I've worked in restaurants, food service, retail, and catering establishments where there are lots of moving parts and huge teams. There are times when I have a task that needs doing but I can only be in so many places at once. I trust my leads, but I often wished there was a better way to set tasks and communicate with everyone more efficiently than a radio (no written instructions) or checklist. So over the last month I've been fleshing out an idea for an app that could help with quick task and team management.
But, before I even start with architecture, I have to stop and think about the ramifications of encouraging workers to be on their phones if I were to put out an app. I'm sure everyone who runs operations in a service environment has come across this problem. Thinking back, I used texts with some teams and never had a problem, but other times it seemed I'd given them an excuse to not pay attention when they're on the floor.
Have you seen any sort of success in this area? Or is it inviting trouble?
We do allow phones in our production area, as long as they don't hinder work. We use group text for our company communications. Any changes in anything, new things, announcements, all go onto the group text. It works very well for us.
@jessbru99568 thank you for your insight. I suppose it's a pretty circumstantial question, but very glad you were able to set the professional tone with success.
That's something I'll have to consider.
This is a super cool idea, @Hayaibookusu!
I think in some ways, this could really smooth out a process and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. On the other hand, I could see how this could 1. look unprofessional to customers (especially in a restaurant setting) 2. distract employees from tasks and could lead to personal use of their phone.
Perhaps if the app is strictly used manager-to-manager, manager-to-lead, lead-to-lead, etc. on a work only device (like a tablet, which looks more professional and less personal).
An employee could have access and the ability to check on tasks throughout their shift by keeping a work only device somewhere accessible to all.
This way, an employee won't get distracted every few moments by notifications, but if a lead or manager verbally assigned a task to them, they could check on the tablet if they forgot.
Those are great points, thank you. I didn't even think about the perception of the tech - you are totally right. We're coming to the point where technology is integrated into almost every one of our actions, but setting the tone of professionalism (will shift at some point I am sure) still requires us to be off our phones.
The idea was to encourage a sort of gamification, to stoke passions to get work done with some tangible rewards between employees. But maybe you are right, I should focus on how I can encourage coordination between leads.
A tablet! That's a good idea and probably a more acceptable starting point.
Maybe it could work for events or catering where there is BoH and FoH work operations, but not somewhere like a retail space.
I suppose another huge component is helping managers set tone and etiquette so this kind of tool could be feasible.
Lots to think about! Thanks again. @AudreyPratt
I think yes. Any logistics helps to work better. The speed of information transfer is also important. For different types of business, such software can be different. For example, we have a transport company, and we want to develop our own software. We will order from professionals from a large company(https://www.innovecs.com/industries/logistics/), because the task is not easy.
Sound like a great idea! Just so you know, you are not the only one who is thinking in this direction. Here's a sample of a succesfull app:
It actually makes sense and pays back. Though you need to get some help from professional engineers in programming like these guys.
By the way, everybody has smartphones these days. It's totally ok to expect your employee to have one. Personally, I'd like to have an app on my phone that would help me to be more productive at work.