How much do you really know about the day-to-day activity of your frontline teams? Many operational leaders depend on paper checklists, monthly reviews and sporadic site visits. They don’t see problems until it’s too late. The introduction of digital workflow tools can be a game-changer.Our latest webinar explored the challenges of capturing information from frontline operations staffed by deskless workers in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, hospitals, care homes and other facilities.
A panel of speakers from Checkit – including Steve Peck, President of Checkit Inc; Gareth Fox, Account Director; and Ade Risidore, Director of Marketing and Customer Success – shared insights from conversations with operations leaders from a cross-section of industries.
What are the keys to capturing operational insight with digital workflow tools?
1. Stop relying on static checklists
Gareth Fox: “Many companies take data from checklists, and then they just file it. So if they had a piece of equipment that was regularly failing, for example, they wouldn't know about it. When you digitise, you start seeing trends and recognise that one piece of equipment is regularly failing. You can then focus on why it's failing and repair or replace it. All those kinds of issues can be captured and resolved quicker if you have digital workflow tools giving you the information."
Steve Peck: “Whether it's healthcare, restaurants, hospitality or facilities management, checklists are everywhere, and they cause frustration. As we look at labour challenges across all industries, we've seen that checklists can actually add work for those workers and their managers. They give a full list of everything that needs to be done, but that's not necessarily the work that needs to be done at that moment. I've seen instances where employees will just blindly perform a task that doesn't need to be done, and that’s a cost for the business. Then, these lists don't provide any actionable data. Data exists in silos, typically in a piece of paper sitting in a stack on the manager’s desk. Even if you can aggregate them somehow, they are often inaccurate because they're completed by humans who are typically distracted."
2. Capture real-world data with digital workflow tools
Steve Peck: “There is a shift that needs to happen. It’s not just about moving from paper to a digital environment. What helped me understand the change is observing my everyday surroundings and seeing how people are interacting with the world today. Today, I'm getting notifications on my phone that the plants in my house are dry or that I'm low on milk. For example, the data surrounding these apps gives me insights into my spending habits and water usage, and I can adapt things. We’re seeing the same shift in the business world. It’s been heavily focused on white-collar jobs, but we're seeing it infiltrate deskless work.
Ade Risidore: “The ability to monitor asset performance is becoming more prominent around rising energy prices. I was having a conversation with a former chef this morning about the start-up procedures in a restaurant kitchen. In the past, staff would be going in at 6am and turning all the cookers on to get them ready.”
3. Start small with digital workflow tools
Gareth Fox: “The best way to get buy-in is up small and try to expand. Once you've got staff on board, you can expand from a small base. Once people see the data gathered and uncover something they didn’t know, they get a massive ‘aha’ moment. In hospitals, for example, you could immediately see that a cleaning check was not done overnight. That creates risk and could affect patient safety."
Steve Peck: “Look at the individual tasks and menial processes your workforce completes daily. Then think about other creative ways they can be done. An easy place to start is routine fridge and freezer checks. We see this across restaurants, hospitality and healthcare, where people are tasked to check these things multiple times a shift. That costs the business. You’re taking time out of your employee's day to do things that can be easily automated and tracked continuously. We typically see the ‘aha’ moment then the first data is delivered. We’re working with a large operator in hospitality, with hundreds of fridges and freezers across multiple sites. After a few days of monitoring, they realised just 20% of those machines caused about 80% of the problems. That was taking time and focus away from the employees’ work schedules. They were able to fix that by adjusting the settings easily.”
4. Define what you want to achieve
Ade Risidore: “Think hard about what you're trying to achieve. Work backwards on your workflow to give you the options to create those outcomes. And then, as we said before, keep it simple. Keep in mind the person that is actually using a digital workflow tool. Keep them interested in what they're doing.”
Steve Peck: “It can be a little alarming to find that procedures are typically not being followed. With customers implementing these solutions to prompt, guide and capture their behaviours, we often see that compliance is as low as 25%. Within a week of corrective coaching, focusing on the problem areas, you can raise that to 90% plus, which impacts the business.”
5. Engage employees with digital workflow tools
Steve Peck: “The communication aspect is key in making sure everybody at all levels understands why this initiative is taking place and, most importantly, how it will help them. It’s not about tracking behaviour; it's about enabling them to spend more time with the customer and not think about menial tasks. In that way, you get much better adoption and excitement around a change in the process.”
Gareth Fox: “It comes alive when you understand who's doing the job well and who needs to be appraised across the organisation. But once you start tracking these things, you can tie the data back to individual employees or locations across different regions and provide recognition accordingly. Historically, they were limited to how many stores or locations they could get to on a given day., With the data comes the ability to see things you didn't previously see and make informed business decisions without having to be there. That's key because you can cover more ground, hire fewer managers and deliver value back to executives in terms of increased labour savings.”
Ready to learn more?