Last month’s article, “Investment in Employee Training, Not Just Equipment,” produced a lot of good responses from many readers. Now it is time to offer real solutions to help your company improve productivity and reduce costly errors for your sales team and also all of the other critical areas of your business. The simple fact is most companies’ sales processes have not evolved for decades. Therefore, the sales and management teams are working far harder than they need to be to get the work done quickly and without any errors. Two critical constraints are causing all kinds of lost productivity.
Too many companies suffer from needless project communication constraints. For the LBM companies, why does the sales team have segregated project information between the CM and all other areas, such as doors and windows? Many executives are told repeatedly that their expensive POS system, an example being Epicor BisTrack™, is supposed to be handling all of the critical need-it-right-now information, yet the promise that it will work someday remains vague. That someday never becomes a reality, because it is always too cumbersome to use and does not have all of the critical information needed for every step of a project in all of the different departments. Think about how much time is being wasted in each sales team member’s day just making phone calls within the company to find need-it-right-now information instead of garnering more sales for the company. Each 15-minute phone call interrupts two people, the salesperson and the person in the other department. If you stop and think about it, you’ll probably realize how many productivity interruptions by salespeople are happening at your company.
It is time to automate your communication and project process to make it very easy to use, with all project information grouped, automated, and made mistake proof. The following is a list of suggestions for creating your own state-of-the-art communication system.
- Start by making sure you implement a true web browser system, not some client terminal-server make-believe cloud wannabe. There is a huge difference between a true web browser system and a shared client terminal system. With a true cloud web browser system, all project information can be processed via any web browser on a cell phone, tablet, or computer, which is almost impossible on a terminal server system.
- Make sure everything is linked and grouped to each project. Why not have all of the e-mails, instant messages, texts, notes, documents, and schedules linked to each project? Grouping information like this always makes it easy to find details and also it makes it less error-prone!
- Create an automated system that works in every department, not just the manufacturing division! Have a system that links every department with the same information and yet is flexible enough that each department only has the pertinent information it needs. For a lumberyard, the system could be specific to each department, such as doors, windows, EWP, and many other specialty items.
- Automate the method of knowing what is needed next and what has yet to be done into one seamless system. Know the what, when, and how to do something via automated notification, reminders, and schedules that inform each person or group. Wouldn’t it be great if the salespeople were given an automated notice of missing deadline information?
- Automate the communication of the defined standards for the company, customer, and project. Why not have a simple way that, if the user clicks an option, up pops a screen on which the user must choose one of the multiple defined choices before proceeding to the next step? Once the user chooses an option, it is conveyed to all of the right people throughout project processing.
Too many companies are already trying to create an in-house system like this, but most are falling short and wasting too much money. So why try reinventing the wheel when you can save your company a lot of time and money by using AppWright software? Your company would be able to communicate via e-mails, texts, and instant messages, to schedule people, workgroups, and departments with capacity schedules, and link all electronic files and documents – and it all comes with customized, very easy-to-use interface screens based solely on your needs and requests. It is already proven and used daily by very large multi-location and small single-location lumberyards, component manufacturers, and home builders. Normal cost is half that of an in-house IT guru or coder. Let AppWright build your automated cloud-based web browser project communication system today. AppWright Brochure
Another critical bottleneck for many salespeople for wood truss manufacturing is the truss bidding process. Far too many truss sales teams are totally reliant on the design staff to provide them with truss quotes. How many expensive design staff-hours are being wasted on projects that will never come to fruition? What is your company’s quote to sales order ratio?
For many companies, a quote to sales ratio of 30% is common. So that means your design team is designing three times more projects than they need to be. There is a faster and easier application than the truss plate vendor’s software that your sales team could use: Sum+It.
Give your design team a major relief by letting the sales team produce truss quotes themselves, or at least allowing the designers to use something far quicker than the truss vendor design software. Of course, the potential projects that are almost certain to be an order can still be done with the truss design software. However, there is certainly a large segment of quotes in the majority of companies for which a ±5% pricing accuracy is good enough. All it will take is a willingness to do things differently than what has been done in the past.
When you want more than hype, TDC is your best source for learning about the very best and latest practices to keep your company competitive. TDC has proven real-world expertise that goes far beyond what many expect and has provided consulting services for well over a hundred clients. Whether you are a new or longtime operation, save your company a great deal of time and money by getting professional lean manufacturing help and training to improve all of your processes, not just in manufacturing. TDC uses proven and practical lean manufacturing best practices combined with industrial engineering principles that include refined time standard man-minutes for truss manufacturing. So, before you buy equipment, get TDC’s advice! TDC does not receive referral fees from any equipment or plate vendors, and you can trust TDC for unbiased vendor and equipment recommendations shaped only by customer experiences. Please don’t take my word about TDC’s services though. Read the public testimonials many current and past clients with decades of expertise and experience have been willing to give: https://todd-drummond.com/testimonials/.
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