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SOFTWARE: Using technology to meet the challenge

Using technology to meet the challenge


October 31, 2008
By Jim Daniels

Topics

Overseas competition, rising fuel
costs, and a multitude of governmental and contractual requirements are
just a few of the significant burdens that glass businesses must face.

The 10 keys to job management success.

Overseas competition, rising fuel costs, and a multitude of governmental and contractual requirements are just a few of the significant burdens that glass businesses must face. However, a new class of technology products may be the solution glass shops are looking for to manage the complexities of their businesses effectively.

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Job management can be one of the most challenging business processes that the commercial glazing industry manages. Commonly, glaziers ask ”How can I gain visibility into my business to know exactly what is going on at any given point in time?” At the core of this question is the glazier’s ability to effectively manage jobs consistently in their businesses.

There are 10 areas defined as critical elements for better business and job management.

Organization
Manage and monitor all job-related data in one system to improve internal efficiency and client service. Many firms will start out by using Microsoft Word, Excel and a small business accounting package to manage their projects. Eventually, their organization grows and project files are scattered across the organization, leading to a process that is inefficient and lacks co-ordination. That is where the new breed of computer software can help.

Consistency
Create and maintain a set of procedures and guidelines that are easy to consistently follow. Establishing a process that maintains information to reduce the likelihood of human error and improving the integrity of the data related to each job. This also effectively streamlines job completion and organizational efficiency. It is also
essential to train new employees quickly and efficiently. With the proper software tools, managers can cross-train employees as well as themselves.

Accountability and security
Clearly defined systematic controls on job information access ensures security and accountability across the organization. Not all information should be seen by all employees. Clearly outlining who should have a particular security access effectively keeps personnel focussed on the relevant job information they need while
simultaneously protecting customers and the business.

Communication
Communication between all parties involved in a job and access to all pertinent information is crucial. Keeping everyone on a project working together in a harmonious fashion, without delaying or damaging others, is a highly complex task requiring the utmost co-ordination, co-operation, communication and sometimes, compromise. As difficult as it may be, this is what makes a project profitable.

Mobility
Keep on top of jobs remotely. Access to critical information while on the job site or away from the office is key. Using a mobile device that allows access to job information remotely streamlines communication, job accuracy and
completion. Having wireless access gives decision makers key job information on a timely basis as well
as keeping them current on sudden changes and daily business activities.

Relationship
Maintain good relationships with general contractors. The basic disciplines of ‘on time, on budget and good quality work’ may not be enough to sustain the relationship. Most general contractors demand fast and accurate information, quick summaries of the job’s progress and project auditing results.

Compliance
Documented compliance protects the company and its customers. It is critical to each job that all compliance standards are not only met, but well documented. Without this documentation a glazier is open to potential risks and liability that could be disastrous to the health of the business.

Agility
The ability to react to job changes with quickness and agility is vital. One of the most important steps in job management is planning. Plans change and the ability to react quickly and efficiently is critical to keeping a job on track and all the moving parts moving in the right directions. Having a system in place to effectively communicate changes throughout the organization keeps job quality, morale and customer satisfaction high.

Analysis
Learn from the past to predict the future. Using relevant reporting and analysis tools allow managers to make better decisions based on job and business history. Reporting tools that track and create unique, customized reports allow access to information essential to making the right decisions for the future. Integration to other analysis tools allows managers to further customize and analyze reports to get the precise trending information needed.

Flexibility
Choose job management tools that integrate well with other systems. No one runs a business using a single software system. Make sure when selecting a business management system that it can share data easily with other systems the company is using today or will be using in the future. Choosing software that make it easy to export data needed in other systems, like accounting systems or analysis tools, saves time and improves efficiencies.

A well run business will have business management tools in place to organize, control and manage the day-to-day processes that bring profitability. In order to stay competitive, glass shops and contract glaziers have a variety of business management software products to choose from that can help guide them through the complexities of their business requirements so they can continue to grow.

These software products must provide simple, effective tools that will help drive the 10 keys to job management success that are essential for a business to evolve as the industry evolves. Without the proper tools, a business is at risk. Without well defined processes and the discipline to use them, monitor and analyze them, a business cannot compete in the long-run.

*Article courtesy of Jim Daniels, director of sales and marketing for GTS Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of PPG Industries. The article is based on a white paper titled 10 Keys to Job Management Success that is available for download at www.gtsservices.com/jm


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