The concrete polishing industry has seen technical developments in abrasives, chemicals and equipment over the years. Most of these developments have led to polishing contractors increasing production and reducing job costs for increased profit.
As the industry continues to grow, what other new technical advances can contractors expect to see that will enhance profit? Maybe the better question is, what can a contractor bring into his or her business from outside the traditional tools of the trade that will increase profitability?
The answer is to use technology that will provide better information to allow you to make better business decisions, technology that will make your business smarter.
Advances in management software
Now that most own a smartphone and the cost of tablets has gone down, job-site information can be available readily.
Do you use handwritten timecards? How do you know those timecards are not manipulated 15 or 30 minutes here and there? How much time does it take to add up those timecards every week? Is that the best use of your time or an office administrator’s time?
Several companies make programs and apps that allow the employee to clock in and out from the job site. These programs and apps will not only track time but also track through GPS the location of where they punch in and out. Manipulation is eliminated and time is saved.
Do you track real job costs and production times on a daily or weekly basis, or do you wait until the end of the job, or even worse, the end of the year to add things up? Are you capturing all of the change orders you deserve, or is the general contractor getting you to perform work outside your scope? There are computer programs that will allow you to capture the information you need to turn your company into a lean, well-oiled machine. Your business will become a smart business with all data entered one time and contained in one place. This will allow you to create extra time for yourself or an office person to perform other tasks in the business that will increase income.
Say you can better capture change orders for work general contractors try to have you perform outside your scope. If you can capture $800 a month, that’s an easy $9,600 a year.
Do you know how many hours a day your equipment is being run and what the preventive maintenance schedule is, or do you run it until it breaks? Downtime on equipment puts extra demand on equipment that’s still working and often drives employees into overtime. Everyone reading this article knows what the cost is for overnight shipping for parts. The good news is that there are computer programs and devices that can monitor running time on equipment. This will do two things for you. It will allow you to minimize downtime by maintaining the equipment and replacing worn parts before they break, and it will tell you how many hours a day the equipment is in the process of finishing a floor. One has to ask — if in an eight-hour day the machine is only run four hours, why?
The mighty profile meter
Up to this point we have talked about technology that help you better run the business side of your business, tools that will allow you to make better business decisions. Let’s look at a tool that will help you better run the physical work side of your business.
An up-and-coming technological tool that will help a polishing contractor increase production is a profile meter.
How does someone know when the grit they are working with has been fully refined? Traditionally, if the process is being performed wet, you evaluate the scratch pattern, look at the consistency of the slurry, feel the machine and listen to the diamonds interacting with the surface. When the process is being performed dry you evaluate the scratch pattern, feel the machine and listen to the diamonds interacting with the surface. What if you could eliminate the guesswork in deciding whether to take another pass or not?
A profile meter will read the surface profile at a millionth of an inch. If you know how to properly use this instrument, measurements of the surface profile can be taken that will tell you if additional refinement and passes are needed.
Obviously there is a cost to acquire these tools, but the return far outweighs the cost. Knowing your numbers is knowing your business. If you desire to grow your business and want to maximize profitability, the tools talked about in this article are a must for controlled growth.