Articles and News

The New Norm - Innovation Required

Greg Stine, Director of Marketing

InnovationHere we are in the middle of 2010 and it appears that the economy has escaped the abyss that was such a concern 18 months ago. While it looks like we’re not going to have the Great Depression Part II, we certainly are in for a period of fairly flat growth – for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean for all of us in the facilities business? We’d better stop bitching and moaning and figure out how to make it work – because this is it. The new norm.

You can tell what’s going happen (what must happen) simply by looking back at what got us here: Too much…of everything. As a national economy, we made too many loans, built too many homes, produced and sold too much stuff to too many people. Collectively, we over produced and over consumed. Because of simple supply-and-demand principles, what we do and what we have is worth less.

The painful result? People and companies are saving more, there’s going to be less stuff produced, less stuff purchased, fewer people and  fewer companies producing and serving the same market. Natural selection will take effect and reduce the heard.

Who will survive and thrive in the new norm? The strong and the innovative.

Strength can be found in focusing on your core competencies. Innovation can take many forms within the facilities industry. It can be how we physically do our work, how we use technology, how we serve our customers, the materials we use, how we hire and manage our staff, how we invoice our customers and with whom we collaborate.

At Reliant, we are looking at all these aspects of our business. As a self-performing handyman service provider, we continue to see signs that the self-performing model is the way to best serve our customers. Our strength is in having self-performing technicians who actually do the work. We've all seen national brokers with alphabet soup names come and go, but Reliant's qualified employee team of technicians in the southeast continues to add value, as they have for over 15 years.

But we still need to improve the experience for our customers so we'll have an edge on our competition. So to complement our core competence, we are experimenting with new alliances and new technology that will allow us to collectively better serve our customers. GPS equipped service vans, digital cameras on the jobsite, laptops, air cards, and web-based work order management software are all part of the Reliant solution. We're also registered contractors on both Service Channel and Facility Source, which both offer innovative technology-driven platforms for retailers.

While it may seem we're doing a lot, we know that two core trait of successful innovation are openness to new things (listen and observe) and the willingness to try things even when we don’t know what the outcome will be (taking chances). We feel that the blending of these two traits is the key for successful innovation and ultimately, success in the new norm of today.



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