By Tom Grandy,
Have you ever been in a store and heard a 4-year-old child screaming and throwing a fit? Most of us have. Why is the child screaming? It’s highly unlikely that they’re in severe pain of some kind. Usually, they are sick, tired, wanting their parents to buy them a toy or perhaps they are simply being obstinate and/or disobedient. So why are we talking about disobedient children? The point is that the issue in front of us is seldom the real issue. The question is “What’s behind it?” What’s causing the problem we are dealing with at the moment?
Let’s look at a few scenarios that may help us think twice next time a “disruption” occurs.
- Parts Not In Inventory
Every company will find itself with parts out of stock at least occasionally. However, if it happens a lot, the real question is why? Does the reorder point need to be increased? Who is responsible for keeping parts in stock? Is that person paying attention? Does the inventory system need to be revised or replaced? Is the supplier constantly out of inventory? If so, perhaps the company needs to look for another supplier.
- Employee Is Routinely Late for Work
Yes, some employees are simply undisciplined or don’t care. However, others may have issues getting their kids off to school. Maybe their means of transportation is an issue. Perhaps the Company Policy Manual (if you have one) doesn’t spell out issues concerning tardiness. If employees are routinely late for work, there is a reason. Perhaps asking a couple of questions could resolve the situation.
- Too Many Callbacks
If Joe is having far more callbacks than the other techs there is a reason. Does the technician need more training? Maybe he or she simply needs to slow down a bit and take their time fixing the repair. Perhaps the company is asking the tech to complete too many calls per day causing him or her to rush. Perhaps the tech is not fully checking out the system. Again, there must be a reason for poor performance and the root needs to be found and dealt with.
- Company Is Losing Money
Is the company losing money? If so, there is a reason. Is overhead too high? Does pricing need to be adjusted? Are the salespeople pricing jobs correctly? I get it, most contractors used to be techs and therefore may not understand the “business side” of their business. If that’s the case, attend some training classes and find out what’s going on. Hint: Grandy & Associates has multiple online instructor-led classes and in-person training. Give us a call if you need help!
- Receivables Are Growing
Have receivables grown from $35,000 to $75,000 over the past few months? If so, why? Are the techs collecting money when the job is completed? What is your policy when it comes to collections? Does the company even have a Collections Policy? If so, is it followed or does it need to be updated? Things don’t just change for no reason, there is a root cause.
- Vehicles Constantly Breaking Down
How often are the company trucks breaking down? Are they simply old and need to be replaced? How about routine maintenance? Is it being performed? Are vehicles being abused by the technicians? Are all the vehicles having problems or is it just one or two? Is the company tracking maintenance costs per vehicle to isolate problems?
- Customer Complaints
Have customer complaints increased? Are most of the complaints centered around one or two techs? How are they handled? Is there a system in place to handle complaints? If so, is it being followed?
When issues, like the above, come up what is your response? Most simply put out the fire! However, the real question is “What’s causing it?” Yes, the fire needs to be put out ASAP but when it’s over, take a bit of time to find out the root cause. It might just help the situation improve or perhaps disappear. Before a problem can be solved you must know who, or what, is causing it. The cause needs to be isolated.
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