By Phil Harwood, CSP
At this year’s Snow & Ice Symposium in Cleveland, a room full of snow professionals assembled at roundtables to share ideas related to service verification. As a facilitator, I moved from table to table to hear what was being discussed, which included the generation of innovative ideas. Clearly, this is a hot topic and part of a larger discussion about using technology to provide richer, faster and more accurate information to customers and managers.
Like many of you, I have personal experience with some solutions, through my companies or via one of my clients. As you consider building a service verification system, evaluate the benefits to your customers and to your company.
Customers want to inspect what they expect. They want to see photos, have real-time completion reports, gather accurate weather information by location and receive timely invoices. The technology solutions are moving quickly in this direction. Snow pros can deliver these solutions today in a way that would have been impossible a few years ago. It’s an exciting time to be in this business.
Managers want to inspect what they expect. They want more efficient and productive operations, to obtain job costing reports and to capture information to help defend against lawsuits. Although some snow pros are just beginning to explore available solutions, others have fully implemented technology platforms that they are now fine-tuning.
1. Technology is constantly changing. Now is the time to explore technology solutions that make it easier than ever to inspect what you expect. What did not exist a few years ago will blow your mind. Do your homework; don’t be shy. You may not have time to implement a new solution this winter, depending on its complexity. But there is no reason to hold off on your research. As you consider possible new solutions, you will most likely discover what can be improved immediately and without significant effort.
2. Strength in numbers. The number of collaborations between industry technology providers is exciting. Seek solutions with providers who are open to collaborations, partnerships, strategic alliances or whatever they want to call them. Having an open mind and a listening ear makes a good technology partner.
3. Stay focused and committed to a new technology. I’ve witnessed companies invest in technology solutions only to give up and walk away. Across town, one of their competitors has successfully implemented the same solution simply because they stayed committed. The first company has to start over while the second company gets to enjoy the benefits of a fully implemented system. There is no perfect solution. Having a mindset that failure is not an option is important. Equally important is to drive this mindset throughout your company. This is true for big and small solutions.
You want to inspect what you expect and so do your customers. The solutions are plentiful - make the time and commitment to find the one that works best for you.
Phil Harwood, CSP, is managing director of GrowTheBench.com and a member of the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee. Email him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com.