I find myself having a “Love/Dislike” relationship with electronics and technologies these days, and reminiscing about “The Good Ole Days.”
When life was one phone at home with an answering machine, and another phone at work, with an answering machine.
In our company, how we would communicate with our “Peeps” in the field, was radios. When someone in the field needed to order something, they would radio in to the office, a “PO Book”, which means a Purchase Order, a carbon copy form, was located on the counter by the office radio, and a office person would ‘HAND WRITE’ all the items down, and then call in the order to the appropriate vendor. This person would get estimated arrival date, record on the form…one copy would stay in the book and the other copy placed on a clipboard in the warehouse. When the items would arrive in the warehouse, receiving would pull the document and check against the packing slip and also verify items received all match up to the paperwork, check in items, stage in right place in warehouse, and place paperwork in accounting basket. Vendor would send a bill through “snail mail” as it is called today, accounting would match up invoice with warehouse paperwork…Easy peasy!!!!
About 2008, as our vendors have now gotten more sophisticated with computers and fax machines….the above practice is still happening, but now we are being faxed “Order Confirmations”, and somewhere around this time, now are vendors are also beginning to send email Invoices as well. So now what use to be a few pieces of paper, I could now have the invoice come in the mail, possibly an ‘Order Confirmation’ faxed to us and another invoice being emailed to my Accounting department…the eventual intent was to turn into a “Paperless Society”…but in all reality, it was turning into the complete opposite…my outside vendors were now dictating how we do business. The original one above, was easy and back then, EVERYONE was doing the same thing…now depending on the sophistication of our Vendor, we had some still doing the “Snail Mail,” some sending “Order Confirmations” either via fax or email…and then somewhere along the line, the “Order Confirmation” sent had to be verified we wanted it!!! We placed the order, that is why I called you…REALLY!!!
Now, somewhere along the line, we get the braining idea, our guys should get flip phones, eliminate the radios, as now they will have this device on their hip, and we can communicate in “Real Time”, and for a while they would still call into the office and place their order for our Office staff to place the order. However, somewhere along the line in someone decided in our company, ”Hey, why call into the office, just let our guys get a PO number, and call in the order themselves.” All fine and dandy, but now NO process was created, to update the current one, one thing I am clear on, when there is multiple people involved…there must be a simple, consistent process to be followed by all…nope, did not happen!
And then fast forward to maybe 2010, we now introduce “IPads”, sounds awesome enough, and NOW our field “Peeps” can actually email in their orders…however we now have figured out the PO process…instead of calling in, they use their “Call slip” number…but we are still today dealing with a variety of ways how our “Outside Vendors” are communicating to us, and streamlining the process to be “Central’s Way.” All very time consuming!!!
As you grow, people need make decisions, and as an “Owner”, I am suppose to empower the people who work for us to allow them to make decisions, however, what I have found as we are transitioning into this “So Called, Paperless World,” more thought needs to go into their decisions…to look at the ‘bigger picture’ for the entire Team…many people do not really understand the overall ripple effect of a simple idea of adding “IPads and smart phones” because that is the “Cool, smart way to do business today.” What use to be a very simple process of managing our orders…to an almost OVERWHELMING process with so many moving parts…
Now instead of all the ordering going through the same simple channeling of calling into the office…we have over 20 plus people ordering, one way or the other, and our Vendors choosing their way to Communicate to us…”STOP IT”.
Fast forward to today, about 3 years ago, I decided for awhile, I would have to be much more actively involved in the overall “Flow” of our entire company. We created a Leadership Team, to oversee the different divisions of our Company to make sure “New” ways of doing things are not just done, without a more thorough review of how the entire implementation process needs to be. For some, I have been accused of not “Trusting” their judgment, as well as it seems we are “stuck in the mud”…actually quite the opposite, I love new ideas of betterment for our Team, however, I have found, most people are not strong on thinking through the proper strategic way to make it consistent and repeatable to follow by ALL, VERY important in running a successful growing business.
Stay tuned for next time, when I will address this so called thing of “Social Media”, is it really making our life simple…
At Central you can be rest assured, that I am working very hard at making our company the most efficient way of doing processes and procedures daily by ALL…so as in the long run they can spend more time on you, our customer.
Whether you are in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls or anywhere else in the Flathead Valley. . .As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.