“My crown is called content,
a crown that seldom kings enjoy”
The final piece of the puzzle is for Squirrel to take over from MYOB and manage the financial side of the business.
Before Squirrel was implemented, a failure to fill in a job card made it highly likely that the job wouldn't be charged for. Squirrel now ensures that missing job cards are chased up each day.
We introduced the ability to confirm a job for erection or dismantle, so a job would be scheduled for tomorrow and the operations manager would ring and confirm it was still good to go. The introduction of the 'confirm' function allowed other staff members to ring and make the confirmation, too.
All staff now log in and out of Squirrel with a touch screen that takes their picture, to make sure it is really them; they are told which truck they are on today, and who their foreman is. When a foreman logs out, they are asked whether they have completed their job cards.
The cards are scanned in and stored against the job, which is searchable by job card number. So, for example, if you search for "Job 20332", the results come back almost instantly.
The biggest issue to overcome at Sky High was resistance to change. They had a method that worked; it was very manual, and they could make it function by working long hours. It wasn't perfect, and things were missed and issues existed, but in general it did enough. So we had to take someone who was already very busy, and already working more hours than was healthy, and say, "You need to do it this way". It doesn't matter who you are, change is difficult, and change in a high-pressure environment is difficult to achieve, and it took time.
The only approach that was going to work was to take gradual steps, but to ensure that each little step was heading in the right direction, and that there was a benefit to taking that step. The implementation floundered a little until the owner/manager eventually became fully engaged, and in a one-month period we turned the business inside out and upside down and came out the other side. The Squirrel system, which Jolly Good wrote for Sky High, was managing the jobs efficiently, and became the primary source of information about each job.
Once we got to that stage, the changes and improvement started flowing, and in the next month Squirrel became the heart of the business.
Sky High Scaffolding started out as a Honda Civic with some H frames in the back. It is now the leading scaffolding company in Christchurch.
There is never a single thing that makes a business successful, or exceptionally successful, but one of the key things that differentiates Sky High from its competition is its flexibility. The customer always comes first, and Sky High just do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Sky High now has 11 trucks in Christchurch and over 100 staff on any given day.
Keeping track of who was where, on which truck, and doing which job, was quite simply a nightmare. A nightmare that was managed by working more hours; but as we all know, that can only get you so far.
Part of the challenge was to take staff who were not always computer-literate, and teach them to use a system that managed the complexities of erecting and dismantling 40 jobs a day.