Technology and innovation are often synonymous, but the facts tell a different story. For, without the right kind of technology – and without the right experts to apply, manage or enhance this technology – innovation is improbable, delay is inevitable and efficiency is impossible. Nowhere is the practical impact of these points more relevant, and nowhere is there a better example of the union between mobile communications and repair services, than in the outfitting of fuel delivery trucks.
Yes: These vehicles with large tanks filled with diesel or propane, these polished steel enclosures sparkling on the roadways and avenues of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, home to the capital of the Keystone State and headquarters to a company I admire (more about anon): Tank Truck Outfitters, which provides quality tank truck services, products and parts.
Full disclosure: I am a fan of this company because I am more than familiar with the brand's reputation, under the leadership of Joe Jacich, for upholding the values of the local community and furthering the principles of safety, repairs, inspection and wireless communications for businesses throughout the area. The takeaway theme to this lesson, one I purposefully repeat and encourage other executives (in any and all industries) to emulate, is, as always, simple.
One, acknowledge and adapt to the demands of your customers. In this case, that means taking the lead involving the use of real-time communications – giving managers the ability to easily identify the location and delivery routes of various drivers – so Joe can streamline operations, eliminate redundancies, save money and reinvest those returns for the good of his clients. Gone, too, is the tedium of manually recording and entering information about these deliveries.
Secondly, technology (or rather, the right kind of technology) can be a catalyst for modernization and smart monitoring. For example: By embracing the dynamism of real-time intelligence, by accepting that no business can be immune to or successfully resist the changes wrought by technology, Joe symbolizes the wisdom of an executive who understands the inherent value of technology.
He knows that a specific application provides data, convertible into actionable plans and a new way of running a business. Thus, the relationship between Joe and his drivers can be more transparent and beneficial – a collective bonus for workers and customers alike – because there is no ambiguity about individual productivity. Nor is there any confusion about the just rewards a driver should receive for the consistent on-time delivery of fuel.
Leapfrog the Competition with Technology: Invest in Knowledge
The universal lesson of this story is that the right technology can provide the right information, to yield the right result. The outcome is high-quality service, customized care and attentive assistance, which is the hallmark of a great brand in general and a family-run business in particular. As for the latter, which speaks to one of the core ideals I promote as a writer and seek to popularize as an advocate of successful marketing, Tank Truck Outfitters “gets it.”
Joe and his colleagues understand that in an industry where technology is usually a euphemism for complexity, a catchall term interchangeable with avoidance and an unwillingness to learn how to master the most basic forms of software and mobile applications, complacency can be a serious problem. This phenomenon is not exclusive to truck outfitters – hardly – but it signifies a challenge (for companies in this space) and a rare opportunity (for Joe to best his competitors).
The stakes for him are no abstraction; they are a sign of his respect for and his professional duty to maximize the advantages of technology, period. Indeed, when your clientele – the people who know you by name and appearance because you are a proud member of the community – have new and ever growing expectations about the services they want, then you have an ethical responsibility to fulfill that task. If technology facilitates this process, which we already know it does, there is no excuse for the refusal to comply with these changes.
And yet, truck outfitters seek to preserve an expensive – and highly bureaucratic – system because of familiarity; they prefer comfort, however costly to their consumers, over the seamless integration of real-time intelligence. Again, this comment is not an attack against truck outfitters – I can cite any number of companies in other categories that have the same institutionalized attitude about technology – but it is a restatement of vital fact: That technology will not go away because a business wishes it so.
From this specialized industry, lessons abound about leadership and eternal principles of goodness. Every executive can learn something from this story, which can improve worker morale and enhance productivity. Technology may aid in this endeavor, accelerating the discovery, analysis and protection of critical data. This information is just that: Information, not a covert blueprint for the immediate acquisition of wealth or the fast accumulation of respect from consumers.
Hard work, of the kind Joe emulates and his clients deserve, is the only way to achieve this goal. Put a different way, the secret behind the credibility of Truck Tank Outfitters – a not-so-hidden secret every business can adopt – rests with these three words of encouragement (brought to you by mobile technology): “Keep on Trucking!”
This guest post is courtesy of Bill Stomp. He is Vice President and Senior Consultant for Digital Dispatcher.