By Mark Nardone

Blue Cow Software

We live and work in a connected world. Nowhere is that connectivity more important or more useful than in running a business. Staying in touch from top-to-bottom within a business creates a more productive and efficient operation, helps reduce errors and avoid duplication, and eventually leads to a more satisfied staff. Oh yes, it can also result in a more profitable company.

Fuel oil and propane companies can be complex organizations. Consider the multiple parts of your operation that must all work together in a cooperative and collaborative manner. Scheduling, routing, service, accounting, customer service, human resources, marketing, sales – all are interconnected parts of a living, growing and changing company. All with the added challenge of having many of these parts constantly on the move, delivering fuel, making service calls, and attending to the 1,001 issues that arise every day.

Many years ago, keeping this “flying circus” together and pointed in the same direction was nearly impossible. The height of communication was a two-way radio that was spotty, at best. It was difficult to adjust delivery schedules, respond effectively to emergency service calls, or monitor the activity of employees.

Today, technology has advanced to such a degree that it is now possible to link your entire operation together in a network that provides instant communication and access to essential information. The integration of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, along with their various applications and software, make it easier than ever for workers to collaborate and businesses to communicate with staff, customers, and vendors.  

This real-time communication delivers significant business benefits, including more efficient use of staff time, improved customer service, and making a greater range of products and services available. Mobile communication allows employees to use company data and resources without being in an office. Workers can keep in touch from the field, becoming more productive and making better use of company resources. For example, when meeting with a customer a service technician or delivery driver can access your customer relationship management system remotely to instantly update account details. You can also allow customers the convenience of paying for services or fuel delivery without having to write a check, swipe a credit card or use cash.

Are there downsides to mobile technology for your business? There is a required investment in equipment and networking, including integration into your management system. But an intelligent assessment of available resources, especially software, can allow you to recoup your costs through improved efficiencies and scalability. Although you will need to train your staff, people  in the workforce today are comfortable with mobile devices and can easily adapt. Security is a concern, but the right software can provide data protection that is much more secure than a locked paper file.

How well do you communicate with your team? Are you taking advantage of available technology to become a more efficient and effective company? For ways to enhance and integrate faster, more accurate communications into your operation call us at (888) 499-2583 or click here.