By Lonnie Fritz, Construction Industry Market Professional, Caterpillar Inc.
I have a confession to make: I’m pretty happy with my ruts—the one I live in and the one I work in, too. For many of us, it’s easier and more comfortable at times to keep doing what we’re doing rather than consider change. Yet 2018 is stretching out ahead of us, 365 days of opportunity. Should we make the same choices day after day?
Consider some of the ways you could bust out of your rut.
- Try new technology. Rent a machine equipped with grade control and test it against a comparable model from your own fleet.
- Use a little data. Activate the telematics system on just one machine, capture a small amount of data, then use it to guide one decision.
- Cut idle time. Get the facts about how many hours your machines are actually idling. Set an improvement target. Train your team. Then monitor progress and reward success.
- Build your network. Connect with others in your industry and community through professional organizations, business groups, volunteer work or social activities. Attend just one meeting or event.
- Explore a potential partnership. Could you bid on more jobs if you joined forces with another company—as either a partner or a subcontractor? Write down one possibility right now.
- Step up your recruiting activities. Look for skilled labor by getting involved with a community college, vocational school or organization that helps veterans find jobs.
- Expand your marketing reach. How could you communicate with more customers and prospects? Social media, special offers, local sponsorships, on-site events?
- Hire an intern. Bring in someone who can take on a special project, beef up your social media presence or help your team warm up to technology.
- Refresh your training programs. No matter how effective your team is, there’s always an opportunity to sharpen skills, learn new processes and raise performance to new levels.
- Get a safety audit. Hire an objective third party to assess your safety culture. It’s an effective way to get the facts you need to improve safety and reduce risk.
I’ll take a stab at some of these changes, too. There are a couple of new apps I want to try. And I could benefit from cutting my own “idle time.” Or taking a class. Or freshening up my professional network. I know, life in the rut can feel pretty good. But without change, we stagnate and so do our businesses. So why don’t you join me in busting out of a rut in 2018? Let’s all make one new choice in the year ahead and see where it takes us.