In the tough economic times we’ve all faced in the last few years, some tough decisions have had to be made. Some things have had to be cut out of the budget. Without a healthy bottom line, companies are in real danger.
At the same time, many companies have realized that it is important that their employees also remain healthy and out of danger, which is why they’ve been hesitant to cut back on safety programs. And rightly so. Still, safety managers, like everyone else in most companies, have had to learn to do more with less.
It’s time to get smart about safety footwear programs. For safety managers looking to get the most efficiency out of their limited time and resources, there’s another option to consider in place of the traditional process. This traditional process often includes involving several different departments, from accounting to purchasing to safety. It involves coordinating the best date available for both managers and workers. It involves matching that date to the shoe vendor’s schedule for a shoe mobile visit. It involves picking a limited selection of safety footwear to be available on the truck, and it involves explaining how the invoicing works. Then, when it’s time to have the shoe mobile visit, it results in lost productivity as every employee waits around for their turn to try on, choose, and purchase their safety footwear. And then all the sales slips have to be entered and matched with the invoice. It’s a tedious, time consuming process. And it’s not necessary.
There’s a better way! Maximizing efficiency and eliminating complexity is essential for any company to thrive and grow. The same is true for safety footwear programs. And safety footwear vendors are on board with that as well, using technology to innovate. The result is an easier, less time consuming, and simpler process for outfitting employees with safety footwear.
The biggest advancement in technology is the ability to order safety footwear via electronic means, rather than the traditional shoe mobile bonanza. It’s even simpler than the catalog method that many safety managers have gone to in order to cut down on cost and wasted time. Ordering safety footwear online means lower prices and expanded style selection. No more loading up a limited selection onto a truck for a shoe mobile visit. The selection is virtually endless online.
Although U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that 77 percent of Americans have access to the Internet, many companies are still apprehensive about their employees’ ability to take care of this on their own. To eliminate this problem, some safety footwear vendors will bring a computer kiosk right to the work site. The vendors can develop a uniquely tailored ordering system that ensures that the employees are only able to purchase the safety footwear that is approved for the specific needs of their workplace. The stand-alone computer kiosks can be placed in easy-to-access locations like the break room or cafeteria. Employees can select and buy their safety footwear while they are on break or taking their lunch. This cuts down on inefficiency and lost productivity as well. With 24 hour, on-site access to the ordering system, coordinating schedules between managers and employees and vendors is no longer an issue.
These online safety footwear programs or purchasing programs, can use voucher systems the same way they have been used in retail stores for years. The vendor can provide and distribute a paper or electronic voucher to the employees which has the company’s subsidy authorization in a unique numeric indicator. When that numeric indicator, or “coupon code” is used on the ordering website, a charge is made to the employer’s subsidy account. Seamless. Efficient. Billing and invoicing can also be done electronically, and customized by company.
Many vendors will offer a “Live Chat” feature to help employees select the right size. Measuring devices can also be placed next to the kiosk.
Of course, that leaves one last issue to overcome. What if you didn't pick the correct sizes for your employees? Well, most vendors will provide free shipping and returns. So if there needs to be an exchange made, it won’t cost the company or the employee anything other than a little bit of time. Which, in comparison to all the time saved and productivity kept instead of wasted, this method puts your company out on top. Doing more with less. A simple miracle.