I remember the day my staff handed me a stack of iPads because they didn’t help in the field. After spending countless hours creating a system that nobody could or would use, my staff still found pen and paper faster and more reliable. You probably have your own story of technical challenges and may be gun shy about adopting new systems. Technology can be a valuable tool to reduce costs and increase productivity. However, that requires matching the right tools to the job, and creating an environment where technology works for you.
Implement Technology the Right Way
It can be hard to decide whether or not to implement technology in the field. If it fails, it can cost time and money. It’s not a question of whether you will use technology in the field, it’s which tools will give you the biggest impact on your bottom line. That’s why you need to take the time, energy, and planning to make smart choices about adopting technology.
Here are the 5 rules to help you implement technology.
1. Prepare for Change Management
Change is scary for a lot of people. Everyone responds to it differently, but the majority of your staff probably like stability and routine, with limited changes to their workflow. This stability is central to how they operate and feel, which means you will have to handle the change with care.
The key to successful change management is to get influential staff within your organization to buy into the changes and get their help to roll out your solutions. They are your champions. You win when the champions and staff buy into your vision, embracing the new technology’s benefits and helping you implement it.
It’s important to make the changes in increments: create small wins and change a little more. As the technology is accepted, your staff will push for more change as their life gets easier.
2. Prioritize Change that Aligns with Your Goals
The restoration business is complex. There are four main areas of your business: accounting, file/project management, estimating, and field management. If you're looking to improve your file management because you're manually handling a lot of work, look to improve communication between staff. If you want to improve your office accounting, your needs will be dramatically different.
For example, Encircle provides field staff with the tools they need to be productive. Encircle helps technicians, contents workers, and project managers have the tools required to reduce liability, allocate resources effectively, and exceed customer satisfaction. Encircle helps get information from the field to the office so that administrators can work efficiently and complete work faster.
Adopt technology with purpose and set purposeful goals that can be measured. Employee engagement and excitement will get your staff to join your technology journey.
3. Drive Productivity
As a general rule you want to keep hardware expenditures as low as possible. Phones, tablets, computers, cameras and even moisture meters have a life expectancy of between 2-4 years. Once you provide your team with these tools, expect costs associated with breakage, replacements, and repairs.
Depending on your team, some people will use computers, tablets, or smartphones. Some team members in the field will require smartphones to communicate and the decision to provide tablets as well is a choice you will need to make. Dollar for dollar, the best bang for your buck is to invest in your smartphones for staff, as they offer the most usability and can be a productivity tool.
Avoid free offers for older phones. The goal for your business is to get the most out of your staff, which means having higher resolution cameras and fast, reliable technology. Spend on a good quality phone and you will increase the productivity of your staff.
4. Think Long Term
You don’t have to run out and equip your entire office tomorrow. Calculate what you’re able to spend and plan a timeline to incorporate technology into your company. You will want to get the most out of your budget. Make a three year forecast of what phones you will require, what computers you will need, and what software will help you increase your productivity.
Think about how you will outfit your staff. Experienced project managers, lead technicians, and crew should get new Apple and Android devices. Secondary staff can get the last wave of technology, and your tertiary staff can get the older technology.
Pair your productivity tools to the proper staff based on their usage and their need for being connected to each other, the company, and the client.
5. Don’t forget simple solutions:
There are solutions you can use today that don’t cost a lot of money, but will dramatically increase your efficiency and productivity. For office staff, consider investing in a computer that can handle one or two additional monitors. Using two monitors can create an increase of 20-30% in efficiency. Add three monitors and the productivity goes up. Consider you have two administrative staff members on your team. You could increase administrative production by 50% or more by adding a few $150 monitors. This increase equals a potential $15,000 to $40,000 in annual return, allowing you to do more in busy times. This also helps you grow your business without having to hire additional staff.
Implement The Right Technology
Let these simple rules help you implement the right technology for your business. From the field to the office, transform your business into a more efficient operation. Technology is here to stay and integrating it into your company will be key to running a more profitable business.
Learn how Encircle can align with your business needs by requesting a demo.