My Honda Odyssey has many features that make my life easy.
Accidentally, I just figured out how to advance the music album in the hard drive system without touching the dashboard or using bluetooth. Who would'a thunk all you have to do is hold the "+" button down found on the steering wheel.
What does this have to do with software or even estimating?
Learning how things work, and of course remembering them for effective use, can make a significant difference in work-based performance. Highly effective software, similar to high-tech devices and gadgets, typically have many efficient time-saving tricks. Lacking the knowledge to use things efficiently can appear to the user that the product is time-consuming and thus foster opinions alluding to poor performance. In reality, however, it may not be the fault of the software.
Here's a quick "PC USERS" tip … hold down the control key (ctrl) and press either the plus (+) or minus (-) key and your screen size will either increase or decrease, respectively. For those who do not know this … WOW … how great is that!
Let's spell some of this out further to get a real handle on what I'm saying.
Most estimators have stacks of quotes that require immediate turnaround. A typical method focuses on quick results while disregarding the long-term benefits that a systematic approach can provide. Benefits like having an instant ability to change a feature, material, quantity, work center, process, as well as, immediately print out the estimate, quotation, and other reports.
Humans gravitate to the easier path but what makes the alternate path appear difficult?
Say a cost estimator, for example, simply uses a calculator, pencil and paper approach for their estimating. In their mind, based on their familiarity in working this approach for many years, it is, per se, comfortable and they know what they are doing. On a different note, maybe they are afraid of making costly mistakes similar to what they've made in the past, therefore, unwilling to even try something different. Their job, and career success, may depend on the answers they provide.
In most cases, the hold up is just a matter of not knowing how to use a new system effectively.
Software inherently has shortcuts to eliminate repeating the same steps over and over. Software that's been around awhile has additional features and benefits – making it ever more powerful. These time-saving features is what affords an effective ROI (return on investment) – but again only when users are aware of what they are and how to use them effectively.
How can this knowledge be changed?
- Explore and learn … (Visit the companies website for articles, tips, tricks, tutorials, etc.)
- Ask questions … (Call or email support.)
- Review manuals … (again)
- Subscribe to the company newsletter and blog … (Receive updates, tips and other related information.)
- Invest – Do not skimp on training … (If you can not afford consistent down time then split up into multiple sessions.)
- Sign up for a refresher training … (Learn what you forgot and the new things you are not aware of.)
Taking the time to learn more about the resources you have at your fingertips, as well as, the tools you can use can help make your company more competitive in your marketplace.