2020 will always be known as a year marred by tragedy. There were record-setting fires, extremely adverse economic conditions, and a pandemic that ravaged the globe. Families were turned upside down, unemployment reached unbelievable levels, businesses closed their doors, and the very way we socialize and communicate has changed. As individuals confronted this “new world,” attempting to make sense of, or even cope with, the daily barrage of changes, new ways of doing life emerged. The needs of social distancing and remote interaction has forced technology to step up and play a more important role in the life of individuals and businesses. However, it has also forced individuals to better leverage their existing technology and become more technologically savvy users. Change is no longer an option, it has become absolutely critical.
What are some of the technology uses that have been a benefit to companies during this chaotic time?
- Move to Paperless. Many times with paper comes human intervention and error. There are many office tools currently available to minimize human intervention and streamline communication so customer needs are not overlooked. Whether in the office or in the cab, more companies have adopted such technologies to process Work Orders, confirm service, digitize route lists, capture and process route charges, and much more. These tools are worth their weight in gold! Studies have shown that the return on investment (ROI) of such solutions are sometimes as much as 300%. Imagine making 300 times more than you spend?
- Leverage the Cloud. On premise solutions can be expensive. Not only do you have to purchase the correct hardware you also have to keep on top of upgrades and a whole “farm” of servers. This typically takes at least one seasoned individual in your company or an outsourced IT firm that will not be shy when it comes to charging you for their service. The cloud is a technological phenomenon that allows you to access your solutions remotely and not have to worry about paying an IT firm to manage it…it comes bundled in your provider fees. Also, the cost of licenses and upgrades is typically spread out over many companies and not simply on your shoulders. With Cloud solutions you are also taking advantage of advanced security protocols that your office may not be able to implement. Most applications these days offer both on-premise and cloud solutions, however, make sure to inquire about any loss of functionality that might exist between the two. As everyone has already experienced in the pandemic, working from home can be as productive as working in the office. Solutions like Zoom, MS Teams, Google Teams and more allow you to interact with, and manage, your staff almost seamlessly. These applications are not going away in the future.
- Empower your Customers with On-Line Customer Portals. In the midst of the Pandemic, individuals are far more comfortable with e-commerce. Whether it is ordering their groceries online to having meals delivered, the Pandemic has forced your customers to use online services more extensively. With that, customers are also more prone to self-manage their services and pay online if a customer portal is available to them. Again, most reputable applications provide this service. The benefits not only include accelerated receivables, but also less customer contact to bog down your Customer Service Representatives.
- Take Advantage of Efficiencies. Having a solution that integrates as many major aspects of your business as possible will allow you to streamline your business, minimize error, and take advantage of the efficiencies that come with such solutions. You may now be able to have one person do the work of three and save on your payroll expenses. With less error, you may be able to capture additional income or even cut expenses. The greatest advantage, however, to an integrated solution is that you preserve the greatest resource available to you…your time.
- Set the Stage for Future Technological Advances. Historically many of the advances could be curtailed in a business on account of a technologically diverse employee base. Some of your employees may be very comfortable with technology; others may not be so inclined. Typically, changes are not undertaken unless the adoption rate is high. The Pandemic has forced businesses to shore up ALL their employees’ technological skills and weed out those that will not adopt, or even will try to sabotage, technological advances. This paradigm shift will set the stage for future successful technology implementations.
The pandemic has destroyed so many lives and will continue to do so until there is a treatment. It is utterly impossible to look on the “bright side” of such a global devastation. However, in the midst of the chaos, it has become clear that we have all had to grow in our technology skills. Doing life and business a bit differently has hopefully opened our minds and transformed us into more willing adopters of new technologies.
Does your technology tool box allow you to operate productively and more efficiently? If not, then begin the process of evaluating your processes and speak to professionals in the field. Alpine Technology Corporation has been a leader in the Waste Industry for over 40 years providing powerful solutions, from the office to the truck to the cloud, that give you the tools to run your business successfully. Visual RAMS-Pro is Alpine’s office solution, Visual On-Route is their in-cab computing solution, and AlpineLive is their Cloud solution. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 382-8214, ext. 110.