When I first started learning about the parking lot sweeping business in 1987, it appeared to be a straightforward process. A customer signed up for service, the sweeping contractor provided the service and sent an invoice, and the customer paid.
Although there have been some number of innovations in sweepers since then, the real change has been in the form of customer expectations and requirements. When it first became available, GPS was primarily a way to track employee behavior. Today, many customers require GPS tracking by their sweeping contractors to ensure service has been performed. Walmart, for example, now requires contact during the time the sweeper is within the geo-fenced boundary of the store.
Technology is changing with breathtaking speed and contractors that do not embrace it will soon be left in the dust. Keep in mind that the following tools for a variety of applications didn't even exist before the year 2000: YouTube, Amazon, Apple TV, Twitter, Snapchat, Tablets, Facebook, X-box, Smartphones, Skype, LinkedIn — and many more.
Recently, a manufacturer's representative told me he thought a sweeper that swept on its own in a parking lot could be developed within a year’s time. Certainly that means the roll-out of such technology won't arrive too many years into the future.
The most effective industry leaders of tomorrow will be those who are quick to grasp the potential of new technologies as they arrive and then implement them in cost saving and/or efficiency improving ways.
Work with your industry providers and others to find the technology that can make a difference in your business. Currently, over 2 million apps are available for Apple or Android phones, with 2,500 new ones being added every day. There is no question that some of them will be game changers in the years ahead.
Tracking advancements in technology and elsewhere provide even more reasons why networking within an organization such as WSA is becoming ever more important.