Zoom_tabletsYou get a tablet!  You get a tablet!  At Zoom, now every team member has a tablet.  On it:  The Operations Manual.  The Price Book.  How To Videos.  Invoicing and Payment Collection.  The Top Projects Lists and updates.  The Scorecards.  Testimonials and Job Evidence Manuals.  Access to the internet, videos, Google apps, email, texting…whatever they need to solve problems and serve customers.

Power to the people!  When you give your team better tools, they can do better work. 

Here are a few tips for making the move to Paperless…

  1. Tighten up the existing systems.  Be on top of the paper systems first.  If your accounting isn’t current, accurate and streamlined, do that FIRST, before you move to tablets.  Get to KFP – a Known Financial Position.
  2. Upgrade to a software system that can handle tablets. My latest favorites are… Field Service by Corrigo, tied to QuickBooks Enterprise.  Service Titan with QBs.  KickServ with QBs and ESC by Desco.  Talk to a few of their clients before you make the move.  Don’t look for a perfect software, and don’t expect them to change their program for you.  Learn it and use it the way it is designed.
  3. Assign a Tech, a Bookkeeper and a Dispatcher to work on the transition project.  Your front line team knows the problems and opportunities and work flow.  They can make this a really fun, functional forward movement at your company.  Or, they can become resistant rocks in the road if you just try and impose an unworkable system on them.  Get your team in on the transition to tablets for best results.  You will have no shortage of volunteers for this one.
  4. Test drive the Tablets with one Tech.  Connect the Accounting and Customer Response systems.  Dispatching and invoicing through tablets are the essential functions.  Test drive with one enthusiastic Tech first…and follow the flow of debits and credits through the whole cycle.  See how the information goes from the shop to the tablet and back again through the software and devices.
  5. Roll them out!  Update the Operations Manuals with procedures specific to the use and care of the tablets.  Train in a group and individually to make sure that each team member knows how to use the tool and associated systems.  Have written consequences for losing and abusing the tablets, as well as updating and replacing them.
  6. Keep adding appropriate apps and functionality!  Tablets make so many processes simpler.  Embrace the technology.  Encourage team members to make suggestions for cool apps.  Have fun!

Will someone drop and break a tablet?  Yes.  Maybe on day one.  Is there still a place for a notebook and pencil?  Sure.  However, I encourage you to move to a “Paperless” environment.  Every time we directly enter information into the accounting system or dispatch program, we are saving steps.  We save time, energy and money.  We improve real time communication.  Training is key…because you create a big mess when folks are messing up the program.   So, do the training.  Hold team members accountable for using tools properly.

And make sure everyone has a notebook and pencil with them, too.  Stuff happens.  Sometimes life just moves too fast and it’s helpful to be able to write things down quickly.

xo$, Ellen

PS…Training!  Productivity!  Getting your Team in on the Game.  We are going to digging into ALL of this and so much more at the NAPHCC Connect 2014 Event!  It’s in New Orleans, on October 8-10th.  Check out the awesome lineup of tours, speakers and workshops!  Including mine… How to Keep Your Contracting Bu