In November, Wynne Systems launched a new product — IntelliSource. While we’re all very excited about the capability it brings to rental shops, it has an interesting, thought-provoking story. Today, we’ll dive into that story and examine one of the interesting topics that stemmed from it — knowledge and experience gaps.
The IntelliSource Story
During a customer visit, the Wynne team toured the front office of a rental branch. In one corner, a guy was sitting at a desk littered with post-it notes, stacks of paper, large monitors, and a large gas station “big chug” filled with coffee. He was constantly on the phone.
Naturally, we asked, “What does he do?” The answer was, “He’s our problem solver. When the other coordinators can’t find equipment, they go to him.”
As we talked with other customers, it turns out this situation isn’t uncommon at other rental companies, either. That’s when the idea for IntelliSource was born. Rental teams needed a better, faster way to find equipment rather than putting enormous amounts of reliance and stress on one very experienced person.
While the Wynne team developed a solution for this challenge, there are some other interesting topics that play into this story. One of those topics is the knowledge and experience gaps that can develop between employees. While this is natural at almost any company, there is a huge potential opportunity for anyone who can effectively bridge those gaps.
Knowledge & Experience Gaps
Experienced rental coordinators like the one in our story can be hard to come by. It’s a job that often requires years of built-up knowledge, skills, and experience, sometimes developed by getting thrown into the deep end.
The associated problem is that a heavy reliance on a single employee isn’t good for the business. It adds a lot of stress to that person’s daily work life. It also adds a lot of risk if that person were to leave.
It can easily turn into a perpetual, recycled issue where one problem leads to another. Sure, IntelliSource is a great force multiplier when it comes to equipment sourcing for your rental coordinators, but it isn’t a software “Holy Grail” that can solve everything.
If this is something you’re experiencing at your rental branches, it may be time to revisit the topic of knowledge gaps in your teams. To help you out, we thought through some tips that might help get the wheels turning on the topic again.
Revisit your training program
Training programs help employees develop a core of skills that they will be using daily. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start developing one! If you do have one, take another look at what’s in it. Does it still cover the necessary tasks and duties your employees take on every day? Is it up to date with current systems and processes? Don’t ignore how it’s taught either!
Knowledge-sharing sessions & mentorships
If you have an experienced coordinator, have them teach your other, less-experienced coordinators during regularly scheduled sessions or even recordings that can be shared company-wide. It doesn’t have to be a 2-hour training session either. Spending even 15 minutes on a topic can make a world of difference in building knowledge and skills between employees. When employees first start, it also makes sense to have them follow and be mentored by your veterans.
Documentation and LMSs
Knowledge shouldn’t stay in people’s heads. Dedicating time and resources to putting knowledge on paper shouldn’t be ignored. While this is a whole topic that we can dive into another time, it’s important to have clearly defined locations, formats, accessibility, and more around documentation. Another thing to consider is a Learning Management System that can help your team record and distribute knowledge throughout the company.
Training and knowledge sharing shouldn’t be a one-way street of veterans and managers talking to other employees. If you haven’t yet, establish some feedback mechanisms with your employees. Regular surveys, one-on-one sessions, performance reviews, and mentor check-ins are all great methods for building feedback into your knowledge sharing efforts.