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Modern Contractor Solutions September 2014 : Page 36

SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS U tilizing M obile t echnology for e fficiency and P rofit By Paul J. DelFino I t is easy to be overwhelmed by the tsunami of technology being pushed on us daily. Business is perpetually challenged to: leverage it, make it work, and to get it accepted by customers and employees alike. Odds are you have lived or viewed failures. That is, new programs or tech-based processes tried that inevitably were abandoned because they, in the end, did not pay off in ROI. The root cause of these failures is often unreasonable complexity for the user or limited interface with other enterprise systems. Those are the tech answers. The pragmatic real answers are they did not save enough people time, did not make enough jobs easier, or did not help sell more work. I have watched contractors and other businesses try too hard to deploy the fast developing mobile technology. App stores are exploding with software solutions that do anything and everything short of scheduling bathroom breaks for staff and crews. Mature firms with complexity with existing core systems struggle with download shrink-wrap solutions. Firms are often uncomfortable approaching developers for customized solutions for fear of exploding costs or lack of understanding of their business by developers. In my travels consulting with and evaluating businesses, I have recently identified two ideal examples of the development and deployment of mobile technology which can serve as models. These examples should provide hope to all and motivate risk taking in development. CONSTRUCTION CREW MANAGEMENT APP Dashboard contains project summaries and reports for easy access and updating. Company: CTECAG Business: Silo Repair, Millwright, Design Build Construction, Waterproofing, Painting Serving: National AG Enterprises, Cooperatives, Ports App Developer: Logical Engine CTECAG management deploys 15 decentralized crews across the U.S. and Canada daily. Communication and reporting with crew superintendents/foreman was a growing challenge. The vision was equipping all superintendents/ foreman with tablets where daily reporting and communication with the main office could be facilitated. Each morning and end of day, at minimum, superintendents/foreman log into a cloud-based system to complete a morning work plan outline and an end-of-day report. The app automatically compiles a customized summary report of all projects based on the daily input for project managers, the vice president of operations, and ownership by noon each day. Other features and benefits: • Maintains tracking of employee hours and interfaces with payroll. • Monitors equipment utilization and assists in scheduling maintenance needs. • Prompts mandatory DAILY Safety activities and completes safety reporting requirements. • Monitors raw material use daily and facilitates automated ordering. • Maintains photo records of job progress daily. • Has an ALERT feature where superintendents can log in to report any special occurrence/ incident to the project manager, the vice president of operations, or ownership. Beyond the obvious efficiencies and improved communication, CTECAG has enjoyed the capability of forwarding reports and photos, as desired, to various oversight management levels of their customers. ABOUT THE AUTHOR 36 Paul DelFino is a principal of the consulting firm Opportunity Inc. For nearly two decades, he has assisted entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, responding to economic downturns, and merger and acquisition activity. His publications include “Avoiding Skewed Entrepreneurial Strategies” available from all online booksellers. Visit to learn more. | SEPTEMBER 2014

Utilizing Mobile Technology for Efficiency and Profit

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