Green industry executives know full well that using the right tool the right job is key to a successful job. It would be pretty hard to cut most yards if you only had a string trimmer.
Every company needs technology to maintain their information and work flow. Most small companies create spreadsheets as a flexible and cost effective tool to track jobs, tasks, lists and things that are important to manage. As companies grow (more crews, more clients, more managers, etc.) the spreadsheets get longer and more complicated. Summaries are needed for some situations and details for others. Spreadsheets are linked to one another and need to have updates for more and more sources.
At some point the spreadsheet no longer functions well and delays decisions or worse incorrect information is used to make decisions. The effect can be devastating. Large organizations use database applications to manage information collection, reporting and work flow needs. These systems are built to accommodate mutilple users and build protections so that data remains accurate when many people use the system at the same time.
Of course, there is a trade-off. Extra functionality means more money for the system to purchase, train and maintain. The skills needed to maintain it are greater than those for spreadsheets. Of course, it can be a big decision. But all of your business is like this. You buy a back hoe when the size of work demands it. Of course, the costs and skills are different than a team with shovels.
So when is it time to start looking at your systems?
- When old spreadsheets no longer update all the pages and your staff is copying information to three different sheets.
- When you cannot find the current spreadsheets
- When you have one person keying information for three or more staff and the staff have to wait days to get the correct information.
- When only one person can tell the boss if the information is accurate or not.
- When you are waiting on your Information Technology Team to add a column to a sheet for weeks
- When you cringe as the reports are being brought to you