In our first three blogs we have determined that in order to run a successful hauling operation you must be attentive and proactive to the needs of the customer and be able to respond to them with professionalism and competency. You also need to create a culture within your company that sends a resounding message of professionalism, customer care and loyalty. Finally, we learned that in order for you to grow you must be tenacious and unwavering in your pursuit of excellence; there is no excuse for losing a customer.
In this final blog we will tackle a somewhat “touchy” but necessary subject…technology. Real or not, fear can be the cause of a host of emotions and apprehensions. I recall when my oldest son was 9 years old and we watched the Wizard of Oz. For some reason I will never understand, the flying Monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West terrified my son. His irrational fears lead him to believe these ghastly creatures were living under his bed, in his closet or just outside his window. He was convinced they were after him! No matter how much I would explain how preposterous that notion was, his emotions would not allow his rationale to be swayed.
Waste management software, like the flying Monkeys of the Wizard of Oz, can cause fear. Maybe the fear is not anxiety about pain or impending evil but it is about ones apprehension to technology. The irrational fear of losing control, the uncomfortable feeling of change, or the inability to grasp all that technology has to offer may have driven your decision to limit the use of technology in your company. If you are such a person, I have two words for you: Fear Not! Over 10 years ago I took a position with a software development firm and though I was surrounded by technology, I had a fear of using it. I recall the words of advice from my senior programmer that changed how I viewed technology: “Don’t fear technology, anything you can do, can usually be undone.” That simple bit of wisdom freed me up to experiment and begin to see technology for what it is…a tool to make my job easier.
Beyond Flying Monkeys
It is never too late to be an adopter of technology. However, like any business tool it must be evaluated in light of your business strategy and budget. While there are hardware (servers, laptops, etc…), software (applications that run on the servers and/or laptops), people (technology support), and facility (server room/closet) issues to consider in your journey to adopt technology, this blog will focus on your line-of-business software. Once you have moved beyond the fear of technology, here are some things to consider with respect to your line-of-business waste management software:
- Does it solve a real problem or does it create more problems?
- Does it help you create efficiencies or increase productivity?
- Does it allow you to capture revenue streams or cut expenses?
- Does it allow you to serve your customers better (Must Do #1)?
- Does it give you the kind of information that will help you make better decisions for your business?
- Does it give you a competitive edge or allow you to compete with both smaller and larger companies (Must Do #3)?
Do the Math
The software should give you a good ROI (Return on Investment). ROI can be measured in both tangible and intangible ways. A tangible ROI for the software might be its ability to capture additional revenue streams like “extras”. Anintangible ROI for the software might be its ability to retain customers by empowering CSRs to respond quickly with accurate and comprehensive information. Objectively look at your business and see where the gaps are. Are your CSR’s spending too much time bogged down in the paper trail? Is inaccurate communication between your drivers and the CSR’s causing customer attrition? Does your lack of technology impact your ability to compete with other haulers in the area?
Your line-of-business software is one of your most important investments. You cannot afford to go down a road with a software application that cannot accomplish all the considerations above. Don’t be afraid of change and the introduction of a comprehensive software into your company. It is better to be late when it comes to technology than never. It is also never too late to put away those fears and become an informed technology user.
Alpine Technology Corporation has been serving the waste industry for over 35 years with waste and route management software for both the office and the trucks. Their office software,Visual RAMS-Pro, provides billing, work orders, container inventory, route management, customer and account management and much, much more. Their industry-leading truck solution, Visual On-Route, is far more than a mere routing software and allows the driver to be connected real-time to the office. Visual On-Route keeps the drivers accountable while allowing haulers the ability to generate additional revenue streams and cut expenses through efficiencies.