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CASE STUDY

Helping Peak reach peak performance

An end-to-end solution that integrated with existing systems, lowered cost of acquisition through an efficient quotation process and simplified documentation. We call it the Badass Money Maker!

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Client

Peak Scaffold Limited is a Calgary-based scaffolding, installation services, equipment rental and sales company. While the company may be new, the staff provides combined experience of over 50 years in the industry. Peak is a full-service company that provides services ranging from all round scaffolding and debris netting to stair towers, and platforms and chutes.

summary

From excel to excellent!

Peak Scaffold ran a lot of their business using a third-party scaffold design software and Excel spreadsheets. The two tools, however, had no integration whatsoever, and it made everything from the quotation process to on-site optimization a lot more tedious and a time-consuming process.

For any company in the growth phase, scalability becomes a hot topic, especially if a lot of the data and processes reside in spreadsheets. It restricts timely access and makes the whole process dependent on the individual that hosts the file.

Early conversations focused on creating an end-to-end solution that integrates with the third-party design software, generates quotations, follows an approval process, and then moves into job execution and operations, before hitting invoicing.

The application was able to automate the quotation and estimation process, including integrating with the third-party scaffold design software for extraction of the requirements. Once approved, the quotation was converted into a job and then operations took over.

On the field, an iPad app made it simpler for the foreman to document the operations, which in turn helped the management with reliable, real-time data. The on-site employees were able to fill in their timesheets, removing another layer of paperwork.

Almost like creating a scaffolding that helps create better operational performance. Hmmm...

Two tablets displaying the app

pain

When spreadsheets just don't cut it

According to industry estimates, scaffolding can be up to 30 percent of the total budget of major construction projects¹. It's only understandable then that the industry is looking at automating and optimizing a lot of the on-field processes and operations.

In the case of Peak Scaffold, what started off as a discovery conversation around field operations optimization, quickly evolved into a renewed focus on simplifying quotations and estimations, operations management and invoicing processes.

While the use of a third-party scaffold design software allowed Peak to create an accurate scope of job and equipment requirements, transforming that information into a quote took hours and often introduced errors due to manual input from one program to another.

Spreadsheets have evolved from initial iterations with options like Pivot tables and VLOOKUPs but are still no match for automated processes.

Handing all that information to the operations team in a manual process, with even more paperwork, wasn't the best use of time or even good for reliable data.

The efficiency brought in by The Badass Money Maker allowed for a quicker and more client-centric turnaround. It allowed Peak to focus on growth and strategic decisions, rather than spending hours on quotations.

Robbie Butchart

CRO @ Launchcode

vision

A quotation tool that also helps with documentation

Peak was using a third-party scaffold design tool to great effectiveness. The solution Launchcode built had to be integrated to simplify the quotation and estimation process to start with.

The ideal solution would also automate certain documentation processes, while providing access to the same for the on-field personnel.

The foreman's application also had to be compatible with iOS mobile devices, while employees needed to have access to a timesheet solution.

An all-in-one know-it-all that does it all.

tech

The rules of the game

Given the scope of the project, React was best suited to create a web-based environment with all the functionalities.

Launchcode developers then used Electron JS framework to create cross-platform compatibility for the apps.

A desktop computer displaying the app

journey

In the quest for an all-rounder

The Dream Meeting made it clear that Peak Scaffold wanted to continue using the scaffold design tool, given the clear planning and requirement visibility it gave them.

The Launchcode developers, consequently, considered options to integrate the tool into the custom management system. Soon, they gave Peak an option to import the specifications and requirements from the design tool into the new system.

The imported Bill of Materials list, which included all the equipment right from shafts and chutes to nuts and bolts, made it simpler to generate estimates and quotes, with no manual input required.

The tool also gave Peak options to create quotes from templates, past quotations, and custom rates.

The quotation generated in the estimation module was then used to create a sales proposal document using a template.

Post approval of the quote, the entire file then moved to the operations side, handing over a comprehensive list and requirements, plus the job details.

The preliminary idea about on-field optimization found its way back to the drawing board and emerged as a foreman’s app on an iOS-powered mobile device.

However, instead of a personnel tracking solution, the solution was designed to automate a lot of the documentation, access to related drawings, paperwork and related materials. This facilitated keeping track of materials and equipment, and reliable operational data.

The platform also integrated with Dropbox, allowing employees to have their timesheets saved automatically in the file hosting service.

A tablet view of the jobs list

ux/ui

What you see is what you get

The quotation app had to be simpler than the cumbersome manual process that Peak was using. The developers worked on making an intuitive tool within the quotations solution that would involve a simple import of the Bill of Materials PDF from the third-party scaffold design tool. From being able to search for past quotations and using templates, to simple 'Edit' and 'Export' options, with visibility on past jobs, applicable discounts, etc., the solution gave intuitive access to the user.

Functions like quotes (past, drafts, templates), companies (clients) and parts (equipment inventory) were on hand throughout the quotations process on the left-hand vertical bar, along with the admin settings and logout options.

The foreman's app particularly commanded a simple interface because of its use in a field environment. Simple intuitive buttons and forms were key to ensure quick input of mandatory details from the personnel in charge of the task. It also allowed the foreman to fill in timesheets of the crew members and make changes, before submitting it to the administration.

results

The money maker is here!

Everyone, say hello to Scaffold Management Platform. In some circles (read at Launchcode), it has also been referred to as Peak's Badass Money Maker.

The almost end-to-end operational tool simplifies processes - from quotations to documentation - and helps the management strategize optimization, without compromising personnel safety.

The solution helped reduce dependencies on one person, who hosted spreadsheets to facilitate the quotation process, and allowed for business continuity.

The solution helped reduce any sort of on-site downtime that used to occur due to absence of appropriate safety forms during surprise HSE (health, safety and environment) inspections and audits. Now, when an estimate was converted into a job, the system would auto generate form and gave access to the foreman.

The automation allowed for business scalability, now with clear processes and reliable data in place.

The consolidation and process automation features built into the system have made our daily workflow exceptionally more efficient.

Mike Westhaver

Operations Manager @ Peak Scaffold

response

Clients love us!

The Launchcode-built solution reduced quotation and estimation processing times by more than 95 percent. The quotation process used to take almost three hours, which was then brought down to a matter of minutes courtesy of an integration with the design software and an intuitive interface.

Consequently, the cost of acquisition, bearing in mind the personnel cost for estimation and quotation, also went down by 82 percent.

The tool's efficiency meant that Peak Scaffold now had the notional ability to bid for 25 times more jobs than before, facilitating scalability, reduced turnaround times and proactive customer service.

The foreman's app reduced compliance documentation time by more than 50 percent at the minimum through automation.

next steps

At Launchcode, innovation does not stop!

Launchcode continues to support the Peak Scaffold solution through hosting services and a support model. The solution was built to support future development as and when the need arises. From a comprehensive data analytics portal and automation of invoicing to personnel management.

The analytics portal could be used to create a live dashboard that would give management insight into day-to-day operations.

To bring all of it together, a Management Portal could be created. This would give users the ability to centralize a lot of the operations. From controlling basic user permissions and system settings, it would help in inventory management, to set up notifications and alerts, and follow up on proposals.

According to the proof of concept for the feature, a colorful Tiles and Icon mosaic would have made the platform self-explanatory and easy to use. Like we said earlier, it is almost like creating a scaffolding that helps create better operational performance.

Citations

1“Investing in Tech”. Access Canada, the official publication of Scaffold Industry Association of Canada, Spring/Summer 2021, Page 16. Accessed 14 June 2022.

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