Pro Installer December 2019 - Issue 81 - Page 41

DECEMBER 2019 | 41 Business Read online at WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER Rhonda Ridge, managing director of Ad- • A written disciplinary and grievance procedure. There is an ACAS code of advice for these. It is not compulso- ry to follow the code, but it is likely to go against you at any tribunal if you don’t. Cover additional things in your contract of employment such as: • Probationary period, during which the normal discipli- nary process should not apply. This should be up to 6 months, with the job offer subject to satisfactory completion of the probation period. You should have a shorter notice period during probation. • Job description, reporting structure, details of incen- tives, bonuses or commis- sions which should also be clearly defined and also subject to management discretion. • Confidentiality provisions and restrictions following termination and protecting the goodwill of the business. You may restrict the right to work for a direct competitor or entice other employees to leave for a period of 6 months after employment ceases. • Reserve the right to change the employee’s contract. sult a professional employ- ment advisor or lawyer. • I never say to any member of staff, at any time, anything which I would be embar- rassed by if it was mentioned in a tribunal. • If there is a hint of a dispute with an employee, I keep dated, written notes. • I have my interactions wit- nessed. This piece of advice alone can save a fortune if an employee makes an allega- tion which isn’t true. The settlement agreement A settlement agreement, which can bypass the disciplinary and redundancy processes can seem attractive. However, remember that you should consult an ad- visor before discussing such an agreement with an employee and you have to pay for them to get legal advice. If you fail to do this any agreement will be invalid in law. Pulling it together There are a lot of tank traps around employment. But they can be avoided with preparation and care. Business objectives can nearly always be achieved while treating employees fairly. All of the best. The iron rules About the author In many years in business, including dismissals, redundan- cies and more, I have never been taken to an employment tribunal. That is because I have always fol- lowed a few simple iron rules: • Before I do anything that could be contentious, I con- Benjamin Dyer is CEO and co-founder of Powered Now. Powered Now’s mobile app aims to take the pain out of paper- work for installers and other small trade companies. minBase, explains how the introduction of mobile apps has taken the UK’s most popular management system for installation companies to a whole new level ‘Work smarter, not harder’ is a common man- tra of motivational speakers and productivity coaches the world over. This is often easier said than done, but actually, in today’s modern world of smart products – gadgets that are designed to make our increasingly busy lives easier and more manageable – working smarter has become eminently more do-able. When I launched AdminBase, around 20 years, I was inspired by my time working as a financial controller at a double glazing firm, to create a management system that would make life easier for installation companies by introducing effi- ciencies to the sales and ordering processes. That system has evolved massively over the last cou- ple of decades and has proved so successful that it is now an integral part of window and door installation companies all over the UK, including over 3,000 users from relatively small businesses to larger companies that are fitting hundreds of frames per week. Of course, a lot has changed in the industry dur- ing those 20 years, and while we have experienced a big shift in consumer demands and a much more exciting range of products for example, we’ve also enjoyed huge leaps forward in technology – ad- vances that can perhaps be best demonstrated in the mobile phones and tablets we all take for granted today. When AdminBase was launched, the thought of high speed 4G and 5G, and the connec- tivity that it has enabled was virtually unthinkable, especially because at that time we lived in a world where computers all stayed in the office and inter- net speeds were prehistoric in comparison. And as a result of this next generation tech- nology, we are now at the point where we have taken AdminBase to a whole new level, with the introduction of mobile apps for sales, survey, in- stallation and remedial services – adding a level of functionality that we identified the need for a long time ago, but which has only now been made possible. So how will our new apps help installation companies work smarter, not harder? Put simply, by better coordinating the entire process of sales, to survey, to installation – as well as any reme- dial work – by linking every stage to a central system via easy to use, intuitive mobile technol- ogy and eliminating the need for old fashioned handwritten instructions, and orders scribbled into fax machines in the process. There is an AdminBase app for each stage of an order. A sales person is equipped with an app that allows a quote to be created for the home- owner, documents that can be signed digitally, and copies to be sent instantly to the customer via email. All this information is sent to a central database, so that when the survey team needs it, they can gain access via their own app and make any necessary changes with ease. Any documents created or updated at this stage can also be signed digitally by the homeowner, via a tablet, and recorded once again in the central system. When it comes to the installation, the fitting team can then access all required informa- tion, again through a dedicated tablet and app, and once they have completed the job they are able to secure another electronic signature from the customer, as well as record any feedback or problems that were encountered or any follow up work that is needed. If this is the case, then service engineers can bring up detailed notes on their own app, along with any outstanding balances, and as before, can collect the customer’s signature before send- ing everything off directly to the head office. Successfully incorporating these on-site func- tions into Adminbase has realised a long term goal to take the whole system to the next level, using technology that is familiar and intuitive to everyone. It is evident that some people will always defer to a pen and pad, but today, where we all use apps on a daily basis whether that’s planning a journey or doing the weeks grocery shop, the introduction of our mobile apps really has made it a lot easier to work smarter, be more efficient and stay ahead of the competition in what has become an increasingly competitive market place.