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Saturday, 09 August 2008 14:40

Technological Prowess Is Winning the Day

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The cleaning industry is changing as technological advancements are being rapidly developed and accepted as best practices by more companies every day. The battle to keep pace with an ever-advancing industry has multiple fronts. We need to be seeking out the latest developments and be willing to embrace continuous improvement and change to win more often. We are a labor-intensive industry—it is our greatest expense. it always has been and always will be the goal to maximize labor efficiencies and reduce costs.

Reducing labor costs through technology has been ongoing since Ford created the assembly line, and applies directly to us today. Savings of cleaning and administrative labor dollars achieved through technological advancements has never been more necessary. if we are going to survive in our emerging economic times of escalating costs due to the effect of the price of oil increasing costs in production, manufacturing and delivery of our goods and services, we must change and become more effi cient. If we are not actively moving forward technologically, then we are falling behind.

We see technological advancements in cleaning equipment, tools and supplies. ergonomics and the efficiency of employees doing their tasks safely and comfortably is now a consideration in everything we do. We are intentionally preserving employee energies and accomplishing higher productivity rates throughout the entire shift. the quest to maximize every labor dollar by arming employees with the most efficient equipment, tools and cleaning supplies, trained in the best methods, makes them capable of executing tasks in the least amount of time.

Technological advancements being utilized to maximize labor dollars spent on administrative and departmental overhead include new software advancements, combined with the latest in hardware, are increasing the capabilities of companies, so they are not only keeping up, but growing their market position. the ability to have connectivity of our business-tobusiness relationships through the web is rapidly changing everything. Building logs are now online, with compliant and work-order capability, being transferred over the internet from the office of the customer directly to the smart cell phone of the appropriate company responded within seconds. these systems are paperless, environmentally green and create savings of postage and other mailing expenses.

More customers desire and demand web oversight in the proof of the delivery of scope of the contract. Jointly calendared periodic tasks are being scheduled and performance tracked, then inspected for quality assurance with handheld devices having photo options creating before and after pictures of proof, which are automatically coordinated and attached to line items of both the inspection and work-order processes. These are then web posted and archived for access by all authorized personnel—from both the company and the customer—to generate automated reports. These types of open door contractor/customer relationships are developing the trust levels now necessary for long-term customer retention.

Software companies providing services to the industry are striving to keep abreast of new customer automation desires and various reporting requirements. The ability to slice and dice data and represent it in professional reports that are automatically produced according to a regular time frame, automatically sent to all the right personnel of both the contractor and the customer as a routine part of the business relationship, is now not only possible, but quickly developing a new norm.

These technological automations are creating a saving of both field and administrative labor. Whenever we do a spreadsheet comparison of how companies are currently performing many laborious business processes manually, to the same tasks being enhanced or completely automated, the automation saves many times over the cost of the web-based automation systems.

The field savings come from enhanced methods of doing inspections, the savings of data input time spent in the office, reduced communications time to disperse inspection data, automated work-order flow and automated follow-up systems involving to all the right people reduce tracking and follow-up time of inspection defi ciencies, the savings of automated report consolidation and report generating costs, the savings of travel and vehicle expense by being able to send inspections and work orders from a handheld device from the field, and the enhanced response capability to customer concerns and requests over the internet. there is much more to talk about here and all features equal huge savings over similar manual processes.

The administration overhead savings come through these same systems as you manage safety, compliance, training, human resources and other administrative functions through a best practices system for each department that is measured and tracked. Managing and creating a culture of safety and compliance through these systems also reduces insurance premiums and worker’s compensation ratings, developing additional hard dollar savings. the management premise is that, “what gets measured – get’s done!” and “what gets measured and routinely reported continuously improves!”

The investment in the right technologies makes total business sense from a bottom-line, operating and customer-service perspective. It reduces overhead and fi eld costs, improves profitability and keeps you playing in the game being one of the best customer service providers. These points may best be said by a couple of quotes from someone we all know and respect.

“it is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” —William Edwards Deming

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Dennis Parker is Vice President of Marketing and Sales of Nuvek, the producer of the VEKTR™ software for best practices performance management, quality assurance, operating compliance, risk management, safety, sales management and other data collection processes, including automated follow-up and reporting. Visit www.VESTFS.com or www.VEKTR. com for additional information, or call Parker directly at (801) 628-0693.

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