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The reluctance to move on from paper scheduling

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paper schedule

Our experiences have brought to light an interesting fact; the majority of service organisations still rely on pen and paper for scheduling and coordinating their work. In this modern world with its’ abundance of high tech solutions, why are we so reticent to move on to more advanced solutions?

We like what we know

Many people just don’t like change. You’ve got a system in place and it works, to some extent. Many business owners know their system has a lot of short comings, but over the years they’ve learnt to adapt and work around the problems with their system. The system may be slow, there may be a lot of room for error, but it’s a system that everyone in the business understands. In many businesses it is the decision makers that are reluctant to change. Their business is profitable, and the current system is usable. Why take a gamble on an expensive new system? Often these decision makers are of an older generation. This generation can be even more wary of change, and less amenable to the idea of moving to a more electronic solution. Younger workers are often more familiar with using new technologies on a daily basis, they don’t have the fear, or the lack of understanding that some older people suffer from.

That fear is not always unjustified though, with a mobile workforce to manage, information needs to be available to workers in the field. It can sometimes be hard to put your trust in a web-based system when you’ve been used to hard copies of schedules and work detail. A replacement system must take into account your workers in the field, and guarantee problem free access to the systems when needed.

Keeping your workforce on side during such a transition is paramount, you don’t want a mutiny on your hands! (Or at least a little grumbling). Allowing everyone to give their suggestions and speak up about their worries before a change is implemented, can be very beneficial, both for the workforce and for the business.

Change costs

A business works as it is, the current methods may be flawed, but they don’t stop the business running as it should. Changing the system will incur costs. Not only monetary costs, but time too. There can be a lot of headaches, getting a new system in place while taking care of legacy data and ensuring that the system does not go down for a longer than acceptable time. Then there’s the matter of training everyone to use the new system. A business will most likely have employees who will need to use the system, with a wide range of technical know-how. It can be a worry when you implement a new system, that your users will not understand it. Sometimes we put off making these changes because we can see a lot of potential headaches in the changeover process.

The need is not yet critical

Current processes may be cumbersome, but the need to change has perhaps not reached a critical level. People tend to get by with things that don’t work quite right. They make the best of them, they develop a knack. Think about your own home. We all have something there that doesn’t work quite as it should but we work around it. A drawer that you to slide in at a certain angle or it doesn’t work. A television that only comes on if you give it a knock in a certain place. When we use something on daily basis, we tend not to notice its’ problems, we get used to working around the issues. The time for change comes when the problems start to annoy us. When that drawer finally gets wedged stuck and we find ourselves swearing at it, it’s time to buy a new chest of drawers. It’s the same with our business processes. As the world gets more technologically advanced, we can get left behind, customers want facilities that we can no longer deliver unless we move on from our basic systems. Our business can start to grow, meaning more manual work managing the extra workforce, this means more paper and bigger whiteboards, clearly it becomes impossible to manage eefficiently using the current paper based system. It is at this time that change becomes worth more. It becomes worth the hassle as the benefits become ever more clearly obvious.

Don’t leave it too long

It’s wise though, not to wait until your system breaks down, to a point where it is affecting the running of your business, to implement change. Start planning now and you’ll have sufficient time to fully assess your processes and you’ll be less likely to make mistakes when you’re choosing options for your new system. A methodical and patient approach will reward you most in the long run. Going through all the detail and assessing any possible risks can help allay those fears that change can bring.

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