2 new papers can help avoid spread of invasive earthworms – Lawn & Landscape

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With so much technology out there, how do you figure out what works for a specific need? Louis Perez Jr., CEO of Blue Native Landscape & Irrigation, says the first thing is that you have to is make the leap and stick to it.“This is a marriage,” he says of technology. “You aren’t just going on a couple dates. If you are, you’re wasting your money. You have to be committed to it.”Common pain points that technology can address are inefficiencies, inability to scale, slow communication, lack of accountability, inability to measure performance and more. “Another pain point we had was finding landscape professionals,” Perez says. “It’s been extremely hard for us in our market, and this problem isn’t going to get any better. We decided let’s use technology to become more ‘plug and play’ friendly.” Perez says that the right technology can make up for a lack of experience and allow someone new to the industry to work faster and more efficient.One thing Blue Native found out early on is that the company needed someone who’s sole responsibility was implementing and monitoring technology. They brought on a director of technology last year.“He had no landscape experience whatsoever,” Perez notes. When finding a champion for technology within your company, you need someone who is not only tech-savvy but also a natural born trainer and teacher. “They must be self-motivated,” Perez says. “You want someone who’s going to push themselves into getting these things taken care of.”Getting someone who’s always looking out for the “why” and being inquisitive is another key characteristic. Once you have your person in place, Perez says the next step is selecting a software. He recommends doing your homework thoroughly. “Make the decision based on your pain points,” Perez says. “These platforms need to address your specific needs.”Perez also says he avoids demonstrations with sales representatives initially. Instead, he suggests talking to a person in the technical division to learn more about what the software can really do.Perez recognizes that there will be no perfect program and says to set dealbreakers and then go from there.“Don’t get hung up on things it can’t do and focus more on all the things it can do,” he says. When it comes to getting the best out of accounting, fleet management, estimating software and more, Blue Native found it was best to integrate multiple systems together. Perez says this integration helps with all sorts of things including onboarding, project tracking, transparency, improved safety and increased profitability.The onboarding process can seem overwhelming, and Perez says that when selecting your software make sure you’re choosing a company that will support you the whole way. “It’s very important to request timelines from the platform,” he says. “Ask where you should be in one month, three months and more. Ask those questions.”Data entry can be another turn off when it comes to implementing technology, but Perez says that is unfortunately a necessary evil and just can’t be overlooked.“If you aren’t putting enough in, you won’t be getting the whole picture,” he says. Getting crews on board is another challenge, so the roll out needs to be thoughtful and planned out. Perez urges keeping the implementation process as simple as you can. “Allow for hiccups,” he says. “They’re going to happen…be ready for them and get past them.”Once things are rolled out, Perez says keep your team engaged. Survey them and see what they think of the technology, how it’s helped them and any challenges they are facing. Perez adds that while embracing technology is a marriage, that doesn’t mean a company can’t switch up what it’s using or go in a new direction if they haven’t found the right fit. He says it’s more about making the commitment to the concept rather than a specific software or piece of technology.

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