Don’t let the “app for that”allow you to lose sight of the basics. As software, apps and tools have given us the ability to increase efficiencies and quality; we must be careful to not allow our organization to become complacent. These technological advancements are tools and should not replace the need for knowledge and understanding.
In school, we are not allowed to use calculators until certain and specific points in our education. Why? You still have to know the basics. 20/5 = X. You know the answer in a split second. Moisture mapping, inventories, accounting, scheduling, estimating, human resources and the list goes on and on of functions that have apps and/or software to help facilitate. These are wonderful tools and, in fact, we must be certain to take full advantage of them in our operations. Not only are these tools that can have a positive impact on quality, consistency and efficiencies in your operation, they raise the bar of expectations. File sharing and “logging on” is going to be the normal expectation for all of our functions in the coming years.
During the recent influx of frozen pipe losses from the Arctic blast in the Northeast, we were short on laser measurers. I found a compact and affordable device that would measure up to 50 feet to supplement the need, and as I frantically searched, secured and retrieved the tool, a member of the management team said, “You can always use a tape measure…” I cracked up laughing. I, myself, have become so accustomed to the ease and accuracy that the laser measurer provides, I forgot about a good old fashioned measuring tape.
My caution is this: In all of the disciplines and functions that we employ technology, we must be cautious of overlooking the need to understand what the technology is doing - the basic formulas, the functions, the relationships of information, etc. A couple of examples:
- Psychometric Chart and Formulas: You can calculate everything you need for a water loss with a couple clicks of a button, a must have tool for the water restorer. Teach your staff how to understand the psychometric chart and understand the calculations so that they have a complete understanding and then explain the software’s role.
- Contents Inventory: Contents inventory software is a wonderful tool that is rapidly replacing the tedious chore of preparing hand-written inventories with cameras and memory cards. Teach your staff the components of a good inventory and the purpose of each piece and then let the software do the work. Photographs, unique number assignment, location tracking, pre-existing conditions - these are components that should be understood.
- Communications: This is speaking to a very broad skill but we can’t forget about even the most basic of core competencies, such as the ability to communicate well in person. People should still speak to each other and be able to do so while articulating themselves. Text messaging, e-mails and cloud-based communication tools can’t totally replace human interaction and the skills needed to do so in a positive manner.
- Accounting: Since my background is in accounting, I would be remiss to not include this category. Accounting software has made the task of managing the accounting functions of an operation extremely user friendly. When the button that says “Enter Bill” is pushed and the bill gets entered, within the organization, there still needs to be an understanding of how that bill impacts the balance sheet, income statement and cash flows.
Embrace the technology that is available to our industry but do not allow it to debilitate your organization. Technology is the tool - we still need people to do the thinking.