Keilir Golf Club is a 27 hole course located in Hafnafjordur in the capital area of Reykjavik, Iceland. On top of maintaining the course, we also maintain the municipalities’ football pitches and do a lot of contractor work for other sport facilities, such as aeration and grinding. The operation is thus spread out over a large area, making communications between management and green staff sometimes more difficult than on your normal 18 hole.
I needed to be able to communicate jobs to guys that perhaps couldn’t be interrupted when I wanted to communicate. And to make matters worse, I was perhaps in a meeting when they had finished their job halfway across town and I needed them to do another job in the same location. A trip back to the maintenance building to view an old school black board would have been a waste of time. A text message could have worked, but sometimes substantial details were needed to fill the guys in on a job.
It was clear, I need to be able to put information onto a web based app that my staff could see whenever and wherever. The solution I found was Trello.
Trello is a job board app that runs on a web browser or in an app on your smartphone/tablet. It costs nothing to use, unless you want more complex access to the program. You can create as many boards as you want, and you can create an organization and assign boards to that Organization. You then add staff members (who individually create their account) to that organization, and that makes it easy to find your staff to assign them to a specific board. Once assigned to a board, you select them from a list (with their picture on it for quick identification) and can drag and drop them to a specific job. You can assign every staff member you have to a single job. The staff members can see the board on their smartphone or the TV screen in the staff room.
Within each board you have an endless amount of lists. A list can be e.g. a “doing list” or “next job list”. On each list you can then add as many cards as you can. Each card can be a specific job. So for example, you have “mow greens card” on the “doing list” and you assign John Smith to that job. Mr. Smith gets a notification on his smartphone telling him he has been assigned to a job. Once Mr. Smith has done his job, he drags and drops his “mow greens card” to the “done list” and looks into the “next job list” for his next assignment. This is the simple way to use Trello.
The beauty about Trello is the simplicity and flexibility. The flexibility starts with what you can do within each card. There you can create endless checklists or comments. We for example walk mow greens in sections. That means you have pre-assigned routs and extra jobs, such as tee setup, fill ball washers, blow certain areas etc. These jobs don’t change much from day to day. To address this I made a “routine jobs list”. Now “mowing greens rout 1” card is always moved back to the routine jobs list once that job is done. The card contains all the information a staff member needs, e.g. cutting heights, mowing direction, what tools/equipment he needs to perform the job. All in a checklist form so he can check off all the jobs as the job progresses. I can monitor this in my phone in real time, so I can see how the day is progressing and react if we are slowing down for whatever reason.
Another very strong feature built into the cards is the ability to take pictures on your phone and assign them to a card (you can attach anything to the card, not only pictures). On our main board we have a “the good, the bad and the ugly” list where we can upload pictures of the best raked bunker or an area that needs attention or a better workmanship. The pictures can also be a great way to point directly to a location for a quick fix.
On our main job board we have the following lists:
- Next Job
- Routine jobs
- The good, the bad and the ugly
- Miscellaneous jobs
- Upcoming events
The first three lists are self-explanatory. The routine jobs list contain anything from changing cubs, to fairway mowing and rolling greens. All jobs we don’t like to constantly be recreating a card for. The Miscellaneous jobs list contains jobs that we don’t have to do right now, but something we would like to attend to in the near future. This is a great list for those small jobs you notice as you drive around the course. Take a picture, describe what needs done and to make sure you do the job, make a deadline date for the job to be done by. Now you see the job in your Trello calendar (you need to enable the calendar feature, one button and you are there). All this takes less than a minute and off you go on your inspection route. The Miscellaneous jobs list is a great source for the “next job” list. Once the staff is out on their first job, look through the list and simply drag and drop a card to the next job list and assign a staff member to the job.
The upcoming events lists is where we have information on anything that is important to the staff, for example the next staff BBQ or the next shotgun start. The weekend list shows who is working next weekend and then lists their jobs and start times. So if we have a very early start, the staff will all see it. No more “I didn’t know it was 04:00 start today” excuses.
We run a number of boards. We have the main job board, grinding board, mechanic board, irrigation board, contractor work board and then I have my own personal board. Members of the organization that need to see a board will have access to it. So the grinding board is only visible to those who can actually work the grinders.
On the grinding board we have a list of all the units that are in at a given moment and their progress. So if a club drops off 20 units for grinding, we create a card with a checklist with the 20 units and 20 bottom blades. If units are in the grinding room, they go to the “doing list”. As the grinding progresses the units get ticked off in the check box list. If I get an e-mail/phone call from the customer asking when his units are expected to be done, I can tell him exactly how we are getting on… even if I’m on a conference in Singapore (I wish). We even color code each card to quickly identify if we are waiting for parts, if the units are with the mechanic for e.g. bearing replacement, or if the units are prepped and ready for grinding. The problem is further described within the card’s comments section. The color coding helps us priorities the grinding operation. If customer is unhappy about anything, we have a complete list of how the job progressed. That sometimes helps answer questions which otherwise we perhaps would have had to dig deeper for answers.
So if you are looking for a digital job board, or are already using google drive with a spread sheet but find it limited, I suggest you have a look at Trello. It has streamlined my operation and made communications a whole lot easier. The staff likes it too and it was quickly adopted by all.