Innovation at Firmatek Goes Beyond Tech Development
By Lauren Elmore, President of Firmatek.
Innovation isn’t just about new technology. At Firmatek, we are constantly on the lookout for new drones to test and implement. Our team has also focused on building a software platform, enabling our clients to visualize and utilize their site data and analysis in better ways. While technology has always been an important aspect of our business, innovation brings an important value to our culture. So often, the new technology is what we think of as innovation. That is an important part of innovation at Firmatek, but innovation is about more than just new tech, it is about having a learner mindset. It is about continuing to improve processes and systems throughout the organization. And it is about learning from and solving the new problems that appear.
We have continued to adapt our business model in the last few years as new technology has become available. Since introducing our Drone Solutions Program in 2016, we have created a lot of new processes internally. Solving problems and looking at them as an opportunity to improve systems is an important way to innovate incrementally in our organization.
Because we constantly work with clients to deliver custom solutions, we frequently run into situations that don’t fit within our current processes. When that happens, a member of the Ops team, often our VP of Logistics, calls me and explains the new situation. We talk through where the issues are and how the new situation causes problems for our current work flows. After identifying the problem, we then go on to create a way to solve it, and hopefully, it is something that can now apply to a broader range of cases.
I love when this happens in the organization. These incremental changes are so important. They are key to living our value of innovation. But it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, we go on for months doing something in an inefficient way or not tracking an issue in a way that allows us to find the problem. We wait until the little annoyance becomes a huge problem. Then we have to scramble to find the solution, or we only find it by doing an after-action review of the major issue. After-action reviews are a way we dissect an issue after we have fixed it. We think through what our expectations were, what went well, what didn’t go well, and what we want to do differently going forward. This process of evaluating our issues and the solutions we come to is another example of how we improve the organization and our processes within it.
While we often do them after negative experiences in the hopes that we can implement better processes going forward, they are important to keep in mind when we have big wins. After we have a big win or great implementation, it is helpful to analyze what went well. This helps us with those incremental improvements for next time. We can come up with ways to serve our clients even better or make our process more efficient. It’s not just the problems, small or large, that can motivate us to innovate, it is the things that go well too.
Continuing to improve our operations and our team is a big part of what it means to innovate at Firmatek. While we often focus our thoughts of innovation around our new technology, it’s important for us to remember that the little things, and sometimes the boring things, are ripe for change. Those things can make a large impact on the organization.