Bad workmen or poor tools?

Resources to get the job done

The saying goes “a bad workman always blames his tools”. But is it always the workmen that are at fault?

Today I had a delivery, and the poor driver was getting extremely frustrated with his hand held scanner.  He had to reset it twice before it showed the delivery for me to sign. Now how much of this was down to operator error I can’t say, but one thing was for sure, he was not happy about it. Neither was I for that matter as I was left standing on the doorstep for 10 minutes while this was going on, when frankly I had better things to do!

But it made me reflect on how well we provide the right resources and tools for our staff to do their jobs, and then give them the necessary training to utilise them to the full. Failure to do so is frustrating for the employee, and inevitably has a knock on effect on the customer experience, as was evident today.

The most obvious is the provision of the right equipment. This might be as simple as the right accessories for your vacuum cleaners, right the way through to your heavy kitchen or laundry equipment. Equipment that is unreliable or fails to do the job for which it was designed can be a huge source of frustration for staff.

Consult with those who will using the equipment before making investments.
Skimping on inferior quality equipment might help the initial cash flow, but in the end seldom pays off. However ask whether or not you need the all singing all dancing model, or just the basic. Why pay for extra features if they are seldom, if ever, needed?

Have a system in place for maintenance, whether this is done in house or with a contractor. And have a reporting process if there are problems; maybe when the equipment doesn’t appear to be functioning on all four cylinders, or gets damaged. Failure to report and deal with problems promptly not only leads to staff frustrations, and later accusations of who’s fault it is, but could cost you dearly in the long run if it causes long-term damage.

Then ensure your team get the full training they need to get best use out of the equipment. Talk to your suppliers to support with this training. And ensure they understand the maintenance required and can spot quickly when there are faults that need reporting.  Remember too the equipment that your customers will be using – irons in rooms, LCD projectors in meeting rooms, gym equipment. It’s easy for these to get overlooked.

Products and consumables
In the kitchen it’s obvious to have the right products, as the end result is so evident if the correct ingredients have not been sourced. But this extends to all areas of the hotel – the appropriate cleaning products for the job, the correct grade of printer ink and paper, the quality of toiletries- each will have an impact on the finished result and how easy they are to use or work with, and whether they deliver what is required to the right standard. Simple little things can have a huge impact on the amount of effort needed from your team and on the quality of the end result.


Tomorrow,   I will be looking into if and how your team are dependant on others to enable them to get their job done.

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