When electronic spreadsheets first appeared, it was a revolution in business data management. Everything was much more readable, accurate, and work processes were accelerated. Now, we’re here to declare the death of the spreadsheet.
Microsoft’s first version of Excel came out in 1985. Undoubtedly, many readers weren’t even born at that time. Still, many waste management companies don’t want to give up this archaic form of data management.
Most of the resistance to updating systems fall under two lines of reasoning: cost and inconvenience. However, the reality is that modern document and data management tools save companies money and make work easier.
For those that upgrade, significant business benefits are instantaneous.
When faced with the decision to ditch old spreadsheet tools, consider these questions:
- How would your company benefit from a 40% document-related cost reduction?
- Would an increase in sales close percentage of 20% be worth it?
- What if you could produce documents (waste profiles, manifests, quotes, etc.) in a third of the time?
Now, consider again the excuses of cost and inconvenience. Does holding onto slow, costly spreadsheets still make sense?
Business Management Platforms
Think about how CD players have become obsolete. Now, with cloud supported content, services like Spotify provide music anywhere. Plus, it’s faster and customizable. A similar advantage can be seen by replacing spreadsheets with business management platforms.
These platforms are a collection of online tools that accelerate and improve processes like:
- Document & biennial report preparation
- Quote generation
- Customer management
- Account management
- Wastestream management
The environmental services companies that leverage this newer technology will save money and time. And what do they do with those savings? They invest it back into business growth.
Spreadsheets Vs. Business Management
When you work with a spreadsheet you might have a template to work from. You fill in the data, and then you save the file to your computer. Later you might print the document or you can send it by email. Although this process might seem simple and familiar, it actually has many deficiencies.
Built for Speed
Spreadsheets seem like they are fast to work with. Still, even with a template, you have to type in values and data into each field. Plus, if you have a new document, you have to create a new template.
Business management software also provides templates, but commonly used data is preloaded, such as addresses and client information. This means a single click from a menu of choices completes the form. This type of automation can speed up form completion by up to three times.
Additionally, if you need more templates, they can be easily added to the system. The software can also incorporate your brand logo onto the forms.
Some documents that can be created faster with data management tools include:
- Hazardous Waste Labels
- Regulatory Forms
- Shipping Forms
- Bills of Lading
- Service Agreements
- Waste Manifests (including e-Manifest)
- Hazardous Waste Profiles
Data Access Advantages
With traditional spreadsheets, information gets trapped in silos, that is, access is limited to computers or systems on premise. With business management platforms, the information is stored in the cloud and can be accessed from any Internet connection or even via mobile devices.
This means you don’t have to worry about expensive hardware or server installations as everything is maintained in the cloud. Plus, everything is kept orderly in one place. You can access individual client account data with just a few clicks. No more digging around for information.
Also, when biennial report (or audit) time rolls around, everything you need is at your fingertips. Processes that can take weeks with old fashioned spreadsheets are now reduced to days or even hours.
Close Deals Faster
When it comes to winning new clients, the first quote has the upper hand. When your team has to prepare a quote manually, it’s time consuming. Waste management companies that have automatic quote builders, however, get quotes out nearly as fast as they come in. This translates into faster growth of your client base.
Document security risk can fall under various types, and platforms for waste industry businesses offer superior protection in all cases. If your computer breaks down or gets hacked, you can lose any and all the data stored inside, including Excel spreadsheets. Accidents and natural disasters could lead to a system wide loss of data as well.
With business management software, everything is protected by high level encryption to keep hackers at bay. Also, since the data is stored in the cloud, even if your entire office computer system gets damaged, you still have access to your complete document library. Just connect via Internet, log in, and everything is there safe, sound, and in order.
It’s worth expanding on the concept that with business management platforms, all your customer information is located in one secure place. This aspect is often referred to as customer relationship management (CRM). Instead of scrambling around for data among paper files or hard-to-find Excel spreadsheets, everything is organized and easily accessed.
CRM platforms provide an immediate view of any customer’s business history and current status. So when a company representative communicates with a customer, answers and solutions are readily available. CRMs can even include portals that provide 24/7 online access to new service orders, documents, and invoice payments.
Make Sure They Know The Waste Management Industry
While the age of spreadsheets has expired, not all data and document management tools are created equal. Take the waste profile for example. Who would you want creating the document template for this complex and critical form? Instead of a generic business management software, a solution created by industry experts will work more effectively out-of-the box. Plus, any important fields won’t be left out which improves your compliance profile.
In many cases, large generic data management providers must also include expensive consulting services. This is because waste companies need a lot of help to adapt the software to fit their industry. However, solutions pre-built for waste management companies have been refined to address all the nuances associated with a waste company’s unique needs.
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