employees. These expenses traditionally include benefits, insurance, salary, and equipment. Companies using Field Nation are better able to scale with the highs and lows of their regular business cycles.
Many of our customers also use Field Nation to grow their business in two key ways. Companies expand the breadth of services they offer their customers, knowing that they can fulfill that work with qualified service providers found on Field Nation. Similarly, many customers expand their geographic footprint by relying on our marketplace to find talent in new areas. Clients can say yes to more projects outside their traditional scope. In fact, many service providers on the Field Nation Marketplace get so busy with work that they can build their own service company using Field Nation.
Has your business used digital means to streamline your own internal processes, outside of work orders? How have they impacted your business’s efficiency?
As a startup, we had to adjust to scale quickly. Pretty early on, we needed to automate back-office operations such as payment processing to scale. In the beginning, Mynul sent out checks himself, which ended up taking hours every Friday. It didn't take us long to automate that and send our process through a digital transformation.
We've also built automated recruitment systems to attract new technicians with key skill sets. Additionally, our new matching algorithm recommends top service providers with the skills clients need to help connect technicians with clients faster.
Emslander describes his biggest pet peeve as hearing people say that they got stuck. He believes that hitting a wall is actually one of the best ways to learn and that leaning on your team and their unique insights is a great way to build your own knowledge.
Field Nation is helping businesses expand and improve their team, reach new markets, and ultimately scale their operations without limit. They are proving that automation isn't just there to replace manpower; it can also be used to help improve the way that businesses hire and utilize their employees.
Topics: Disrupting B2B