The Power of The Widget

The Service Industry Lives and Dies By The Widget of Time

by | Aug 12, 2013 | Blog | 0 comments

MPI Business Maturity Index

Time is your Widget!

If you’re in the service industry in pretty much any fashion, Time is your widget. It’s your pizza, shoe, car, chocolate bar, dress, lemon, nut. bolt, or screw. My personal stand on this is hard line and straightforward: If you fail to count and track your widgets, no matter what business you’re in, you cannot prove at any point that you’re actually making money. And at some point, your business will fail. I believe this to actually be a major axiom of the service industry.

Accurate time tracking is multi-purpose in any service-based business. Purpose One: To track time spent working on any issues so that the client can be accurately invoiced accordingly, and so the client can see the value they received for their investment. Purpose Two: To track actual work hours performed by any employee to see that they are productive and you receive value for your investment. Purpose Three: To have a measuring system by which you can gauge efficiency in what you do. This is regardless of individual, team, or the entire company. The ultimate goal is efficient repeatability and reproducibility in everything you do.

The most useful numbers about any service department come from knowing this data. Most service companies do not have an accurate accounting of time spent on tasks. They also do not have a useful idea of time invoiced for those tasks. More importantly, many have no idea how many hours they are missing from their invoicing because time is not tracked properly.

So what do you do if tracking time just isn’t part of your process? You make it part of your process! Get the right tools and training and commit to the task of changing your process. I can promise you the life blood of your business, your cash flow, and bottom line will directly reflect your success. What’s more is that you can actually run reports and do some basic mathematics that will support every critical business decision you make related to time as a product (widget).

Where do you start? Figure out where you’re at on what I call the Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level. Figure out what needs to change first, second, etc. and then make a plan to move steadily in that direction. I always promise there will be skinned knees, hurt feelings, and sometimes worse. But you have to get to the next level if you want to compete in this industry. Time on task is what drives the service industry from waiting on tables, changing bed sheets, washing windows, or installing apps and repairing PCs.

Here is my Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level Calculator. We score for Levels 1-5 for multiple categories. Simply review the list and circle the line in each category that most closely describes where you and your team are now. It is highly recommended that you read the accompanying “Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Levels” handout in its entirety before proceeding.

Scoring
Add up the solid Dots for each of your selections and then divide by 6 to get your Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level Score. Level 1 = Poor, Level 5 = Excellent!
Total Dots: ___ Divided by 6 = ____

Working One Issue And One Ticket
●○○○○ Working on whatever the client wants done in pseudo-random order.
●●○○○ Working on one issue and one ticket at a time in priority order – About 25% of the time.
●●●○○ Working on one issue and one ticket at a time in priority order – About 50% of the time.
●●●●○ Working on one issue and one ticket at a time in priority order – About 75% of the time.
●●●●● Working on one issue and one ticket at a time in priority order – 100% of the time.

Level Of Detail Of Notes
●○○○○ Writing notes (detailed or not) as the technician remembers to do so.
●●○○○ Writing notes in detail as the technician remembers to do so.
●●●○○ Writing notes in full detail as time progresses with best effort.
●●●●○ Writing notes in full detail in as close to real-time as possible.
●●●●● Writing notes in full detail in real-time.

Maintenance Of Notes In An Organized Fashion In One Location
●○○○○ Notes are scattered across multiple pages of either a small pocket notebook or a legal pad.
●●○○○ Notes may be on the printout for the ticket or the backlog report, but are still likely found scattered across multiple pages of either a small pocket notebook or a legal pad.
●●●○○ Notes are on the printout for the ticket, in a single, orderly notebook or in the system.
●●●●○ Notes are in the system and rarely on the printout for the ticket or in a notebook.
●●●●● Notes are always in the system unless the PSA is down.

Tracking Time In Real-time Or As Close To It As Possible
●○○○○ Tracking of time for each issue is minimal and is based on memory.
●●○○○ Tracking of time for each issue is on the printout for the ticket, the backlog report, or a Time Tracking Log.
●●●○○ Tracking of time for each issue is in the system, on the printout for the ticket, or on a Time Tracking Log.
●●●●○ Tracking of time for each issue is in the system and rarely on the printout for the ticket or on a Time Tracking Log.
●●●●● Tracking of time for each issue is always in the system unless the PSA is down.

Level Of Interrupt And Redirection
●○○○○ Interrupted and redirected constantly by the client, the phone, and whatever else.
●●○○○ Interrupted and redirected occasionally by the client and rarely by the team.
●●●○○ Interrupted occasionally but never redirected by the client, and interrupted by the team only for a 911.
●●●●○ Interrupted rarely but never redirected by the client, and interrupted by the team only for a 911.
●●●●● Never interrupted and never redirected by the client, and interrupted by the team only for a 911.

Time Entries And Notes Entered In A Timely Manner
●○○○○ Time entries and notes are not entered into the system until the technician returns to office, which will likely be the following day.
●●○○○ Time entries and notes are entered into the system, but sometimes not until the technician returns
to office, which will likely be the following day.
●●●○○ Time entries and notes are entered into the system as time progresses with best effort and as close to real-time as possible. Occasionally, this is not until the technician returns to office, which may be the following day.
●●●●○ Time entries and notes are entered into the system as close to real-time as possible. Rarely, this may not be until the technician returns to office, which may be the following day.
●●●●● Time entries and notes are entered into the system in real-time unless the PSA is down.

Our Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level Score is ______

And as I always say, if you need help getting this thing to the next level, reach out for help. Your business may be at stake if you don’t. If you’d like a PDF copy of the Working and Tracking Time in Real-time Maturity Level Evaluation Worksheet, you can find it here.

About Manuel Palachuk

I am the coach that will take you to the gym! Not just send you there.

I provide coaching and consulting to individuals, teams, or organizations with only one goal in mind: to take you and your business to the next level. And I have the blueprint to do it!

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