By Phill Sexton
A well-trained team is better equipped to successfully execute the level of service outlined in your clients’ contracts. According to the State of the Industry survey, many snow contractors provide some sort of training, mostly related to safety and equipment operations, yet more than 50% have no formal training program in place.
For even the most veteran companies, the importance of training on processes should not be overlooked. For example, I was lulled into complacency on a site that we had serviced for several years. While our service plans hadn’t changed all that much, we had new operators on site when a 2-foot snowstorm swooped in. We had site engineering plans and detailed maps for that site, yet we failed to train the new team on our standard operating procedures (SOPs). As a result, we failed our client.
As a precursor to establishing a training program, it’s imperative that companies establish SOPs - step-by-step instructions to achieve a predictable, standardized, desired result often within the context of a longer overall process - and then build their training program to reinforce them.
Benefits of SOPs
Standard operating proceduressupport the three key pillars of the business:
- Sales and marketing: RFP response, estimating, contract specifications, etc.
- Operations and production: Dispatching, plowing, ice management, maintenance, etc.
- Finance and administration: Service documentation, invoicing, collections, etc.
Standard operating procedures offer an objective way to critique your operation by removing emotion from the equation; provide the ability to consistently train and inspect what’s expected; and promote consistency and best practices.
Using SOPs allows snow contractors to consistently measure outcomes and improve processes as needed. Without consistent processes and training, you can’t realistically expect everyone on the team to deliver consistent results.
While 96% of respondents do some sort of training, most do not have a formal snow & ice management training program. However, without a formal program, it is far easier to let training slide and far more difficult to benchmark your efforts and to identify areas in which your team needs additional training and education. Companies who need help with training can turn to SIMA for resources. From individual to team training, videos, webinars, and the ASM and CSP programs, a vast array of products and services are available to those who make training a priority. Learn more at www.sima.org/resources.
To learn more about SOPs, including step-by-step building instructions, check out SIMA’s archived webinar here.
Phill Sexton is director of outreach for SIMA. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.