The next generation of digital maintenace professionals tools

While quality, service, and customer satisfaction are the cornerstones of any business, it is ultimately operational efficiency that determines a company’s long-term success.
Consider the money you invest, the equipment you buy, and the tasks your employees perform.
Do your outputs in these and other areas exceed your inputs and, if so, by how much? Needless to say, the more your outputs outweigh your inputs, the more profitable your business will be.
As maintenance professionals know, optimizing operational efficiency can sometimes require drastic changes. Other times, small, incremental changes suffice. Either way, improvement begins with identifying your existing inefficiencies. With that in mind, here are some questions you might want to consider:

  • Are there ways to spend less on your processes?
  • How can you eliminate the problems that cause costly emergency outages?
  • Does your company have a balanced maintenance strategy?
  • What tools can you implement to improve operations and reduce the possibility of future problems?
  • Can you reduce unscheduled maintenance hours by conducting regular, reliable inspections?

Today’s digital solutions provide exceptional benefits with respect to performance, maintenance, repair, and overhaul. Here, we take a look at how and where these solutions can offer you an operational and competitive advantage.

Compliance, audit and security management

Cloud-based automation platforms enable your maintenance professionals to completely reshape your asset management processes. They improve collaboration between maintenance teams while helping them identify and resolve disruptions.

Because of their data analysis capabilities, automation platforms also allow maintenance professionals to:

  • Use company data to verify regulatory compliance
  • Identify potential hazards and risks
  • Take proactive measures to resolve problems

Intelligent decision-making

The faster your maintenance team is able to filter complex information, the more efficiently you can identify and prioritize assets that require attention. Fortunately, there are applications specifically designed to aid you in this regard.

Decision-making software can rank tasks on your behalf, in order of urgency. Such applications can also:

  • Ensure that information is available in a concise and simple format immediately upon request
  • Deliver the right information can into the hands of the right decision-makers more efficiently

Planning and timing

Maintenance may be essential to your business, but it needn’t result in significant company downtime. Take a proactive, preventative approach and you can complete maintenance programs efficiently, with little downtime, less waste, and less energy consumption.

Look for planning and timing tools that allow you to schedule preventive maintenance so that it has the least impact on production flow.

Work order management

Companies that use maintenance management software see an approximate 20% reduction in equipment downtime and material costs, among other benefits.[vs1] 

Such software can help you maintain accurate records, making it easy to track your progress against your operational goals. It also:

  • Gives your technicians a clear understanding of what they need to accomplish
  • Enables technicians to easily document their work, access it from anywhere, and automatically track measurables

Mobile maintenance

With a mobile computerized maintenance management system, your technicians can receive and send information in real time using their smartphones. This means that, regardless of where they are, they can edit tasks, submit work orders, and view open orders.

No need for them to remember or write down work order instructions when they leave home base. All of the information they require when working in the field can be accessed easily from a mobile app.

Monitoring and surveillance

Online repository services store a complete history of working machines in the cloud. Remote access to this history means you can quickly identify machine locations, as well as any tasks that need to be performed.

Such platforms can also:

  • Assess machine performance data and inform you when you need to replace parts[vs2] 
  • Address repair tasks with mobile services that facilitate on-site maintenance operations using augmented reality applications

Asset data collection

Often referred to as a company’s crown jewels, asset data can strengthen a company’s decision-making processes, provided you can access it, of course.

Data gives you the insights you need to optimize resource allocation, among other things. That said, large amounts of data stored in large databases serve little purpose if it’s hard to access. Just as it’s important to implement precise data collection methods, it’s important to implement precise data analysis procedures, too.

In conclusion

The Internet of Things is at your fingertips. Use it to your advantage.

Leverage digital solutions so your company’s decision-makers can make informed decisions about resource allocation, machinery investment, and more.

And automate your data collection methods to simplify data exploration, preprocessing, and analysis. By doing so, your maintenance professionals will have easy access to up-to-date information anytime, anywhere.

Want to learn how Coral Collect can help you improve your company’s data collection and data management processes?

Sign up to Coral Collect

Field data collection: How to save 40% of your time

How much time does your company spend gathering and managing data? At Coral Collect, we help businesses save time, money, and human resources with the help of our proven field data collection software. We know this because our customers regularly tell us so.

Of course, we don’t expect you to make software decisions based purely on anecdotal evidence. So, let’s take a look at some real facts and figures.

Time equals money.

Our customers tell us that the Coral Collect platform reaps them time savings of up to 40% both in the field and in data processing. That’s 40% of time that they can then spend performing other important business tasks in their day-to-day operations.

How does Coral Collect accomplish this? By automating many of the data collection tasks that would otherwise need to be performed by workers in the field. Coral Collect also eliminates the need for employees to return to the office and manually transcribe collected data.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways Coral Collect‘s data collection methods can help you achieve similar time savings.

  • Easy access to previously collected data
  • Easy access to collection routes in the field
  • Faster form completion thanks to digital (versus paper) data collection methods
  • All-in-one access to forms, camera and GPS
  • Real-time access to collected data
  • Automatic transfer of data from forms to database, i.e., no manual data transcription required
  • Automatic management of photos linked to data
  • Automated creation of reports
  • Easy data sharing between teams, managers, and clients through the Coral Collect dashboard

Let’s take a look at the dollars and cents 40% represents.

Given we’re not privy to our customers’ financial information, we’ll explore a hypothetical scenario.

Company X is an environmental engineering company. The company employs a civil engineer who spends much of his time collecting and processing field data.

According to the Job Bank, the average civil engineer earns around $40 CAD per hour. If he works a 40-hour week and saves 40% of his time by using Coral Collect, he frees up 16 hours per week.

To Company X, those 16 hours are worth $640 per week, or $33,280 per year.

As for the upfront investment, Coral Collect’s standard plan costs just $25 per month, or $300 per year, netting a $32,980 return on investment. That’s $110 saved for every dollar spent.

In summary:

16 hours saved per 40-hour weekX 52 weeks $33,280
Less annual standard subscription fee– $300
Total annual return on investment$32,980

But wait. There’s more.

The savings outlined above don’t even factor in the cost savings associated with:

  • Paperwork
  • The storage and handling of paper forms
  • Lost forms and data entry errors
  • Resumption of the resulting data collection

One Coral Collect subscription covers an unlimited number of users.

Unlike some software licenses, ours is based purely on the volume of data collected and stored in the Coral platform.

And if the volume of data causes you to migrate to the higher plan, the ROI remains greatly beneficial, and it’s even more true if your data collection and processing team consists of more than one person.

Interested in buying your company 40% more time? Watch this introductory video to learn more about Coral Collect or visit our registration page to sign up or connect with a member of our customer support team.

Enterprise software: The pros and cons of building versus buying

From order processing and accounting platforms to customer relationship management and data collection tools, the need for enterprise software becomes more and more important as your business grows. After all, your ability to compete in an increasingly complex and dynamic market depends on your efficiency and productivity.
The question isn’t do you need enterprise software but rather, should you purchase software from a third-party provider or develop and maintain your own.
Building versus buying!

Developing your own software gives you the ability to meet the exact needs of your company and use your own identity mark. That said, software or technology purchased from an external supplier can be highly customized to address your needs. Of course, not to the same degree as custom-developed software.

Still, even large global organizations – both public and private – are beginning to migrate to third-party software. This, after having invested millions of dollars in the development of their own proprietary solutions. Why? Because doing so substantially reduces their IT costs and reliance on software and development support.

Ultimately, both options are valid, and the route you choose depends on a number of variables, from cost to functionality and more. Here, we look at the pros and cons of both based on some of five variables.

1. Time to market

With so many cloud-based software solutions now on the market, many companies are migrating away from building their own in favour of buying. In-house solutions can take months to develop. In fact, development projects typically take anywhere from seven to 18 months to complete. To complicate matters further:

  • Only 19% of application deployments are delivered on time
  • Approximately 70% of IT projects fail
  • The larger the development project, the lower the chances of success

On the other hand, most third-party software can be integrated into your existing application in minutes. What’s more, these ready-made solutions can usually be applied easily, with little to no technical expertise required on your part.

2. Total cost of ownership

Ready-made solutions, such as the offline data collection tools offered by Coral Collect, are available at a set price. You get what you pay for at time of purchase. With internal solutions, however, pricing is rarely predictable.

According to a McKinsey survey conducted among IT leaders:

  • Large IT projects run over budget 45% of the time while delivering 56% less value than expected
  • 17% of projects go so badly, they “threaten the very existence of the business”

These high-impact overruns, often referred to as “black swans,” result in budget overruns of 200 to 400% and can result in project abandonment or even bankruptcy.

Also, consider your opportunity costs. Developing and maintaining effective in-house solutions usually requires a dedicated IT team. Here, you have two options. You can:

1. hire individuals who are qualified to take on the task of development and maintenance

2. reassign existing employees to the task and bring in new people to fill their shoes

Either way, you’re going to need to expand your talent pool, which requires both time and money.

3. Features and functionality

In-house development gives you unlimited flexibility to create software that meets your unique goals. You get to include and retain ownership of features your rivals have no access to, which gives you a competitive edge.

However, ensuring these features operate without malfunction can require several months of testing and working through the kinks. Meanwhile, with third-party software, thousands of hours have already been invested in trouble shooting. Furthermore, you have the freedom to shop around and evaluate vendors based on features and functionality.

For the most part, software vendors offer free demos, trials, and proofs of concepts, thereby minimizing risk. You might even be able to negotiate future features in your contract for a premium.

4. Knowledge and know-how

As mentioned above, if you opt for in-house solutions, you need the resources to manage both development and maintenance. Your IT team is responsible for identifying and solving any problems you encounter.

With third-party software, you not only get the technology you need; you get the expertise required to manage it. Most vendors have dedicated representatives who can help you get the most out of your software. At Coral Collect, our experts have worked with clients of all sizes to develop best practices, and can work with you to create a personalized plan for success.

5. Basic skills

Last but not least, you need to ask yourself if you have the core competencies to build great software. And if so, will doing so be faster, cheaper, and/or more efficient than sourcing it from a third party?

If you can confidently answer yes to the above questions, building your own enterprise software will be to your advantage. If, however, you are even a little unsure, delegate the business function that software solves to a third party. Doing so will save you future headaches and mitigate the risks associated with in-house development.

The bottom line is this: deciding whether to build or buy enterprise software is a question of resource allocation. It’s up to you to determine how to invest your time, money, and talent, in order to reap the greatest return on investment.

How to collect and document customer feedback

The success of your business depends on your ability to meet customer needs. This requires a clear understanding of behaviours and trends within your business sector, as well as feedback from the individuals you serve. That’s why it is essential to collect and document customer feedback.

Feedback helps highlight your company’s strengths and weaknesses. It gives you a clear understanding of how customers feel about the products and services you offer, as well as their overall experience with your brand. It helps you make informed business decisions that support the retention of existing customers and equally important, the acquisition of new ones. 

There are several ways to acquire customer feedback. Before you begin, though, you need to be clear about your goals.

  • Are you looking for insight into how your products and services are currently being used?
  • Are you planning to reorient your products?
  • Are you considering the development of new products?

Once you’ve defined your purpose, you can craft the questions that will get you the answers you seek. Here are five ways to gather customer feedback.

1. Online surveys

Online surveys are one of the simplest ways to gather customer feedback at a low cost. There are many survey tools available. Survey Monkey, Typeform, Google Forms, and Zoho Survey are just a few of the top contenders.

Once you’ve created your survey, you can email your customers an invitation to complete it. To broaden your reach, you can also include a survey link on your website.

The beauty of online surveys is that they automatically collect responses in “real time.” This means you have access to feedback as soon as it is submitted.

2. Feedback forms

Inserting a comment box at the bottom of a website page is an easy way to gather insight without expending much effort. You can also create a feedback form and include a button on your website inviting customers to leave comments.

When using this method, however, it’s important to consider the user experience. You’ll want to make sure that your request for feedback isn’t hindering navigation of your site. If it feels invasive, it may annoy customers, which could influence the quality of feedback you receive. Worse, it could cost you a customer.

3. Social networks

Social networks are a great feedback tool as they’re designed specifically for engagement. People use them to share their opinions and express their feelings about products, services, and life experiences. Connect with your customers in a social environment and they’re far more likely to be in a ‘sharing’ mood.

Many social networks have built-in survey tools that enable you to collect valuable information. You can also use auto responders, direct messaging, and stories to open up a dialogue about your products and services.

Furthermore, you can monitor social channels for unsolicited feedback, although this can be a time-consuming endeavour.

4. Live chat software

Live chat software comes with many benefits, including convenience, speed, and cost-effectiveness. By asking the right questions before a chat begins, you can direct customers to the right department immediately, which improves satisfaction. You can also use pre-chat surveys to gather useful feedback.

Best of all, post-chat surveys (often underused) allow you to determine whether or not you were able to satisfy your customer’s needs.

5. Customer calls

Calling customers is by far the best means of obtaining feedback. When well executed, it can generate the best responses. Why? Because it shows your customers they’re worth your time, which in turn makes them feel valued.

Of course, you need to be mindful of when you call. Nobody wants to be disturbed first thing in the morning or last thing at night – especially by a customer service representative.

Coral Collect offers highly efficient and effective data collection tools to support you in this regard.

How to use the feedback you gather.

Feedback is invaluable to your brand and your ability to remain competitive.

Use customer comments to guide future product development. Deepen relationships with happy customers and turn them into advocates. Feature positive comments on your website as testimonials and help turn visitors into valuable customers.The benefits of gathering feedback are endless. For help gathering the data you need to better understand your customers and manage that data efficiently, reach out to Coral Collect. We’re here to help.

Data collection in the field: taking human factors into account

Technology has been an important framework in field service organizations for many years. In the drive towards Industry 4.0 we’re seeing the increasing use of drones, smart devices and sensors to collect field data for back-office reporting. Data collection in the field remains the main driver of operational excellence. Yet with all the technology at their fingertips, field technicians and inspectors are ultimately responsible for the quality and integrity of the data they collect.

This is why it is imperative that the data collection workflow in the field be as efficient as possible so that field staff can work in the best conditions.

We will discuss the main human challenges that technicians and inspectors may face when collecting data in the field and how mobile data collection facilitates some of these challenges.

What is field data collection?

Field data collection is a project performed by an individual or group of individuals in a chosen physical location using approved data collection methods and tools.

Often the data is captured with a field data collection software.

There are many reasons for collecting data in the field. Inspect urban infrastructures to know their condition, obtain information on residents during door-to-door visits, assess the extent of damage during an environmental emergency.

The data relating to the project are important, however, we must not forget to put those who collect them in the best conditions.

The challenges of field data collection

Collecting data in the field involves lots of moving pieces and its fair share of logistical challenges. The field is by nature an uncontrolled environment, and many conditions are outside of the control of technicians and inspectors. Some challenges they need to think about include:

  • Transportation: how to travel to and from the service location. Another point to consider is the nature of the environment being surveyed (eg. rugged terrain, water courses), potential dangers such as wild animals, and access to medical assistance in the case of emergencies. A mobile data collection tool equipped with a GIS app helps technicians and inspectors plan their journeys, to locate nearby services and it provides offline data collection capabilities in the event internet access becomes unavailable.
  • Weather: It’s critical technicians and inspectors take accurate measurements in all weather (rain, sun, intense heat, cold, etc.) to ensure the quality of the data and their own well-being. The use of tablets with the appropriate protections and accessories (cases, batteries) is essential to avoid breakage and power cuts. Technicians must provide for themselves, adequate clothing and footwear, sufficient water and food, as well as a first aid kit.
  • Fatigue: technicians and inspectors may be on their feet for hours at a time. As fatigue creeps in, errors in data collection occur more frequently. Easy to use mobile form apps and field survey apps make the job easier.

Collecting data in the field is a difficult task to accomplish, even under the best conditions. Fortunately, the use of data collection applications has many advantages:

  • They minimize data entry and duplication errors, reducing unnecessary time spent in the field.
  • They allow the optimal route to be drawn without unnecessarily prolonging the time spent outdoors in sometimes unfavorable conditions.
  • Mobile forms are easy to use and capture data with more precision and standardization. No need to take out a pencil, and spend time writing on a piece of paper in the sun, wind or snow. Digital forms are completed with just a few clicks and at the same time reduce the time spent in the field.
  • Field survey and inspection applications are not limited to text. They also capture other types of data such as images and GPS coordinates. Thus, there is no need to carry additional equipment such as cameras or portable GPS devices.
  • Data is stored in the cloud for real-time access and analysis. This way, employees don’t have to return to the office after a long day at work since they can transfer data directly from the field.

There are many critical factors to keep in mind when conducting a field data collection operation. Many of these are beyond the control of field technicians and inspectors. Mobile devices equipped with field data collection app make their work easier and contribute to their safety.

Trace a course in the field and make it available to data collectors

When you send teams into the field to collect data, it’s important to trace a course to increase their efficiency while working. This way, teams won’t waste time orientating themselves during field work and can fully concentrate on their data collection tasks.

There are a number of data collection apps out there, some good and others not so good, but not all of them feature course tracing functionality like Coral Collect. In this article we will show you how to use the Coral Collect data collection app to plot a data collection course for your teams in the field.

Some of the Coral Collect app’s features

  • Can be used to fill out digital forms during data collection work in the field
  • Can geolocate data collected by means of the app’s integrated GPS functionality
  • The app also integrates a cartographic interface, which is necessary to find one’s way in the field
  • Can be used to import external data layers and display them on the app’s integrated map interface
  • The Coral Collect app also features the GeoJson.io tool, by means of which you can plot the itinerary of each of your teams on a map

How to get Coral Collect 

1.   Create an account on the Coral Collect website

If you haven’t already, the first step is simply to head over to the Coral Collect website and create an account: https://coral.chaac.tech/

2.   Plot your route

Plotting your route is simple and can be achieved by simply following these steps:

  • Go to “Geojson.io”
  • Select the “line” button
  • Draw a line on the map which represents the route of your field team
  • Save the route in GeoJSON format

3.   Import and view your routes in the Coral Collect app

In the Coral Collect dashboard, follow these steps:

  • Click on “Data layer”
  • Import the data layer you just created

Open the Coral Collect app, and follow these steps:

  • Press the red menu button
  • In the menu, click on data layer
  • Click on the ‘cloud’ button next to your data layer
  • Choose the color of your route
  • Check the box next to your data layer

If you return to the map, your route will appear. By following these steps, you can create as many routes as you want and assign a different route to each of your teams.

For more questions about route plotting, or any of the Coral Collect app’s other features, feel free to make an appointment with the Coral Collect team at any time.

You can also check out the Coral Collect intro video.

How efficient are your current data collection methods?

If your organization uses pen, paper, and/or spreadsheets to gather and manage your company data, it’s probably time to rethink your data collection methods.

Let’s face it. You’re in business to make a tidy profit, and the profit you earn isn’t based solely on sales. It’s also related to your operational costs. Regardless of the size of your organization, the more efficiently you run your business, the lower your operational costs.

The perils of pen and paper data collection.

If you’re still collecting data the old-fashioned way, chances are you’ve encountered some or all of the following problems:

·   Paper forms end up lost or damaged, requiring you to repeat the data collection process.

  • Illegible handwriting and entry errors lead to inaccuracies in the data.
  • Surveys have to be geolocated manually, requiring an additional investment in time.
  • Videos and photographs can’t be attached on paper and must be attached to the corresponding data after it’s been gathered.
  • Analyzing the data involves you reviewing paper forms and, even then, only provides a general sense of what’s going on, versus actionable information.
  • Manual transcripting data takes time and generates human errors.

To address some but not all of the above challenges, many companies that are looking to modernize their data management processes look to spreadsheets for a solution. Spreadsheet programs, such as Excel or Google Sheets, record data in the form of rows and columns, which certainly allows for greater clarity. Unfortunately, however, spreadsheets come with their own set of constraints and limitations.

The drawback of data collection using spreadsheets.

  • Spreadsheets aren’t mobile device-friendly. Viewing data on a small screen requires endless vertical and horizontal scrolling, and locating specific cells for the purpose of data entry is tedious.
  • Because spreadsheets don’t have geolocation capabilities, you have to determine geographic coordinates using a GPS and then add them in manually.
  • Field data entered into a spreadsheet can’t be accessed in real time, which means managers and analysts are required to wait until surveyors have returned from the field and updated information.
  • Photos and other media can’t be entered into spreadsheets and must be matched to data separately.
  • Although spreadsheet software contains powerful tools for statistical analysis of data, data analysis and report creation are still cumbersome and time-consuming.

Consider the inefficiencies of the following scenario. A charity goes door to door collecting donations. Collectors gather data from each address they visit. In order to share that information with their manager, they need to enter it into the company database when they return to the office.

Their manager then manually creates a map of all addresses visited, putting them into one of four categories:

1. Donated

2. Declined

3. No response

4. Undecided

This manually created map is then used to plot the route for the following day’s field personnel, and this laborious process must be repeated every day.

Consider also the task of managing field data pertaining to remote areas. Enter incorrect latitude and longitude information and you can end up with a rural property of interest in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean versus its actual location.

Spreadsheets offer no safety net. No validation of entries. Enter the wrong information and without close examination, human errors remain unidentified. Field data collection apps, on the other hand:

  • offer data traceability and validation
  • eliminate the need for manual, time consuming, and error-prone manipulations and transcripts
  • provide access to real-time data
  • allow for the integration of data analysis and report creation

Ready to update your field data collection methods?

Look for a field data collection application like Coral Collect.

With Coral Collect, your field workers can enter data using a mobile device, with or without cellular or WiFi service. Once that data has been synced to the cloud, it gets instantly transferred to a database and becomes available in real-time to anyone with access to your organization. Among the many benefits:

  • No damaged or lost paperwork to worry about
  • No retranscription required
  • Significantly fewer data entry errors
  • The ability to take and automatically link photographs and other media to data

In the interest of maintaining more accurate data, operating with greater efficiency, and turning higher profits, get started with Coral Collect.

How automation is helping energy and utility companies optimize data

Managing an organization’s infrastructure, client information, billings, customer service, and other essentials demands a huge investment. This is especially true for energy and utility companies.

If you’re in the energy and utility sector, you likely have tens of thousands if not millions of customers to please. To satisfy these customers, you need to constantly:

  • Monitor the condition of your infrastructures
  • Gather customer information
  • Analyze field data
  • Be ready to respond instantly in the event your network goes down.

You’re also subject to numerous compliance requirements.

“Amidst a highly regulated environment, where ethics, governance, and risk management are top priorities, energy and utility organizations are under increased scrutiny.”

Source: 7 Top Trends in Energy and Utility Compliance, May 17, 2020

As a result, you need to document your operations meticulously – and such operations require a huge amount of data.

Some energy and utility companies continue to process data the old school way. Many, however, are now recognizing the costs associated with managing data manually and they’re turning to automation.

Automation benefits energy and utility companies on many levels.

In addition to improving your operational efficiencies, integrating data digitally drives your operating costs down. It also saves your employees time so that they can focus on finding innovative ways to optimize the delivery of your resources and maintain a high level of customer service.

The advantage of digital data collection methods extends beyond the gathering and management of customer information. Mobile data collection forms, for example, allow utility workers to collect georeferenced information from the field. Such information can then be shared with head office and remote teams in real time.

This helps to:

Manual data management is cumbersome.

To understand this, compare the following two scenarios:

1. Manual: Utility workers use paper to collect data in the field. At the end of each workday, they return to the office and manually enter that same data into the company database.

2. Automation: Utility workers use mobile devices to collect data in the field. That data is instantly synchronized with the company database and accessible in real time. Plus, it can easily be integrated into and overlaid onto existing data for scalable trend analysis.

Mobile data collection applications and other data collection tools can help you better organize your data collection operations in the field. Plus, they improve data flow, increase the reliability of data collected, and help you operate your network with greater efficiency.

Automated processes also help you:

  • Meet regulatory requirements
  • Streamline your operations
  • Gain real-time access to data that delivers valuable insights that manual data collection processes are unlikely catch

Such insights help you better serve your customers, manage the safety of your equipment, and gain a competitive edge.

Want to optimize your company’s field data collection methods?

Consider a mobile forms application like Coral Collect. Using a mobile form builder, your field operations managers can deploy custom-create forms to your teams in the field. These forms can be used to collect all kinds of geotagged data, including photos, with or without an internet connection.

Using an offline data collection method means your field workers no longer have to drive back to your office and manually transcribe data. This is good news for those who have already put in a hard day’s work. What’s more, it’s great news for your company’s profit margins.

Are you ready to leave cumbersome manual data collection processes behind? If so, empower your fieldworkers, salesforce, and other employees to manage data more efficiently. Explore how Coral Collect’s data collection tools can support your energy or utility business.

7 Ways to improve communication in the workplace

Like any team, your employees are most effective when they feel trusted, respected and supported by colleagues from all levels within your organization. They also deliver their best work when their roles are well defined, and they have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.
None of the above is possible without open communication.

Communication is fundamental to the success of any business. It creates a happier, more collaborative work environment. This, in turn, promotes greater employee engagement, productivity, and effectiveness.

Poor communication, on the other hand, leads to confusion and frustration. This not only impacts the way your employees relate to one another; it impacts the way they relate to your customers. The bottom line is this:

Good communication is good for business.

With that in mind, here are some tips and tools to help you improve communication in your workplace.

1. Get to know your employees.

Business doesn’t have to be all business. Employees are more motivated when working in a sociable environment.

When you take the time to get to know them personally, you’re better able to supervise and support them professionally. You discover their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, all which help you optimize their skills and interests.

Don’t hesitate to ask someone how their weekend was or ask after their partner, ideally by name. Find common, non-work-related interests you can chat about. Also, consider spending time with your coworkers outside your work environment. This can lead to more open, honest communication.

2. Connect with individuals regularly.

Scheduling one-on-one meetings gives employees an opportunity to express themselves in a private setting, free of judgement from others.

Encourage them to share ideas, voice any concerns, and discuss current priorities. You can also use this time to establish goals and ensure they have the time and resources they need to achieve them.

3. Schedule weekly team meetings.

Weekly meetings are a great way to encourage collaboration among team members. Invite individuals to share their goals for the week, present any challenges they may be facing, and communicate what, if any, support they may need from others to meet their goals.

Be sure to set aside some time for questions. Also, use the opportunity to share company news, project updates, and wins. Above all, these meetings should be a positive experience. If someone raises a contentious issue, acknowledge them and suggest picking the conversation up in a separate meeting.

4. Ask your employees for their opinion.

No two minds are alike so ask your team for feedback on your ideas. This will help them feel integral to your team while also bringing new and potentially valuable perspectives to the table.

For employee input on sensitive matters, consider creating a suggestion box. This will give your team the ability to submit comments anonymously.

5. Nurture a team spirit.

Nobody wants to work in an oppressive environment. We all thrive better in one that makes us feel valued and appreciated. Team spirit promotes engagement, inspires productivity, encourages employees to speak more positively about your organization, and decreases employee turnaround.

Create opportunities for your employees to get to know one another better – both personally and professionally. This will promote respect between team members, a stronger sense of camaraderie, and the team spirit that fosters business success.

6. Create a relaxation zone.

Be it a lounge room, game room, or outdoor terrace, designate a physical space where employees can relax and let their guard down a little. Unlike a boardroom, this kind of space helps set a tone where people can feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing their opinions.

7. Simplify communication by integrating mobile technologies.

These days, almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Take advantage of these devices to enable your team to maintain contact while they’re out in the field.

Field data collection apps like Coral Collect allow real-time data collection. This technology makes it easy for employees to communicate important information in a timely manner and promotes collaborative work at all levels of the company.

Communicate. Collaborate. Succeed.

When communication is strong, everyone thrives, as does your bottom line. Give these suggestions a try and see what a difference they make. To get started with Coral Collect, visit the signup page now.

Why is Innovation Important in Business and How to Encourage it

The key to business success is being able to come up with new ideas to optimize operations as well as product and service developments.
Innovation in areas such as data collection and processing makes it possible to increase the productivity and profitability of companies, to maximize their ROI, and to allow them to access new markets.

In the context of global competition and technological progress, the need to innovate is greater than ever.

Innovation does not necessarily refer to major changes or disruptive technologies that turn the world upside down. It can simply mean small improvements in any area of ​​your business.

What is innovation and how to implement it?

Innovation means bringing something new to your business. It could be:

  • Improving or replacing processes to increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Developing new and improved products and services to meet consumer demands or needs.
  • Adding value to existing products and services to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How to encourage innovation in your business?

There are several resources that you can use to generate innovations for your business. All employees can participate in or support the process of coming up with new innovations for the company they work in.

  • For this to happen, you need to make sure that there are always easy ways for employees to provide ideas. Suggestion boxes or brainstorming meetings are all good ways to achieve this.
  • Create a favorable atmosphere in which people can express their ideas freely.
  • Encourage informed risk taking and experimentation.
  • Emphasize that people at all levels of the business share responsibility for innovation, so that everyone feels involved in the advancement of the business.
  • Reward innovation and celebrate success.

What can innovation do for your business?

There are many ways in which innovation can help your business stand out from the competition. The following are some of the primary ways in which innovation can help you.

1. Help you stay connected to your customers

Innovation around your products and services involves listening to your customers. If you don’t listen to them and ask them relevant questions, you won’t be able to identify and meet their real needs. Being able to change and adapt the ways in which you serve your customers will help keep them engaged.

2. Solve your problems

Innovation can help you to solve problems.

When businesses are not doing well, the answer is not to wait for things to change on their own.

You need to understand and analyze what needs to be changed and then implement innovations to achieve it.

Innovation can also allow you to anticipate and prepare for potential problems or unforeseen events.

3. Innovation can make your business more efficient

Innovation enables your business to optimize management and business processes to run more efficiently.

Improving your processes through innovation will improve your productivity and competitiveness, which in turn will have an impact on your profitability.

4. Find your own business path

Innovation is not about copying your competition. Rather, it’s about producing and delivering something that your competition cannot compete with. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) sets your business apart from others.

5. Respond effectively to unforeseen events

Being innovative means being prepared to think and act differently. It is also important to anticipate and resolve challenges and respond to unforeseen events and external problems by quickly and efficiently implementing creative and innovative solutions.

6. Take advantage of technology

Advances in digitization have made it easier to connect and share information between multiple digital devices.

Innovations in the world of science and technology allow us to accomplish more than we could ever have dreamed of years ago. Innovative entrepreneurs use the Internet of Things to grow their businesses. Mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, and software application development are powerful tools for improving business engagement, competitiveness and growth.

Conclusion

Change can be scary. Don’t let your fear hold you back.

Innovation will help you save time, optimize your resources, and give you a competitive edge in the market. Innovation means learning and growing at the same time.

One way in which you can innovate right now is by optimizing and streamlining your data collection in the field by using the Coral Collect app for free.

Coral Collect comes with the following features out of the box:

  • Digital form creation with its easy-to-use online form builder
  • An interface to fill out forms in the field
  • An intuitive dashboard interface to visualize and export data

Check out the Coral Collect intro video.

You can also find out more about Coral Collect by contacting the Coral team.