"Show Me The Money!"
Change only happens when someone, yes, a real
person, chooses to be the advocate and to bring it into your
company. When technology is new and untested, it is usually
the hobbyist or the closet “techie” within your
company that spends the many long hours and diligent effort
to get your company to use a new technology. You know the dispatcher
who works weekends programming so he can print out the schedule,
or the office manager with the latest PDA or cell phone so that
he/she can look up budgets and phone numbers while in the vehicle.
They do this for personal satisfaction, even
if it takes longer and costs more. Digital cameras, until recently,
fell into this category. You buy a digital camera and take thousands,
it not millions, of pictures and then carefully resize, remove
red eye and color-correct each photo. Then you create elaborate
naming conventions for computer data folders so you can find
these works of art later.
Several things have changed to move this technology
into the mainstream of your business. (1) Digital cameras that
are smart now cost about $100, and come in disposable models
for less than $25. (2) You can print this picture for about
$.25 with little effort (wireless or plug-and-print). (3) New
FREE, yes I said “FREE”, software from Google called
Picasa Photo Organizer allows you to put your pictures in a
folder, and you can manage all this by simply rolling your mouse.
And last, but not least, you can easily email a photo with a
short note using your cell phone. All this technology works
out-of-the-box and requires no special skills, just like the
So how do we turn this into increased revenue
and lower costs? Let’s discuss costs. Take a picture of
your truck inside and out, and put it in the cab of every vehicle
to remind the drivers that you care about the condition of the
vehicles, and to remind them what a clean cab looks like. If
your drivers dispense material as part of their job, take a
photo of the items along with how much they cost, so the drivers
know that the paper rolls are not free.
Use the camera to document how you want your
business to look and, by putting pictures up, your employees
get a picture and a clear understanding of what you want.
What is good for the employees is also good
for the customer. Give your drivers and technicians a camera,
and use this to easily document opportunities to pass extra
costs to the customer. Over-used portable toilets, over-filled
roll offs, blocked access, use of extra hose, problem areas
in grease collection, or contaminated vegetable oil collection
can be turned into a $25 charge to a customer and $1 to $5 bonus
for the employee who took the picture. This helps three ways:
(1) Keeps the employee sensitive that wait time for blocked
access costs MONEY; (2) Your customer will stop abusing your
service, since a picture goes a long way in explaining an over-used
item and (3) You can actually receive additional revenue for
work you have done but was not worth the time or effort required
to document the problem and deal with the customer’s denial.
(Tough to do with a photo.)