Operational Excellence

Finding a landscaping vendor that has every cylinder firing is getting more difficult to obtain these days. With so many more contractors to choose from now than ever before, there is a higher possibility of choosing the wrong one. Every now and again you will find a vendor that seems to be performing at the top of their level. Those are the ones you will do anything to keep. Throughout my career, I have noticed most of these top performers have one major thing in common: operational excellence.

Is the vendor professional in the most basic forms? As in, do they have a clean, presentable service vehicle and uniform? Something so simple, almost petty, is extremely important. If your landscaper pulls up to your job site every week in a dirty, unmarked vehicle with no formal uniform, how can you safely determine if those are the people you think they are? Not only does it not look professional, not knowing who or what those workers belong to could intimidate some of your residents or tenants. Your renters have better things to focus on. Do not allow your vendor to draw negative attention to themselves, because eventually, it will become a reflection on you.

Organization is key with any successful vendor. Let us start with scheduling. Does the contractor show up as agreed upon in the contract, consistently at the same intervals for each service? Or do they seem to be showing up when they can and having to perform make up services or “IOU” favors for lack of consistent service? A lot of this erratic behavior is stemmed from a poor organization or structure at their company. A great vendor will have a consistent schedule for the season, always having the correct equipment and people to perform the job. Of course, there will be times where something will go wrong even with a “perfect” vendor. Maybe a few folks called in sick or they had a breakdown on the highway which caused them to stray off schedule. What makes them a great vendor is that they let you know, and they communicated that to you and let you know the new plan. That brings me to the next point: communication.

Do you hear from your vendor once a month, once a quarter, or every week? Depending on the type of work performed and how often they are contractually required to visit your property, you may need to hear from one vendor more than another. Are they being proactive in communicating: schedule changes, pricing for enhancements, hazardous items, general cost-saving measures, or general notes of the property each week? Or are you having to reach out to them for every item? A well-oiled contractor will always have their communication down and you will know their every move.

These points discussed are some of the common trends or habits I have noticed that can separate a great vendor from a poor one. A vendor with operational excellence will be your eyes and ears for your property and will be a true partner. One should desire a company that makes your life easier, not harder. Make sure you choose one that fits your mold and takes your property to the next level with excellent operational fluidity. You won’t regret it.

Mike Bauer
Chapel Valley Landscape Company

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