Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kevin Gilbride

Kevin Gilbride is publisher of the Lawn & Landscape media group.

Features

Just simplify

Snow and Ice

June 11, 2014

As any industry embarks down a new road there are any number of questions and concerns.

As a disclaimer, the ASCA is not an accredited certification body (ISO auditing company). So this is my experience listening to dozens of industry professionals who have initiated the process of becoming ISO 9001 and SN 9001 certified.

Here is my best advice to everyone embarking on certification: DO NOT OVERCOMPLICATE THIS!

Let’s step back for a moment. An “accredited certification body” is a company that provides ISO audits. Why don’t they just say that? Because, ISO 9001 was developed in general terms to meet needs of many industries. ISO 9001 is very, very good. However, because of this, we had to develop SN 9001 to meet the specific needs of the professional snow and ice management industry.

In your business you have processes and procedures to ensure you meet service quality. Start at the beginning with the sales process. How does yours work? What has to happen to generate a meeting? What happens in the proposal process? What happens when you make a sale? When you make a sale, where does that order go? It probably goes into a computer system of some sort. Then it comes out as an order. Write it all down.

Once it becomes an order you probably execute something to initiate your preseason site inspection. That is a process. Write it down. The preseason site inspection then comes back into the office and it goes somewhere. Write that down. Then you may have some training with your crews on how you are going to service the property. That is part of the process and should be written down.

Then you have a process for dispatching, for in-event operations and post-event operations. Write those down. Then you have some documentation that comes back into the office. Write that process down, too. Once the documentation is processed, a bill is generated. That is a process, so write it down.

Then you have a process to make sure you get paid. Yes, you guessed it – write it down. Once you get paid, the entire process is over.

We have very quickly gone from initiating a sale to providing service to getting paid. That is what ISO 9001/SN 9001 are generally about. If you are doing these things, write them down.

Have I over simplified this? Yes, but not as much as you think. Don’t become overwhelmed by the prospect of certification without first examining your processes.