When it comes to competing for contracts in the marketplace, technology has the potential to be a game changer. There are multiple ways you can use technology to reduce costs—and hopefully, increase your client portfolio—without compromising quality.
However, lowering costs is not just about purchasing the technology, but also how you implement it. I find that combining technology with better processes can allow you to reduce costs while improving the quality of the service you provide.
Let’s take a look at some of the areas where technology can impact your ability to increase production rates and reduce costs, which in the long run, can lead to more winning bids.
Today you can’t operate a cost-effective department or business without taking advantage of the benefits that computers and associated software bring to the workplace. Costs, bidding, communications, timekeeping, and quality control are just a few areas that are now much easier and faster for businesses to track thanks to customer relationship management software and other types of programming.
Taking it one step further requires that you track many of these processes on the go—for example, on a smartphone. The use of laptops and desktop computers are quickly becoming far less productive than the phone in your pocket. Using a mobile device can speed up your bookkeeping, which in turn, can help streamline and make room for other important activities.
Today nearly every equipment manufacturer is promoting its latest model as being able to reduce labor costs by 40 to 70 percent if you just buy one—and certainly buying two or three would be better than one. Much of this is marketing hype. However, if a piece of equipment will actually allow you to reduce labor costs by even 25 percent, and you can use the machine for at least four hours per day, the cost savings can go directly to the bottom line—and in turn, reduce your projected costs for potential and current clients.
The challenge with investing in technology, such as autonomous cleaning machines, becomes validating the claims and capturing the reduction in labor costs, since the initial purchase may simply add to the cost of doing the work.
Great progress has been made in the safety and reduction of chemicals used for cleaning. A hot topic these days is engineered or augmented water that functions as a detergent, sanitizer, and/or disinfectant. Similar to autonomous technology, the promises regarding cost reduction and effectiveness of engineered water technology need to be validated, but you should not overlook the potential that these new products bring to the marketplace.
My recommendation: Before buying a piece of equipment, use it on site for several weeks to make sure that it will really reduce your costs and give you the necessary and promised results. If you can’t do this, you are getting promotional promises versus proof of results. I’d take a pass on any of those deals.
The biggest challenge today is keeping up with all the new products, processes, and technologies that are entering the marketplace with potential to reduce operating costs. As a manager, I’d say that at least 10 percent of your time needs to be spent in researching, staying current, and testing out new products and concepts that may give you the upper hand in winning more bids and keeping your jobs with clients in the future. You can do this by researching online, monitoring industry chats, attending conventions and seminars, and reading the magazines and newsletters that make the information you need available.