Before we discuss software, and more specifically VTS Systems software, let’s talk about technology. The problem with technology is that it is always changing; stepping back in time to our great grandfather’s era when Ernest Holmes created the first tow truck, the concept was revolutionary and this man’s vision created the tow industry we know today.
This evolution was brought about by man’s creative destruction. What you may ask is creative destruction? Simply put its man’s need to explore and create new ideas, with the end result being efficiency and profit. Unfortunately, there is a destructive side to men’s creativity. Just as the farm tractor supplanted thousands of agriculture workers, and the automobile replaced the horse and buggy, creative destruction will inevitably change your towing or VSF business.
There are many parts of your business in which creative destruction will bring about change, but non-more so than the move towards an automated office. Most in our industry rightfully see the tow truck as the revenue generator and in the foreseeable future that will not change. What some do not acknowledge, and others fully comprehend, is importance of the office; the flow of information it is designed to process, directly reflects how efficiently you manage your business, your money and ultimately your company’s profit.
Creative destruction is shaping the office of the future, and unless we collectively make a concerted effort to embrace and understand the creative changes that are coming, many will become the dinosaur that we all fear. If every office computer and software application could be fixed with a squirt of oil, a screwdriver and a wrench, every tow company owner would have two in the garage next to his/her favorite truck. Sadly, they are not mechanical in nature, but electronic, and for many this may require a whole new skill set. Acquiring a basic understanding of how computers work is relatively easy, ask your children, or better still, your grandchildren. If that is not an option, call your local community college and inquire about basic computer courses for adults. More difficult, is understanding software; software cannot be seen or touched; it has no smell and no taste. However, there are enough people associated with our industry that can provide knowledge, guidance, training and support. VTS Systems is such a company. “Call us.”
If you are not yet thinking about the creative destruction that will inevitably continue to be part your business, then you should be. Ultimately, the office of tomorrow is in cyberspace, where the “Internet of tomorrow” can be accessed from anywhere and by anyone from any PC, smartphone, or tablet. Depending on the size of your company you may or may not need full-time office staff, as fully automated processes and pricing will eliminate bottleneck questions, entry errors and labor costs.
However, where you live and the location of your business, will often dictate the quality and dependability of your Internet service, and this should play a decisive role in your decision-making process.
How do I start you might ask? – You already have a roadmap; you are reading a trade magazine which provides ideas and resources. Companies that advertise in Tow Professional and other journals offer specialty services in automating the office and the Internet of tomorrow.
What should you look for? – Although not all companies are created equal, most will provide you with basic software that will enhance your business. The Internet of tomorrow is a journey; not a destination. Learn as much as you can from anyone who has knowledge of the towing industry, and is technically IT competent. Do your homework, visit industry tradeshows, search the web, talk not only to the company salespeople, but ask if you can talk to a senior staff member, or customers who you feel have similar life experiences. Before sharing any of your company’s intimate details, best practices suggest the signing of a joint nondisclosure agreement.
You already know your business, make a list of features that you deem essential, cover the basics and ask about specific features. Currently, there are two kinds of software available, PC-based, where all of your data and information resides in your computer at your place of business and your company’s Internet connection is less important. Cloud or web-based software is the new alternative where nothing is stored at your place of business and every keystroke you make from any input device travels via the Internet to the software company’s hosting server at a remote location. Cloud-based technology requires not only good Internet service, but someone to engineer a fail soft internet solution to reduce the possibility of downtime.
You should feel comfortable in asking for comparisons and specifics regarding features and office tasks. Talk about how you currently process tow tickets and other data and the time it takes to accomplish a given task. Whereas it is important that “software be designed to work the way you do,” you should bear in mind that generally the people who wrote the software gathered the information from a huge operational database, choosing the efficiency of best practices before deciding on the operational structure of the software.
VTS Systems offers both server/PC and cloud-based solutions and considers ongoing “best practices” support for its clients to be as, if not more important, than an endless list of features. VTS Systems believes in “Relationships built on trust, one client at a time.” Call to inquire how we can help 281.373.3072 or visit our website www.vts-systems.com