Today, we’ll lay down the groundwork for a new blog series that will pinpoint various areas of your country club operation to streamline with technology. Instead of giving pure advice, however, we’ll begin with a few questions to help you discover any weak spots (or “pinch points” as we’d like to call them) in your assessment, and guide your search for the answer after each question.
Without further ado, let’s ask:
1. Is your business as efficient as it can be? A reasonably efficient business can be considered one whose operation is not heavily hampered by muda, or waste, which can be prevented before it exists and corrected where it does exist. Some examples can be as simple as taking too many steps to complete one task, or as complex as losing money from an unprofitable approach to beverage cart sales. It is important to keep an open and vigilant eye on how your business operates from at least a week to week basis. If you believe that you are losing valuable time on important tasks, check your technology for any necessary optimizations to reduce downtime. As an example, your point-of-sale (POS) system and your back-end database may not be integrated by default, forcing your sales employees to enter sales data manually and separately for every sale. To solve this problem, look for a solution that combines the two and reflects POS transactions in real time.
2. Do you have all of the tools you need for the job? For a business that creates special relationships with customers by serving them with a unique kind of hospitality, you need to be certain that you can stay in touch with them. CRM tools will help you do just that by keeping tabs on each customer and easing the recall of certain pieces of data, including contact information. If you often lack access to the CRM tools when you need them, it’s likely that your tools are unreliable, or that some connectivity issue is preventing your electronic devices from opening your CRM module. This is just one of many possibilities when it comes to the utilization of technology in your business process. In general, however, having the tools that enhance the performance of your operation is quite beneficial for the bottom line.
3. Is your data synchronized and up-to-date? If all of your data is still hand-recorded on paper, it will be extremely difficult to keep pace with competitors who have moved on to server-hosted databases, whose data is more readily accessed by more employees and updated at a much quicker pace. Your sales reporting and tracking can benefit greatly from a move to digital storage. With the right POS system, your employee will not be required to input sales data manually at all, as completed sales will get placed in the system automatically.
It also helps to have integrated data in many situations. For instance, if you have a well-designed POS system, your sales representative won’t need to check against error-prone handwritten records for any returns your pro shop may have to process, as the sold item will appear on the computer screen with the name of the customer who purchased it for ease of recognition. With that same POS system, which might be connected to a wireless network, your sales representative can be anywhere in the store and complete the sale easily, making the data available to every other employee with enough privileges at that instant.