Focus on “Faster and Better”.
Every asset, machine, tool and person you have must be accountable and cycle more quickly. Your business cannot survive unless you know where your resources are and how they can be used efficiently. Imagine being able to view where your people and equipment are at any moment so that you can plan to intelligently dispatch them to the next job.
Take a Proactive Approach.
Under normal circumstances a business owner will review financial information, overhead and direct operating margin at the end of a month or quarter. But these aren’t “normal” circumstances. Business owners must plan their destiny and not look in the rearview mirror! Instead of flying blind (until a project is completed) it’s time to operate from a plan. Understand what prevents you from 100% efficiency while it’s happening. See the effects that decisions make on profit as resources are deployed and material is purchased.
Buy-in Happens from the Top-Down.
Start by developing a culture that compels events to conform to your plan. Anything that deviates from the plan is an opportunity for cost-savings and efficiencies. Do you have too much time loss in non-direct labor areas (idle or down time)? By evaluating what interrupts the workflow on a daily basis, you will uncover areas that with improvement will provide an increased bottom line. It is up to the business owner to make a conscious decision to manage from a plan rather than react to circumstances, and to hold all employees accountable for following the plan. This transition will be easier if the technology tools available today are adopted.
Reduced Down Time.
Can you reduce or minimize the time spent looking for material, tools and doing paperwork or plan maintenance and calibration to avoid costly down time? A tracking system using barcode will show where your resources and materials are at the time they are needed – who took them last or which job site they were checked out to.
Can you identify bottlenecks on the job – something that slows down productivity?
Although you may not be aware of the bottlenecks on your jobs this is probably the single most important variable. What are your capacities for output and what is the optimal load of people to meet 100% capacity? How do you route the work to prevent idle or down time? A computerized system that tracks labor hours to a specific function within the job and on the fly will help prevent these costly issues by identifying those points where workflow gets interrupted.
Does your staff spend unproductive minutes (or hours) manually recording transactions?
Manpower that goes into manual recording and recordkeeping does nothing to increase revenue or control costs. Technology can provide the integrated systems control over asset use, capacity, maintenance, location – and do it 24 x 7 from the field.
Time and Attendance
A Time and Attendance will tell you who is working when on what job for how long, and produce reports for payroll. It can be set to automatically account for start and end times, breaks, lunch, etc. to reduce the time your employees spend recording their time.
The Job Costing software adds the ability to track inventory costs plus the labor hours consumed against the job while the job is in progress.
Inventory Control will account for your stock parts and tell you when you need to reorder. It can issue parts to a work order or job and confirm that the correct items have been put on the truck at the right time reducing excess inventory. Barcoded inventory makes it quick and easy to take an inventory count.
Making the job of your employees easier by assuring that they have what they need to perform at their best reduces stress. Showing them that you are taking steps to increase the profitability of each job will provide them more confidence in the company.
While technology won’t cure the credit crunch business owners are facing, automated processes that improve cash flow and keep lenders in the loop, demonstrating that the business “has its act together” can go a long way in convincing lenders that their risk is low.