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The importance of checking your crew in the field

May 23, 2016 -  By and
iS18627043performance Image: ©istock.com/hh5800/bluebird13

Image: ©istock.com/hh5800/bluebird13

With all that’s going on this time of year, don’t neglect to get out in the field and check up on the crews. Your reputation and fortune depend on it.

Time is crunched. Every minute counts. You cannot afford to be ineffective.

If you use your field time to make progress serving your customers and building capabilities with your crews, it’s time is well spent.

On the customer communication side, you have access to the best information about the status of the job while you’re on-site. So call the client while you’re there, let him or her know what’s been done, what you’re doing this week and what’s coming up on the schedule. If there’s a problem, snap a picture and send it to them—better coming from you with a plan to fix it—and do the same if it looks great! Why not?

On the crew communication side, remember there are three things your crews can control on the job site: safety, quality and productivity.

Safety is simple (not easy), and it’s non-negotiable: Check for personal protective equipment, ensure the truck is coned, check the trailer hitch and ensure your team is operating the equipment properly. Thank the crew when the checks are good; never pass on it when there’s a miss.

Quality is nuanced. It’s usually clear what the quality issues are, but some customers pay for greater quality levels than others, and customers’ definitions of quality vary. Plus, some quality issues need to be addressed over the next few weeks and some must be fixed today. In any case, use your judgment, but never leave it to chance.

Productivity is not a snapshot, it’s a video. Take a few minutes to watch and mentally check off the “Big 5:”

  • Scope: Is the crew performing the right scope? Doing tasks that are outside the scope is a problem, and skipping scope items soon will be.
  • Sequence: Is the crew performing the task in the right sequence? For example, string trimmers should be behind the mowers.
  • Time: Are we servicing the job at the right time of day? Right day of the week? Retail in the morning, multi-family in the middle of the day, and resort middle of the week. And speaking of time, does the crew know the hours for the job? Are they going to meet or beat them?
  • Equipment: Do we have the right tools for the job?
  • People: Is this the right crew and the right head count? The athletes should be on the big, wide-open sites where speed counts. The technical experts should be on the sites with high horticultural requirements.

Driving results means building the capabilities of the crews and servicing your clients like crazy.

Now get out there.

 

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About the Author:

Thomas, founder of Envisor Consulting, has owned three of Atlanta’s most successful landscape companies. Reach him at kenthomas@envisorco.com.

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