The challenge every executive faces, at some point or another, involves innovation. Specifically, the issue is one of identifying, embracing and actualizing change – innovative change – that can make a business more transparent, unified, efficient and communicative. Those advantages also redound to clients, giving them the exceptional service they want with the consistency of results they deserve.
To see these policies in action, to have technology accelerate these developments among established companies with solid roots within their respective communities, to witness this union of information and productivity – to vouch for this bond between positive name recognition and genuine innovation is a chance to preview a snapshot of an entire industry. I invite you, then, to visit Booker, Texas (population: 1,315), home to Fronk Oil, which services drilling rigs and oilfield fracturing services, and delivers commercial and residential propane, among other things.
It is here, in the Texas Panhandle, far removed from a major city or national media, in which many of the country's most important developments occur – including breakthroughs in energy exploration, complemented by equally impressive strides in engineering and the use of state-of-the-art equipment for the extraction of natural gas – it is in this environment, remote and yet intimate at the same time, where, since its founding in 1947 and through the long tapestry of history, Keith Fronk represents the latest generation to lead Fronk Oil.
Allow me at this stage to offer, per my custom, a point of qualification about family-run businesses in general and the propane delivery sector in particular. I consider this category to be a laboratory of invention and intelligence, where people like Keith have a strong professional interest in maximizing the benefits of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and real-time intelligence.
In other words, if you seek to tour the companies where cutting-edge technology is a reality – or rather, if you think Silicon Valley is a sneak preview of the future – I suggest you make your way, instead, to State Highway 15 where the billboards read “Booker: Next 9 Exits,” a reference to all the streets that run north-south (N-S) that meet the highway as it passes through town.
With the streets arranged alphabetically and categorically in the “south of the railroad tracks” side of town, while the roads running west of Main Street contain the names of flowers and trees, in the quietude and summer heat of this place you will see technology in action. You will see the Fronk Oil trucks, an iconic droplet etched (in red) around the word Oil, en route – to and from deliveries – strengthened by the power of real-time intelligence.
Status, Not Stasis: Family-Run Businesses with a Dynamic Culture
This emphasis on real-time intelligence – the ability to easily manage and oversee the status of drivers, with color-coded designations indicating the delivery or expected receipt of propane, diesel and oil – this access to instant data, which can save companies significant sums of money (thereby eliminating redundancies or overlapping routes) and reward the most productive employees, all of these features – and more – are positive and verifiable.
But the technology from Digital Dispatcher, for which I am a Vice President and Senior Consultant, is, in the case of Fronk Oil, a metaphor for the difference between corporate stasis and a dynamic culture of leadership.
In this situation, it may be convenient for a business – it may be tempting for any brand with nearly 70-years of distinguished history – to let longevity be a substitute for modernization; to allow goodwill to supplant the need for change, and to be indifferent to or an enemy of new tools and resources.
Thankfully, Fronk Oil disproves the notion that permanence in the marketplace is also a symbol of aversion to innovative technology. On the contrary, the company's sustained success is the product of a relentless search for the right applications – to satisfy the needs of a mobile workforce – in which competitiveness is inseparable from the desire to learn more about improving operations, enhancing morale and exceeding the expectations of clients.
The takeaway theme to this overview is simple: No company is too old to be immune from, and no business is too new to decline the power of, innovative technology.
My recommendation is to contact the companies that combine credibility with growth, mindful of the sacredness of the former and the urgency of the latter. The two are neither mutually exclusive nor individually illusive. They are, in the manner and style of Keith Fronk, available to any executive with the resolve to flourish and the means to do so.
This guest post is courtesy of Bill Stomp. He is Vice President and Senior Consultant for Digital Dispatcher.