Managing Innovation & Technology Final Project K&M Home Improvements Alex Nilsen May 12, 2011

The employees truly do care for the work that they do and make the customer their top priority on any project. The five major areas of work for the company are hardscaping and decks. handyman repairs. remodeling. landscaping. and Masons to name a few. They are drawn to the company for the flexibility in work schedules as well as having the ability to be the lead on any number of projects. Business Description K&M Home Enhancements is in the market of home improvement. Plumbers. Due to the vast scope of the company they have skilled laborers and certified tradesman in many areas Electricians. They started small and have grown to have up to sixteen employees working full time. They are skilled tradesman who have worked in the construction business or in labor unions in previous employment. Their business has evolved into doing anything shy of constructing the house itself.Introduction The following report is the culmination of work done for K&M Home Enhancements to determine the best solution for employee time tracking. The results of this report have been integrated into the normal business operations of K&M Home Enhancements and have provide numerous benefits having been only implemented for one pay period. The company was founded by Kyle Adamczyk and Mike Stanwick who have been swinging hammers since the first grade. Carpenters. . Kyle and Mike are both in their late twenties and have many years ahead to grow their already successful business. A majority of their work force would be considered baby boomers. and also cleanouts.

W. Work done for residential homeowners is about 80% of their business. J. only provide a structure and not a home. They would create gardens around the home or in the back yard and also plant shrubs. They did not provide maintenance such as lawn care or gardening services. The other 20% comes from realtors who have homes that need modifications before being put to market for sale or rental.K&M’s target audience is residential homeowners and also realtors. The natural progression was to providing hardscape solutions along with landscaping. They also provided custom solutions at the request of any customer. Because of this design and failure of the developer to include a deck in the solution of building the house . It is also important to note that they stuck strictly to design. It became evident that there were numerous other opportunities that Kyle and Mike could take advantage of once they had finished a landscaping project at a customer’s residence. landscaping. Kyle and Mike were able to take advantage of the fact the Toll Brothers. and trees. and D. bushes. the large developer in the area.( Su Han Chan. They could turn any lot into a well-manicured and pristine property. Arthur Keown. Kyle and Mike started the business with the intentions of just provide landscaping services. In landscaping there is not a one size fits all plan. John Martin) Many homeowners who just purchased a home in a development are left with a cookie cutter house on a half-acre to two acres of land. Each individual has their own idea of beauty and their property will reflect that. John Kensinger. In many developments there were sliding doors to the back lawn but they were four feet off the ground with no outdoor porch or even steps for to access the back yard. If customers happened to request lawn maintenance they would provide a trusted subcontractor to provide the service requested. and hardscaping.

the bargaining power of suppliers. and the threat of substitutes. The philosophy at K&M Home Enhancements is Reliability. which gave the company the skills to move into the home of their customers. Many people have above ground pools behind their house and a deck was an afterthought but a great investment. The company strives to provide a custom and specialized solution to each customer to fit their needs. They pride themselves in providing excellent customer service to each and every client. the bargaining power of customers. No project is too small and none too large. Proof of their exceptional customer service is that the majority of their work is received through referrals and word of mouth. . Although if the project is outside their expertise they will enlist the help of a trusted subcontractor who will be able to provide the service the customer is looking for. and Customer Service. The company integrated the construction of decks into their solutions for landscaping and hardscaping. Communication. When they put in a deck at someone’s house their friends see it and say.there was a strong demand for people who crafted custom decks. They hired skilled carpenters to assist with the construction and design of decks. The evaluation details existing rivalry. threat of potential entrants. Porters five forces model has been used to help gain a better understanding of where K&M stand in their market. Offerings of remodeling and handyman repairs were soon to follow and became the turning point for K&M to be a one stop shop for home improvement. “Wow what a nice deck I have to have one! Who did the work for you?” Then their name gets thrown out to a new potential customer who already has a positive perception of their work.

Handyman sounds like they are the big player in town the industry of construction and home improvement more specifically is not and oligopolistic industry. Mr. Since Mr. For customers looking for a specific solution they would be drawn towards a company that specialized in that trade. Handyman also has a large advantage when it comes to advertising. Handyman is franchising operation they have strong national support from their website. Because a majority of their revenue comes from projects that they complete themselves they would not be considered general contractors. Handyman which has a presence in Warrington. Specialty contractors know one trade and can only provide a narrow focus as where K&M has an enormous amount of resources in all areas of home improvement. Handyman and appeared in several commercials.Degree of existing rivalry Rivals to K&M’s business would be general contractors in the area as well as specialists. and also customer service. Richard Karn more affectingly known as Al Borland from the 1990’s hit tv show Home Improvement has was the national spokesman for Mr. Since K&M does take on a variety of different projects it is hard to pin them down as a general contractor or a specialty company. There is also a national chain Mr.(Schilliing. to employee training. A person looking to replace windows in their house will logically call Roman & Son Windows and Doors before contacting K&M Home Improvements. Dave) Although Mr. 2008) . General contractors make most of their revenue off of subcontractors for individual tasks from a project. PA.(Kelly. The generous amount of specialty companies in the area creates rivalry for K&M.

Competition is the only large entry barrier to hurdle. The startup costs are not very high and there is plenty of access to suppliers and distributors to gain products. The main threat is the existing competition and the market is leaning towards being saturated. Large home improvement chains such as Lowes and Home Improvement exist often right across the street from each other. From most job sites a run to the store to pick up a forgotten material takes an average of just thirty minutes. The government does not put many strict regulations on home improvements businesses and starting a business is relatively easy. An outsider would have a hard time moving into the area and starting a successful home improvement business unless he could beat the competition with an exception price and higher quality. Bargaining power of suppliers As stated before the construction market in the area is almost saturated and this has led to a market saturation of suppliers as well.Threat of potential entrants The threat of potential entrants in Warrington PA for the home improvement industry is moderate. There is also a strong loyalty for local businesses in the area. Specialty suppliers offer a higher level of customer service to gain the business of potential customers but their prices are in line with the large chains. Due to the saturation of suppliers prices are normally driven be the large home improvement chains. Also lumber yards and landscaping supply companies are everywhere. Bargaining Power of buyers . There are not switching cost involved with changing suppliers which diminishes the bargaining power of the suppliers.

do it yourself. Since all finances are entered through QuickBooks the company knows at all times how much money is in the bank. There are only two options that are substitutes to home improvement. Due to the sheer volume and number of customers each supplier has it would take a major market shift for the buyers to gain control over the suppliers. Fortunately the do it yourself category is small in the Warrington area because many families are affluent and are able to reconcile the difference in price by the value of their time. The use of QuickBooks has allowed for customized and precise billing. or do nothing.The fundamental ideas behind the bargaining power of suppliers also applies to buyers as well. They are also easily able generate reports for the company such as profit . They then moved to QuickBooks for all of their accounting and payroll services. There are also plenty of able bodied people who fall into the do it yourself category. Their initial quotes and invoices were made using a custom spreadsheet design. A supplier may offer a range of attractive options for some buyers and not others. For the less affluent to do nothing option is always attractive unless the repair becomes critical by whatever measure they use to determine. Technology Audit As a small company K&M has integrated technology into its business from the time it started. Threat of substitutes Substitutes are services that are equivalent and can fulfill the customer’s needs. Each invoice provides a detailed scope of work done and the customer is able to tell where their money went on the project. The do nothing alternative is often considered in home improvement.

and strategically placed magazine ads have not been investigated. customers. direct mail. Their accounting software as well as databases for all customers and suppliers resides on their PC’s. QuickBooks provides K&M the opportunity to expand into many areas such as a POS system and also the ability to take credit cards as payment for work.(About BNI. Each method would provides different outcomes for specified target audiences. They have developed a website so in their further efforts to reach their target audience. Once you feel comfortable with those professionals you can use your network to provide referrals to others in the group. BNI gives members the platform to get to know other highly regarded business people in the community. They heavily rely on email communication between employees. Each member in the BNI group all have different professions. and suppliers. The PC has become an integral part of many businesses at this date in time and K&M is no different.and loss statements. Philip) The main form of marketing for the company is done through networking and word of mouth. It also answers common questions and gives the customer a sense of their business practices. The only form of advertising done is on the web. 2011) Being a member also means . Having a strong web presence brings legitimacy to your business to consumers. Kyle and Mike both belong to several professional organizations such as BNI (Business Networking International). (Kotler. and many local homeowners associations. Other areas of marketing such as newspaper ads. Their website provides many examples of work that they have completed and what they can do for you as a customer. billboards. Moving to the QuickBooks will prove to be a valuable business decision by letting the PC handle work that was traditionally done by an extra employee.

Cell phones are also utilized in the rare case of an emergency situation at the customer’s residence. Employees will have a means to contact the customer or proper authorities to resolve the emergency. K&M have been adopters of technology and allow other firms to prove the benefits of the technology. Providing constant communication to the customer requires excellent communication between employees and management. A valiant effort is put forth to evaluate their .reciprocating referrals to other members of the group. They are not in a position where they can spend $10. They also apply the same concepts they have learned in BNI and practice it with their customers. Cell phones have also been a critical part of K&M’s technological strategy. When unknown or unplanned for circumstances present themselves employees always have a way to contact the customer so they can deal with the situation in the best manor possible and to the liking of the customer. Cell phones allow employees to give courtesy calls to the customer to let them know that the crew will be late because they are stuck in traffic or there is a circumstance beyond their control that will cause them to be late. Bringing technology into a service has not traditionally used technology before has its challenges but it also allows for substantial increases in efficiency if it is utilized the proper way. The ability to send emails and exchange contact information almost instantly is a huge help. Cell phones have grown to be an important part of networking. This keeps on opening up an endless amount of networking opportunities and the work soon after follows.000 on a system that turns out not to be the best system for the company. Kyle and Mike have greatly benefited from the strategy of personal networking.

. A critical assessment was completed before signing up for a wireless phone service provider. what is the return on the investment. They prices their jobs as lean as possible while still accounting for a profit and also not lowering their standard on quality of materials and workmanship. All of the technology that K&M have integrated in to their business has served one very important purpose which is increased efficiency. They also provided the lowest monthly cost with relatively low upkeep costs for a fleet of business phones. Reducing time to get a project done allows them to lower cost for the customers and also makes them more competitive against other companies competing for work in the same line of business. The company prides itself on integrity and pricing reflects that. and GPS tracking. They determined that Verizon had the best coverage in the area also provided other features the business could take advantage of. email. Of course there are some projects where extra time is built into the project just in case anything goes wrong or there are unexpected setbacks.needs and match technologies that will allow them to reach their desired goal. and what are the continual costs to up keep this technology? There are many companies with attractive deals and great devices for wireless phone service. The strength and reputation of the wireless network was also considered because they wanted to be able to have service at every customer site in their service area and not have to deal with dropped calls while transporting from site to site. mobile broadband. Being as efficient as possible is the approach that is taken towards pricing of jobs. The three main things considered when adopting a technology are how will it affect the customer. The features that were offered with the contract were also important to business operations such as text messaging. how will it affect business operations.

The first was a way to track employee time on the jobsite and also know where workers were throughout the day. I also committed myself to look into possible solutions for a customer interface software. G. decrease paperwork. These three strategies were low tech. The third idea he had was to find a way to improve the volume of work during the winter months. The motivation for introducing technology to this process is for worker accountability. Heely) The goal of the three strategies is to provider worker accountability. B. The system I devised still required workers to fill out time sheets to account for hours.( M. and be seamless to the customer. Most of this system is based on the honor of the worker. decrease the time to process payroll. and decrease time to process payroll. The main obstacle for the low tech option is accountability. The difference is that workers would have to arrive at a . Miles. and high tech. Work Completed The current system involved time cards filled out by employees and was strictly on the honor system. and M. Since the company has an mechanistic structure rather than an organic structure the best solution will provide structure and create efficiency. After hearing a little more about the company I decided to attack the task of creating a solution for accurate employee time tracking.There were three problems that were identified by the company which they believed they could implement technology to solve. Covin. J. P. The second was to find a software solution that would serve as an interface for the customer to update them on the progress of their project. The low tech option would require minimal investment and would be a set of processes to follow. some tech. I decided to research and develop three strategies for the company.

to clock in for the day. With the existing system of workers traveling directly to the jobsite there is not as much inequality because the jobsite is constantly changing and may be longer for some and shorter for others. The customers will benefit from this system because employees are more likely to be on time than before and if they have not showed up to the office the office will be able to notify the customer that the employee may be late or they can reschedule.centralized location. At the end of the day they would have to return to the office to clock out and received another time stamp. When they arrived at their shift they would text “Start” and when they have ended their shift they would text “Stop”. They could then proceed from there to the jobsite. It also might not make sense to drive to the office if the place you are working is only 5 minutes down the road from your house. These text messages will all have date and time stamps which can be recorded to obtain the hours worked for each employee. This solution provides accountability for workers at the beginning and end of the day and insures that they will be making it to the jobsite on time. The second option I considered was some tech. With gas prices being very high it is not the most efficient use of resources. At the office the secretary would stamp their time sheet with the time they arrived. Some do not live close to the office and would have to travel rather far at the beginning and end of each day. It all depends up on the job. the office. This does create some unnecessary travel for workers. This system takes the paper out of the equation but still does not solve the issue of knowing if the employee is really . People who live further from the office are sacrificing more time off the clock than someone who lives closer. Workers would send a SMS message to a email address. The secretary would access these emails and could enter the information directly into the payroll system. They would also text a description of what they worked on during that day.

At the end of the week to submit the time card the employees just hit export and it will email the report in Microsoft Excel format to the secretary who compiles payroll. This system is transparent to the customers but it will bring accurate reporting of time which will allow the company to accurately quote small jobs and larger projects. Even if a punch is missed it is possible to go back and enter a time. Ultimately this is a win for customers and future customers. This solution would be much more expensive and would require each employee to have a smart the jobsite when they check in.” When the notes are complete the employee hits done and the clock starts ticking. In the notes section the employee would write ”Installing drywall in the master bedroom and den. For example the general task would be drywall instillation. The employee would open the application on their phone when they arrive at the jobsite. The secretary processing payroll will spend a fraction of the time she normally did with this system. Employees also have to have to be proficient at texting in order for this system to work. The Microsoft Excel document that is . They would select the customer and the task that they were completing. All of this data is then stored to a data base on the phone. They could leave notes as to what specifically they were doing. Last but not least a high tech solution was developed. The company would purchase the smart phone application finarx timesheet for each employee. Each employee phone would be updated with the entire customer database as well as a list of different billable tasks with corresponding wages. Also at the time of the punch GPS coordinates are recorded. The employees do have a new process to follow but will benefit from not having to fill out paper work. The punch out process just simply requires you clock out. This creates the same amount of hassle for the secretary who still has to manually enter each entry into the computer.

The application will cost $119.88 for all twelve employees to . such as a materials fee. Although this solution will be the most expensive to implement it will provide a large benefit in increased productivity and also keep workers accountable. or in whole when the project was finished. The software ideally would be able to integrate with their existing website and customers could access it from where ever they were. After producing three solutions for employee time tracking I shifted my focus to the software issue. A place to upload pictures of progress would also be nice. The last item on their wish list was an option for the customers to pay for the project in increments. The software would provide a calendar that would keep customers up to date on the progress of the project as well as upcoming milestones and deadlines. The software would also have a communication tool so they could communicate with the customer about topics relevant to the project.exported from each employees phone is easy to import into the QuickBooks accounting software. Recommendations From the information that I have gathered from the company and its method of operation I would recommend the high tech solution for employee time tracking. This will require the activation of 6 android cell phones on the company plan which adds an additional $90 a month to the wireless bill. They also wanted an area where documents could be shared such as contracts and project drawings. I also created a process for the secretary to import the information into QuickBooks so the process went as smoothly as possible and it was repeatable if she was not preset the day payroll needed to be processed. The phones are free with the contract.

All workers will be able to access the site from their smart phones to make changes immediate changes if need be. Activation fees are free on a corporate account. This solution will nicely integrate into the existing technology that the company uses. To put that in perspective each employee would have to trim just 6 minutes a week for this system to pay off. 1. It truly is the best solution out there for K&M Home Enhancements. The service is relatively low cost and has a tiered payment plan so the more you use the system the more you pay. Presenting and describing my work was a lot harder over the phone without the use of visual aids. Katz and C. Email communication is also very time consuming when you are trying to gain a large amount of . In regards to a customer interface software solution I would recommend the Builder Trend solution. I did have some communication issues. To recuperate the recurring cost.purchase the application.88 and each year after that is $1080. Knowing real cost for each individual project will help with competitive bids on large projects. This solution provides complementary goods to the customer which can make up for having a smaller installed base of customers. The customer will also be able to access their account from anywhere they can gain access to the internet. The first year cost is $1199.4 hours of work would need to be saved per week at a rate of $15/hr. This solution is hosted by Builder Trend so there are no worries about software upgrades or any problems with instillation or compatibility. The employees who already have smartphones will just need to purchase the application.(M. I would recommend choosing a client that you can meet with in person and also schedule a weekly meeting time. Shapiro) For students looking to replicate a project of similar stature I have some words of advice.

I made commitments to the company that I plan on following through with. I sacrificed my free time to fulfill commitments to finish a project on time.information about a company. Being able to experience what the company does is worth more than you think. Doing an project as an individual is a challenging task but it is also very rewarding. . The other point of advice is making sure that you do not take on too much responsibility than you can handle. I did not have the support of other team members.

pp. 11th Edition. August 28). and D. Dave. John Martin. pp. Pearson Education. 84-94. W. M. no. 199-221. (2008) Strategic Management of Technological Innovation. John Kensinger.” Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 8. . “Do Straegic Alliances Create Value?” Journal of Financial Economics 46 (1997). Heely. Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities. Covin. Philip. Strategy and Performance. and M.bni. 2011. 1 (1993). Marketing Management. 2011. Retrieved May 8th. M. “The relationship between Enviromental Dynamism and Small Firm Structure. Arthur Keown. (2011). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin Su Han Chan. Handyman Franchisee also a Customer. About BNI. J.” Journal of Political Economy 94 (1986). J.aspx M. B. Mr. http://www. No Author.php?id=2987 Kotler. pp 822-41. Katz and C. Miles.franchisewire. G. Shapiro.Works Cited Kelly. Schilling. http://www. Retrieved May 5. (2008.

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