Integrated, You: Are You Integrating Your Company’s Workflow? Part II
As we discussed last month, when it comes to workflow, one size definitely does not fit all. There is no way that a small company should try to manage itself like a large company. Smaller companies need a lean and mean, no-nonsense workflow with minimal need for office supervision.
I often speak with small companies that want to micromanage every time a piece of equipment moves to a van, creating a very complex multiple inventory system that
is just not needed and is unmanageable.
Medium-sized companies have more management proficiency and need user-level controls to assign tasks and do more tracking of each step. Large companies require more workflow steps—the highest level of supervision and management oversight for each job status. They need the ability for management to view the status of each job, establish the needed workflow steps and determine which users can sign off on every phase of a project.
Even large companies with plenty of staff should beware not to bury themselves with too many steps in their workflow.
There is a need for easy collaboration with checks and balances, advanced reporting requirements and more.
A complete workflow begins with a
sales lead contact management system.
This allows salespeople to accurately track their leads, assign priorities, set callback dates and manage each opportunity in
Creating the proposal happens next. But this can only be done efficiently if the proposal system already contains all of the products and labor values that are needed in the proposal. The proposal system needs to provide easy access to needed product information, and when labor and accessories are included with the products this creates a powerful system that manages your products, prices and labor.
Once a proposal is sold, this is a milestone event that transistions the proposal
to a job.
The job has a burden of equipment that must be ordered and delivered to the jobsite at the right time. It also includes a burden of labor that must be scheduled, perhaps right away or perhaps many times over the period of a year or more. Complex jobs can bring many more processes that need to be managed.
This is where project management enters in. Installers need work orders with detailed task lists for each job. Work order results should create time cards that can be tracked for each employee and job. Hours consumed for each job need to funnel into profit reports that are constantly updated by the current work in progress. Management needs a global view to see all jobs, their current status and be alerted to problems. Group calendars connected to smartphones are my favorite tools to manage installation labor and service calls.
Gantt charts provide a great timeline view of work on the schedule and in progress. Work order should not only track hours, but also track the specific result accomplished.
Five years ago, we began building a complete integrated workflow into BidMagic software to help integrators manage all of these tasks. It took lots of innovation and hard work, but now we have all of these essential business processes in a single integrated workflow.
We could not have embarked upon this type of workflow solution by ourselves. We were fortunate to have years of input from all of the integrators using our software to guide us in our design. All of this input helped us build a playbook with the flexibility needed for a variety of teams and different workflows. We have used all of the latest software tools to integrate all of these steps into BidMagic to provide a single, scaleable complete workflow for our users.
Take time to evaluate your current workflow to identify bottlenecks, gaps where things fall through the cracks, and inefficiencies when one step does not logically connect to the next step. I believe you can make more money with less effort by working ON your business. •