Some very important key personnel in any storm management system are the support staff. These support staff may be just one person if you are a small entity. In fact, for companies who are just starting out the Dispatcher may be the support staff too. If you should decide that you don’t yet need or require separate employees to do these tasks, so be it. However, for purposes of this blog entry let’s diagram out the support staff by separating the duties of such staff.
The Area Supervisor will begin the initial paperwork flow. This person obtains pertinent field information such as start and end times for plow personnel (employees and subs), what was plowed, when (if needed) and site conditions in the general geographic area of responsibility. Samples of such documents are contained in the appendix. Once the snow event is over the Area Supervisor turns in this paperwork to the Dispatcher. The Dispatcher checks to make sure that all lines are filled in, and that all the required data is there. This should be done immediately upon being turned in, and should be done with the Area Supervisor present. If this is not possible due to logistics, then the document should be faxed to the Dispatch office for processing.
From these field documents comes a plethora of information. The use of a simple excel spreadsheet program will greatly assist whomever is inputting this data. An administrative person (and as noted, in a smaller operation these positions may be filled by one person) can enter the start and end times for each ‘unit’ moving snow – be they employee or subcontractor. The excel document can be set up to automatically figure the time spent plowing. This same document can be set up with the hourly rate that the employee (or sub) is being paid, and made to automatically figure up how much money has been spent on this person’s time. The document can also be set up to add up all the subs times by area so that you have an accurate accounting of what you have spent on that areas plowing for that ‘event’ or period of time. Again, this document can then add up the expenditures for each area (if there is more than one) and you can quickly have an accurate accounting of what the company has spent managing the snow during that particular event.
If the hours are put into the excel document as they arrive in your office, it is entirely possible to have your ‘expenses’ literally within minutes of having all the information in your office. What a great tool for knowing your costs!