The Ice Watch team is already hard at work planning its strategies for next winter –even though officially, despite the balmy weather, the current season doesn’t finish until April 30!
And the steep and necessary rise in video conferencing across organisations UK wide means the company’s communications, even in a post lockdown world, will become even more efficient both with clients and within its own teams.
Senior operations manager Michael Jay echoes what many businesses and employees across the world have been saying – that the enforced use of technology has highlighted how inefficient many previous systems were. Ah, remember those far of days of spending many hours travelling to and from meetings!
“Microsoft Teams and Zoom are proving to be an exceptionally powerful tool, allowing for a useful form of communication. The Covid 19 situation has highlighted the power that the video call can actually have as a substitute for face to face meetings. Sharing screens enables supporting documentation such as Excel spreadsheets or power point presentations to be seen by all callers simultaneously,’ explained Michael.
“I genuinely feel that this way of working may well be the way forward for a lot of companies. They may also see it as beneficial for recruitment as office location is no longer so important and they can employ people from anywhere – it doesn’t matter where they live. It is not dissimilar to the way that retailers can sell their wares online without the need for a High Street presence.
“I think the enforced usage of platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom may have catapulted the practice of this sort of technology which otherwise would have progressed over a period of a number of years
“All of us within idverde and Ice Watch have been using MS teams daily since we have been working from home and it has proven to be a positive thing out of a strange set of circumstances.”
Planning for next season includes measuring the success of the winter just passed as well as examining recruitment requirements to service the growing number of sites added to the Ice Watch database. It also involves arranging training for new sub-contractors to ensure they meet the high service level standards enjoyed by all clients.
A new factor in this year’s training will be quarterly review video conferences with sub-contractors around the country with the Ice Watch operations team and members of the wider idverde family.
“These will enable us to discuss a range of topics from both sides of the fence and gives us all actionable tasks and offers a higher level of accountability,” explained Michael.
Ice Watch’s annual operator roadshows take place every September at numerous locations across the UK. This year, the Ice watch team is planning even further ahead and is ready to run them via Zoom or other technology should social distancing measures still be in place in the autumn.
“Our detailed operator roadshows are vital in reviewing last year’s work and performances and setting out new policies, new systems, new targets and improvements. These also highlight clearly both the customers’ expectations on our service levels and our expectations of our operators. This is a positive training session for new operators and existing operators.
“We discuss at length the importance of site tracking which covers every site. We have daily audits of the sites to ensure the tracking data is 100% accurate to the gritting plan. With instant feedback we can also rectify any issues quickly.
“We also train and re-train on the in-house system and smartphone application which not only confirms the sites to be serviced, it states salt levels needed to suit the site and the weather conditions.”