LISLE, Ill. – Synergy Solution Group hosted a Service Operations Forum on Jan 26-29 in Rancho Mirage, California, at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas for 58 attendees from 32 companies. The two-and-a-half-day program kicked off with speaker Kristin Arnold and her program Building Teams.

"Kristin was great,” said Keith Reissfelder of Cox Engineering. “I have a lot of notes which will help implement an overdue team leader process within our company. I’m glad she was here at this forum."

Day one continued on the theme of 'People' with members sharing in small groups how they're building relationships with their team, who the last person who left their company was and lessons they learned after, and specific examples of recognition they have given or have received. Lee Kawsky of MSD shared the Work Order of the Week award they created to recognize technicians who share the most detail on their work orders.

On the second day of the conference members talked about the ideal structure of the service department. The group discussed questions like:

  • How do you divide work among multiple dispatchers?
  • When should you add a tech?
  • What comes first — the work or the employees?
  • How many techs quote work in the field?

Some Synergy members have added a Field Supervisor to their service department. Five companies (Atomatic, Baker Group, CSE, Ruthrauff, and Oahu) who have implemented this role into their structure served on a panel discussion to answer questions that were submitted from the group. The panel shared how they got everyone in their organization to accept the role, how they handle supervising buddies, and the potholes they faced along the way.

"You have to make sure that everyone is on board and explain the reason for this role," said Dave Sloan of Ruthrauff. "This role has improved our company culture. The techs have a voice that is heard and it makes them happier."

The final day of the meeting was dedicated to technology. As a large group members shared obstacles that come with implementing new technology like creating more work for technicians as they learn how to navigate through a paperless system and needing more training on equipment like VRF's.

One of the major issues with technology is distracted driving. Marc DeLong of Yearout shared a powerful story with the group about a distracted driving incident to show why this is important topic. Attendees then discussed distracted driving challenges they're facing and processes and procedures they've implemented.

Members also shared ways of how they're utilizing technology to stay more connected. Andy Foster of Pacific Rim showed the group how his company is using Microsoft Teams to stay connected with multiple offices.

"Understanding the ways everyone is improving their business helps us all get better," said Ryan English of Baker Group. "I never get tired of hearing others struggles and wins. I learn so much every time I come back."