Technology – does it solve all your headaches?

Technology is evolving so fast that if you blink you’ll miss it. No one can argue that the abundance of advanced and adaptable technology we have available at our finger tips today is anything other than incredible. We have seen this proven both in the past and present day. It was estimated in 1957 by Robert Slow, (Ph.D.) of M.I.T, that in the 40 years from 1909 – 1949 the United States’ output per man-hour head increased 87.5% due to the progress in technology.

Today, IT is typically among an organisation’s top five expenditures. However, as Voltaire said, “With great power comes great responsibility”, and yet it is currently the case that an average of 10-25% of a company’s total IT spend is wasted due to misuse or just not being used at all. In order to get the best use out of technology, an organisation needs to take responsibility for understanding what they are trying to gain from it; sadly you cannot just implement technology and hope for the best.

More often than not true organisational issues are missed due to the reasoning that by merely implementing technology you will improve productivity. However, in our experience, technology won’t change behaviour and therefore will not necessarily deliver the substantial benefits touted by the technical salesperson.

We’re not saying technology is a bad thing, but it isn’t a cure-all. Instead it should be viewed as the “render on a well-constructed house”. Often we find that good investment in tools, such as van trackers and dynamic scheduling software, is wasted as the fundamentals for an effective scheduling methodology are not in place. The technology should be the bolt-on to the framework of an empowered scheduling team, who really understand how to drive operative performance.

It sounds obvious, but the technology is only as good as the methodology and people you have in place to drive it. Without these foundations, the van trackers will never be looked at and the cleverly optimised schedule will be constantly overwritten by operatives who rule the roost and drive the schedulers to manipulate the day to suit them. We are forever seeing good system optimisation overwritten because an operative wants his last job to be round the corner from his house!

So to sum up, we believe the starting point needs to be getting the principles in place and changing the ingrained behaviours away from simply administering the technology, to driving performance. This will deliver huge gains, but is not a quick fix and often requires the help of external specialists. Only once this strong foundation has been built can the technology be applied to squeeze the last remaining drops of performance improvement from a team.