By Diana Clonch
The recent Snow Business State of the Industry survey showed a fair percentage of respondents who considered adding liquids but decided against it due to concerns about achieving expected results (35%) and a fear of the unknown (22%). Both are relevant and typical concerns when considering changes to processes and procedures, especially when there is a high level of confidence in the established practices. In moving forward, it is necessary to build the knowledge base and skill set with the new process that will lead to similar confidence and assurance. A few things to consider:
Do your homework. The No. 1 reason respondents chose not to implement liquids was lack of education and training (41%). As part of that education process, gather information on what others are doing and learn established best practices. Ask how they’re using liquids, the processes and any successes and failures.
Why change? Evaluate your operations and determine what you hope to gain from the addition of liquids. What resources do you have in-house that can help facilitate the change and what would you need to add?
Create a business plan. Jumping in without a plan is ill-advised. As you build a plan, consider:
- Concerns/problems and proposed options
- Estimated costs of continuing with the current methods
- Projected initial and annual costs of implementing proposed methods
- Estimated short-term and long-term savings from proposed methods
Managing up and managing down. Work with receptive clients to achieve buy-in (providing the numbers and benefits is critical to generate support). Also involve your team to encourage involvement, create buy-in, and train them appropriately.
Process improvement. If you implement, it’s important to monitor and evaluate your results and adjust as needed. Document your work so that you can continue to improve processes. Doing so will allow you to exchange your successes and failures with others and help you build confidence and continue to grow your program.
Realizing the optimum benefits from adding liquids in any capacity requires the ability to understand and control product output. Equipment calibration and established application amounts are very important.
When adding liquids to a program, many have found that treating their stockpile is a good first step, since it requires minimal initial investment. Others have found the use of liquids on individual loads on an as-needed basis to be equally achievable. Whatever the approach, there is a required investment of time and effort to necessitate change and to move past the associated learning curve. Acquiring desired results and overcoming fear of the unknown are strongly influenced by such investments when building knowledge, skill, and confidence levels.
Diana Clonch is a long-time industry consultant and expert in ice management. Learn more at www.dwclonch.com.