Sitting at my desk this morning reminiscing of the days as a large snow contractor as I listen to the weather forecasts for the impending storm Jonas getting ready to hit the Mid-Atlantic and north east starting on Friday. With the potential of snow amounts to exceed two feet of snow I am wondering how well contractors are prepared for the seasons first major snow event?
As the seasons first big storm. are you really ready to take it on? This is really where preparation meets opportunity-
The one thing that has really stuck in my mind over the years are my early days as a contractor when I did everything from gut instinct and fly by the seat of my pants vs. the later years when strategic planning for my snow operations and having multiple back up plans become both the norm and the key to our company’s success. From an excerpt of a snow session at CENTS 2016 last week, let me offer some basic snow planning tips.
Snow Plans are imperative no matter how basic! Look at my daughters snow plan for our home driveway. The goals are clearly articulated. While the plan was simple, execution and results were outstanding.
Here are a few good tips to prepare for Jonas 2016!
1.Storm Preparation: Storm preparation is critical to the success of your snow operations. Build your plan, create a back-up plan for what could possibly go wrong and then have a back-up plan for the back-up plan.
2.Readiness Phase: This is the phase of operational plan where everything is ready to go. All plants are in place and everyone knows there areas of responsibility.
3.Alert Phase: Depending on the weather forecast and current conditions, your snow ops TEAM is placed into operation with required staffing. Ops TEAM are mobilized and positioned strategically.
4.Operations Phase: When snowfall accumulations reach the established threshold, parking lot plowing and/or snow shoveling / blowing operations will commence and continue as conditions permit or per contractual responsibilities.
5.Suspended Operations Phase: In the event a storm reaches an intensity that the continuation of operations would prove ineffective or would pose an undue safety risk to those you serve or your employees you will suspend operations until a time you can continue safely.
6.Recovery Phase: This is when you are phasing down operations, final clean-up is being done, corners being tucked, snow piling be completed, sites are being double checked, spot salting continues, equipment is getting fueled, stockpiles being tarped and so on.
7.Post-Storm Phase: This is when all facets of snow ops are preparing for next storm. Crews are preparing for ‘ice watch services’. Ops TEAM leaders are performing an evaluation and assessment of storm related operational decisions/issues and problems are being addressed.
This is going to be a big storm. Start communicating proactively with your clients starting today if you have not already started. Set the expectations of what are the reasonable expectations given the weather forecast. Have a communication plan in place to keep your clients updated of storm clean-up progress. Remember, mother nature delivers the snow, your job is to remove it. There are only so many things you can control. That said; you must be prepared to control the controllable. Take is slow, safely and most important do a great job! This is your opportunity to build the bank for spring operations.
Need advice pre-storm, during the storm or post storm, the hotline is open for all those who need moral support or operational guidance. Feel free to call me at 610.905.3637 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author; Steven Cohen is a Landscape Industry SME and Chief Innovation Officer at GreenMark Consulting Group; a Landscape-Snow Industry Business-Consulting/Advisory firm that specializes in helping small-medium sized growth oriented companies. You can reach Steven Cohen by phone at 610.905.3637. Email Steven at email@example.com or visit our website at www.greenmarkgroup.com to learn more about our services.