Michael R. Morris
Reviewing your internal systems to increase efficiency or reduce costs is something you should always be doing. With the housing market experiencing a period of adjustment because of rising interest rates, materials costs and other factors, now is the perfect time to re-examine everything you do to see if there are any areas where you can save money without sacrificing quality.
Sometimes you find that you can save money and increase efficiency by making a fairly simple change in the way you do things.
Scott Sevon, president of Sevvonco, Inc., in Chicago, found this out when he decided recently to change from Palm Pilots to Nextel BlackBerrys for his company's internal and external communications.
With the change, Sevvonco employees now can use one device for all their e-mail messages, cell phone calls, scheduling, calendar, contact lists, etc., instead of having to use multiple technologies. And at one low cost.
"The BlackBerry really makes it easy to stay in touch with our clients," Sevon says. "I could be on a job, in the vehicle, almost anywhere, and promptly reply. This really speeds up our communications.
"The same goes for subcontractors' bids, punch lists or schedule changes. They can be made as soon as job conditions change. It also is great to be able to have all our ever-changing schedules and contact changes in the office synchronized [with our mobile units]."
The very nature of the remodeling business — where frequent on-the-job changes, overlapping schedules of multiple trades and numerous other project management issues can affect both profitability and customer satisfaction — increases the importance of being open to such change.
And unlike large corporations, it is relatively easy to implement system changes like this without a lot of pain and time.
Deep down inside, we are all creatures of habit. More often than not, that is a good thing.
But when our fear of change — or worse, downright stubbornness — gets in the way of practical progress, we are our own worst enemies.
Do you have an example of a systems change that saved your company time, money or both? Send me a letter or an e-mail.