by Matthew Kemeny
When shopping for a pre-owned car, do you buy certified or used? When you need your taxes done, do you hire a CPA or an accountant? When scrolling Angie’s List for a plumber, you likely look for someone certified with great reviews.
Certification matters. It sets you apart from the field. It proves expertise. At RouteSmart, we offer a certification program for those using our RouteSmart Online solution to show their expertise in the software.
During our most recent episode of Right on Time with RouteSmart, we sat down with Spencer Marker, distribution manager for The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat, a Bay Area Newspaper and a RouteSmart client since 2008. Lindsay Ringgold, RouteSmart client success manager and WalkMe Certified Digital Adoption Solution engineer for the newspaper industry, also joined us.
Marker, and his Press Democrat colleague, Jeff Chavez, are two of the first RouteSmart clients to pass the RouteSmart Online Certified Routing Professional Exam.
Marker worked as a Press Democrat carrier for six months before being promoted to part-time district manager. He’s since ascended to distribution manager, managing home delivery.
“It’s feast or famine,” Marker said, referring to his role at the Press Democrat, a winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the historic California wildfires. “Some days everything goes according to plan. Other days you have seven extra down routes, so you just have to take it day-by-day.”
Currently, the newspaper engaged a contractor that handles distribution for a pair of neighboring counties with about 1,500 subscribers. Marker said he has used RouteSmart Online to help organize the distribution.
“(RouteSmart Online) has been an absolute lifesaver for us in modernizing route structure,” he said. “Some of those routes haven’t changed for 30 years and they’re long overdue. It’s been great for routing projects specifically.”
Marker said he likes the simplicity and effectiveness of using RouteSmart Online.
“I love how easy it is to correctly geocode if you need to, because sometimes the tube delivery is on the other side of the street from the address or it could be a block down,” he said. “That helps a ton. I love that and it’s so easy to do – being able to code streets so you can make sure you’re only delivering on one side of the street if it’s a highway – that kind of thing is very useful.”
Marker’s supervisors encouraged him to take the RouteSmart Online Certification Exam. He signed up for the monthly training webinars hosted by Ringgold and built on his own knowledge and experience using the solution.
Ringgold hosts monthly webinars focused on RouteSmart Online and the HERE Map Creator tool. Using HERE Map Creator, RouteSmart Online users can edit their own maps, noting when roads, routes, places and house numbers change to enhance the accuracy of their routes. Users can also add features to their maps.
Once a client completes the RouteSmart Online and Map Creator webinars, he or she can sign up to take the exam.
“I email them a study guide and the study guide is great because it addresses almost all of the 45 questions on the exam,” Ringgold explained. “And in my webinars, I address a lot of the questions and tell everyone what’s on the exam. So, it’s very beneficial to (participate) in the webinars.”
As a bonus, those who earn their certification receive a $25 credit to the RouteSmart swag store.
“This accomplishment does make Spencer and others in the field stand out because they have this professional certification and it differentiates them from so many other people in a very crowded job market,” Ringgold said.
Even at your own company or organization, it’s a feather in your cap, she explained.
“At quarterly reviews you can bring up (that you’re certified), showing you are well versed in the online platform,” Ringgold said. “It’s a really, really cool accomplishment.”