Rule 9: The sooner you fix a problem, the better off you will be.
The easiest thing to do is ignore a problem, and hope it will go away, and the hardest thing to do is deal with it immediately. There are always more pleasant things to do than deal with a problem. Clients tend to be pretty patient and understanding about problems, because they have their own, but they are particularly appreciative if a problem is dealt with immediately, even if the end result is not perfect. However, if you ignore a problem, or if you make excuses for not dealing with it, clients tend to be much less patient.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have an equipment breakdown during a critical construction project. You can make excuses and wait for the equipment to be repaired before you return to the project, or you can go out and rent a replacement and be only slightly behind schedule. Your client will be much more cooperative if you do the latter.
Problems can’t be fixed soon enough. The faster they are dealt with, the better will be the result. Once a problem has been identified, it should be dealt with immediately.
Find problems, and fix them immediately
Although it might be easier to let problems pile up and fix them all at once, Beardslee insists that solving problems as soon as they arise is a land surveying best practice. Rule 9 covers the importance of solving problems promptly for the benefit of the client, but solving problems in a timely fashion might also benefit the firm internally.
Added Project Costs
Addressing problems promptly could avoid costly rework or corrections. Whether it’s fixing incorrect data, resolving disputes, or repairing broken equipment, swift action will reduce the financial impact on the firm. When you fix problems immediately, it also eliminates the need for additional resources to fix problems later that could have been prevented or addressed earlier.
We don’t think about this very often, but quick problem-solving really improves the morale of your employees. When they see that issues are promptly addressed, it creates a more positive and supportive work environment. Seeing that everyone in the workplace is doing their job to solve issues shows your employees that your firm has high standards. High morale and company expectations lead to an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and more skilled and motivated crew members.
What Should You Do?
We’ve noticed that many surveying companies have poor visibility into their jobs, and don’t learn about problems until it’s too late.
Project managers and administrators must make sure they keep information about each job organized and constantly checked so that corrections can be made where mistakes happen. All staff must also be accountable and aware of what actions they have to take to ensure these tasks all get done.
Mistakes going unnoticed are almost always a direct cause of staff and employees not being on the same page. Communication between PMs, administrators, and technicians is vital in reducing errors and making sure they are easily recognized.
Keeping Daily Work Records that track not only employee hours but also equipment and materials used is an important step in the right direction. On top of this, having a database of your active jobs that PMs can access will increase the odds of a PM finding out about a problem so that they can work to fix it.
If you don’t already have a system like this and are still using pen & paper or Excel for the majority of your administrative work, consider Cyanic Job Book. This tool is built specifically for surveyors and can make it easier to fix problems quickly. It has an easy-to-use active job dashboard tool that both PMs and administrators can access. The job database tracks estimates, budgets, and how your jobs are going in real-time. Combine this with a client database that stores all the information about your firm’s clients, and you will be able to find problems, fix them immediately, and contact your clients in a timely matter.