Sure, every contractor wants to operate efficiently, but even with all the tech afloat, achieving efficiency remains elusive. It’s typical to find that just as we get one thing going well, another is off track. Here are some pointers to keep in mind for running a consistently efficient business.
Using Resources Wisely
Efficiency, according to Garret Wilson of FieldBin, “is the ability of your crew to produce the desired results utilizing the least amount of resources,” including “time, equipment, and processes.” Essentially, increased efficiency on job sites requires improving communication, leveraging technology and automation, and matching tasks to employee skill sets….” Though working toward efficiency requires concentrated attention, efforts tend to have a ripple effect on success, as these examples demonstrate:
- Your crew can be efficient if their schedule and route planning allow them to attend to a significant number of work orders rather than working a few due to poor route planning…Using field service scheduling software can lead your employees to complete more service requests, improving customer service and saving…time and money.
- Improving inventory management makes your crew more efficient since they don’t have to wait for equipment or carry an oversupply of equipment…which can be wasteful, tiring, and time-consuming.
- Better utilization of resources gives your business more to invest in customer service and its crew. Moreover, employees enjoy better pay, a better work environment, and improved morale.
- Your crew can also meet more deadlines, while still delivering to the required quality standards, improving your business’s bottom line and customer satisfaction.
Wilson emphasizes that effective delegation of work to crews is fundamental to driving efficiency in the contract business, and shares these pointers:
Assigning most of the work to yourself or one person leads to inefficiency, wasting valuable time that could’ve been spent handling other projects….Be more willing to delegate work, assigning qualified employees appropriate responsibilities to ensure everyone is contributing equally to the available tasks. Besides improving efficiency, delegating work also allows your crew to gain new skills and leadership experience, which will eventually benefit your company.
Delegating work and assigning responsibilities to employees should not be done without careful consideration of the employee’s skillset and experience. Putting the wrong person in a given role can contribute to inefficiency since they can’t deliver the required work to the required standard in time…. Extroverted and creative crew members are not fit for mundane and unstimulating work. They need to handle more challenging service requests … .Matching tasks to employee skills also promotes better customer satisfaction since jobs are completed faster and to excellent standards.
Effective communication also plays an essential role in driving efficiency, especially since contract work typically involves the jobsite crew speaking with customers, while the in-office team handles other tasks related to the project. These dynamics can lead to complexities and missteps. Lack of clear communication around goals and expectations is also an obstacle to efficiency. Pros suggest:
To improve crew efficiency,…provide various communication channels between the crew, the in-office team, and the customer, including:
- Phone calls
- Text messaging
- Social media
- Messaging apps
- Field service software
You should also promote healthy internal communication between your crew, in-office team, and suppliers or vendors to ensure a seamless flow of inventory that will allow you to access tools and equipment and complete work orders faster.
You should develop SMART goals that break down what each crew member should achieve, with measurable objectives and a reasonable timeframe….Communicate these goals and expectations clearly, with each crew member and employee aware of their expected performance, behavior, and efficiency….Your crew should know how long a service request should take from the customer making the request to completion and how they should report inventory levels as stock levels reduce to a given threshold for the tools and equipment they need.
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