Better technology solves many problems. It increases the productivity of your front-line by automating and streamlining workflows. It accelerates revenue by making your products more customer-friendly.
It also gives your leaders the operational visibility they need to manage their teams effectively and create a culture of accountability. This is a particularly important point for the FE&S industry, as most FE&S companies are run on decades-old software and fragmented spreadsheets which creates substantial challenges for project leaders.
Here is a sample of critical business questions that project leaders at most FE&S dealers can't answer due to tech limitations.
- What estimators have the highest bid win rate?
- What PM's are responsible for the most margin uplift or leakage?
- What customers or GC's are most likely to have jobsite delays?
- What installers are most/least likely to stay on schedule?
- What big projects have past due or imminently due tasks/milestones?
- What vendors have the most variable lead-times and are most likely to not make shipment?
This list of questions could go forever and it leaves project executives with a set of sub-optimal choices. Leave these critical questions unanswered and suffer constant execution mistakes with no accountability. Or attempt to answer them with manual data requests and meetings that burden the front-line.
Fortunately, it has never been easier to design and build high-quality software to create better visibility. Cloud computing has dropped storage costs and compute to virtually zero. Front-end, open-source frameworks exist that allow you to build any web components with just a few lines of code for FREE (tables, buttons, forms, etc.). The process for solving these problems is quite simple and consists of four primary steps.
- Centralize - get all of your teams using the same software platform
- Workflow Tools - develop software tools to streamline their workflows
- Data Capture - capture/store data in an accessible database that is created by workflow tools
- Analyze - embed analytics into your software platform using this new data
Example: Jobsite Readiness using Centerpiece
Our platform has already solved the first two steps of the process. It is a centralized platform that can support entire project teams and we have a configured “jobsite readiness” workflow tool. This tool reminds your teams to confirm a site is ready before an install event and has a messaging system to make it easier to create and track that request, and store photo documentation. This will save your team a ton of money and headache from sending your equipment and teams before the site is ready or without the proper equipment to get the job done.
Step 3 and 4 will help us answer the question: What customers or GC’s are most likely not have ready job sites by the scheduled installation date. Our workflow tool is providing the necessary data: the GC or customer for the project and whether or not the site is ready by the installation dates. All we need to do is store that data and do some basic conditional arithmetic. Below is a hypothetical datatable and query that would produce this calculation
Database Query Example
SELECT (COUNT(general_contractor) FROM Job_site_readiness_table where Ready == ‘Not Ready’/ COUNT(general_contractor) FROM Job_site_readiness_table)
GROUP BY general_contractor
I’m biased and think every dealer should work with Centerpiece! But there are other options such as bringing your software development in-house or leveraging generalist software development firms. While those carry risks, those risks can be managed if you have the right technology leaders in place. It's less important how these problems gets solved and more important that they do as quickly as possible to give your leaders the visibility they need to manage their team.
We’re more than happy to assist any dealer that is interested in leveraging better technology, whether that’s using our software platform or using others. Give us a shout!