Over the past 12 to 18 months, we’ve seen headline after headline about the backlogged supply chain, but worrisome headlines don’t help when it comes to running a business and taking care of your customers. Those that adapt will thrive and those that blame market conditions will perish. That simple.

It’s become clear that the shortages are not something that will pass quickly, which means that you have to adapt to a “new normal.” Our team at Colony Roofers has really worked hard over the past two years to make sure we’re a leader in our market (greater Atlanta) with regards to using technology. This was important before the supply constraints, but now it’s critical.

It’s really important when you’re adopting technology that you look at it from the inside out and utilize tools that solve your specific business issues, not just adopt technology because it’s “cool” or “the thing to do” right now. There are a few major business issues that have been exacerbated by the supply chain backlog and we’ve used technology to help minimize them.

Staying Organized

Before the supply shortages, we might be able to drag our feet for 24 to 48 hours on getting a proposal out, submitting a material order, or filing for a permit. We don’t have that luxury anymore, because our customers can’t afford to wait any longer than the material lead times require.

So how do we stay organized? We use a proprietary workflow that’s set up on a Kanban board system via our CRM and project management tool, JobNimbus. Each person in the company knows exactly which steps on the workflow they are responsible for and therefore which columns of our Kanban boards they are accountable for.

These clear role definitions and separation of duties allow each team member to be extremely efficient and a true expert in their areas of responsibility. The other thing that our Kanban system allows us to do is manage different types of jobs (i.e. residential insurance, commercial retail, residential repair, etc.) all within one platform. There’s no bouncing between softwares or pulling of reports. We have everything in one place. I can’t emphasize enough just how critical this is to our team staying organized and thereby minimizing the impact that the supply shortages have on our customers.

Maintaining Customer Communication

As mentioned above, staying organized internally is critical, but the most important thing is that our customers feel a constant flow of communication. They are mostly understanding of the market conditions and the fact that things are largely out of our control. That only happens because we give them constant updates and stay engaged.

Technology plays a huge role in our team being able to maintain these constant customer updates. While automation is often looked at as impersonal, it is the single biggest thing in our business that makes sure we are staying engaged. Our workflows are programmed to make sure we stay all over communicating with every customer. 

Whether it’s a new lead outreach sequence, our build schedule email templates, or our feedback request follow-up, we’re always using technology to maintain constant communication with our customers. The evolution of VoIP systems also allow for us to make all of this happen at a relatively affordable cost.

Increase Efficiency in Updating Proposals

2020 and 2021 brought us heavy inflation, not just in the roofing industry, but on a macroeconomic level. The supply chain shortages in the roofing industry have exacerbated these macro trends. Low-slope roofing products have been among the hardest hit areas of the market. In some cases, we have only been able to hold proposal pricing for 10 to 14 days.

One of the worst things that could happen in an environment like this is that our team gets bogged down in repricing proposals that have already been sent out. For some of our longer-term buyers (property managers, general contractors, etc.) this could result in our team spending 100% to 200% more time on proposals than in the past. This would be devastating to our business because it wouldn’t allow us to focus on new business opportunities.

Technology plays a massive role in our team being able to quickly update proposals for current pricing and withdraw prior proposals to mitigate confusion. By using a software like SumoQuote, we are able to simply update our price list on a regular basis, duplicate prior proposals and send them off. It’s pretty incredible how efficient we are able to be with this system in place.

These are just a few of the things we have done over the past two years to put ourselves in a position to minimize the effects of the supply chain on our projects and customers. I can’t emphasize enough how important it has been that we assess technology solutions from the inside out.

The solutions I’ve shared are not a one-size-fits-all solution, but they were very good solutions for our company. We focus heavily on roof replacement in Atlanta and need to operate efficiently as a lean and mean team in order to meet our goals as an organization.