Sometimes the Brilliance is in the Simplicity of the Solution

May 10, 2021
Lisa Lavender, M.T.R., M.F.S.R., M.W.R.

The Back Story: As with many supplies used in the industry, the price of trash bags has increased. We buy lots of trash bags. At the same time, we are working on developing our course, “Not Just Trash”, which can be more complicated than you may imagine. I have lots of trash stories and a secret waste management passion. Part of my trash training inspiration is a quote from a co-worker, “Everyone laughs, but you can tell the new people on a water loss because they overfill the trash bags.” 

All these dynamics have led to a lot of “trash” talk. Something smelled in my trash, enter odor control 101 – remove the source, so I removed the trash bag that had plenty of room for more trash. I embarked on a simple trash gathering stroll focused on getting the most out of the bag. Next thing I know, I was muttering about the trash bag price increase, the need to train people on using the right trash bag for the right job, weight, types of debris, and so on and the story of putting too much debris in the bag on a water loss, it becomes too heavy, the bag may break, safety issues, and so on. All this information was swirling around and then a co-worker simply said…

“Lisa, did you ever think of buying smaller trash bags?” 

The Answer: No, I had never thought of that.

I am totally embarrassed to share with everyone that I had never thought to buy a smaller bag.

The Brilliance of a Smaller Trash Bag:

  1. Safety: A smaller trash bag will reduce the risk of a bag becoming too heavy to safely transport.
  2. Secondary Damage and Inefficiency: A smaller bag reduces the risk of putting too much weight in the bag and the bag breaking, making a mess.
  3. Cost, Waste, Environment: The smaller bags cost less. The bag in question is mainly used for construction types of debris and much of the bag goes to waste due to the nature of the debris and its weight. It is also better for the environment.

I share this with you because it reminded me of some very important concepts that we must remember as leaders and problem solvers:

  1. “The way we have always done it”: Almost 21 years of buying the same bag, left us settled. Nobody was challenging the status quo or pushing for an improvement. We must constantly push the boundaries, inspire each other, and maintain a “continuous improvement” culture.
  • Invite new members of the team to share any observations or opportunities toward improvements. Fresh eyes may sometimes identify opportunities that others may miss.
  • Challenge the team to make an improvement to something that on the surface does not seem to be a “problem”.
  1. Identify the Problem: In Getting to the ROOT of the Problem, the first step is to identify the actual problem. I really was just trash bag rambling and did not define the problem which would have been simple and likely quickly solved.
  2. Listen:  When we all really listen to each other, so much good can come of it. My co-worker was listening to my rambling. In turn, I listened to his simply stated solution.
  3. Simplicity: Our world is full of complexities at every turn. As restorers, it is in our nature to be problem solvers. However, we must be careful to not overcomplicate things; not to overcomplicate any problem or the potential solutions. Sometimes simple problems deserve a simple solution. On the other hand, sometimes even complex problems or what seems complex deserves a simple solution.

A practical example:

Problem: Strained resources and manpower.

Process Change: The process was that when equipment was pulled from a job; it gets immediately cleaned and restocked by the person who pulled the equipment. The change was to establish an equipment drop location and schedule the cleaning and restocking of equipment.

Result: This process change gave more flexibility in managing and juggling the resources of the company. It also improved the scheduling and capacity. The skilled and trained team members had more time to do their specialized jobs. The equipment cleaning needs could be scheduled, and it was easier to train and develop skills to clean equipment than many of the other skills and trades that were needed.

In our complex and busy worlds, it is easy to become consumed by the chaos. Enjoy and look for simple solutions. Accept the simplicity when it can be found and remember that even if a “solution” did not work, just try another way. I am thankful that my big trash bag “problem” reminded me of some very important things. It is also very gratifying when you take even a little step forward towards improvement.

May you find simple solutions and much continued Restoring Success.

Originally Published:

When Restoration Management Software IS The Right Answer

restoration management, restoration management software, restoration company managementManaging a restoration company comes with a lot of different tasks and responsibilities. Think about the last time your company was – excuse the pun – flooded with water damage losses because of a heavy storm. How did you manage the workload? How did you keep track of where equipment was and how long it was going to be unavailable for the next job? Did work trucks break down in the middle of a busy day? How did your technicians avoid confusion about work assignments and make sure they were at the right job at the right time?

Restoration Management Software For Effectiveness

You don’t have to work through chaos. You can avoid it completely by relying on a system that helps you track everything before and during a restoration job.

Proactive Measures

You can take proactive measures with restoration management software by keeping track of your employees certifications and training. Don’t worry about sending the wrong tech on a job because you forgot which one was fully certified and which one was still training – or carrying expired certifications.

Keep your trucks and equipment maintained and track recurring inspections to optimize your efficiency. Nothing is worse than losing a truck or equipment when you are busy and in need of every resource you have.

Immediate Needs

Keep track of every client’s specific information including insurance information, contacts, documentation of damage and losses, and more in one easy, digital component where all of your employees can access it when they need it. You and your clients aren’t going to mix up jobs and information when talking to your clients, build your reputation by communicating clearly and precisely with each individual you need to.

Manage your contacts including customers, insurance agents, adjustors, landlords, contractors, home and business owners, and anyone else that you need to be involved in the cleanup, restoration, and insurance claim process.

Be sure you have the equipment, trucks, and manpower available before you schedule a new job. Restoration management software can help you track your jobs and the progress they are making so that you know when you have the resources available for the next one.

After Care

Restoration management software can help you keep track of jobs after the job has been finished. When you need to access billing information, insurance claim information or follow up with a customer to make sure that further complications have not arrived, you can rely on your restoration management software to guide you to all of the appropriate information so that you can provide the best aftercare support to your customers, insurance agents, and adjusters.

For every step of the disaster restoration process, iRestore’s restoration management software is designed to support and help you so that you can maintain the professionalism and efficiency that you want your company to be remembered for. Take hold of your companies future and build the internal procedures in a way that will help you and your employees provide the best possible help for those in need. Contact iRestore to learn more about how our restoration management software can help you and guide you through owning and managing your professional restoration company.

Designed To Gather The Right Info – Consistently And Easily

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Your iRestore is designed to gather and connect all the critical information on the job. It is of critical importance that all required information at the interview is gathered accurately and consistently. Upon setting up a new job in iRestore, information will be synced to all platforms: desktop, iPad and phone. When utilizing the tech wizard, the first step will be to verify the accuracy of the information on the new job. To create buy-in from your team, invest in explaining and create understanding of the value and importance of all the information. Consistency in gathering all information is of the utmost importance in linking data and getting the most out of your system through the following features:

  • Job Management
  • Contracts
  • Marketing and Relationship Development
  • Reporting Features

Read more about the iRestore job management features.