Monday, August 26, 2013
Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is James Anderson, CEO of Architectural Windows & Doors, a small family run business that supplies and creates “upmarket” windows and doors for residential properties across Queensland and Northern New South Wales. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
At Architectural Windows & Doors we supply and install windows and doors. But we take true pride in the work we do with our customers as design consultants to turn architectural concepts into reality. We’ve been in business in Brisbane for over ten years and employ around 20 staff.
Many parts of Queensland are prone to cyclones and extreme weather so we not only work to find the right look when customising designs, but also the highest safety features. No strangers to disaster ourselves, our store was severely damaged during the Queensland Flood in 2010-2011. And like many small businesses, we felt the heat during the financial crisis, so we are always looking for ways to keep costs down while still delivering the same top quality products and customer service.
Our delivery and installation team are always out on-the-go in meetings with clients, doing installations, or picking up materials at the factory. So having a good workforce management tool to see where our mobile workers are is critical; not only to manage jobs and productivity, but also so we can ensure their safety.
We started using Google Maps Coordinate in September last year. Before that, we used a solution which cost $100 per month per vehicle. Since moving to Google we’ve noticed major productivity and service improvements as well as cost benefits. For a start we’re saving about $400 a month.
The productivity and safety benefits have been big too. Because Google Maps Coordinate integrates mapping, scheduling and job detail functions into the one handset based system, we can create jobs and assign staff based on their locations all in one go. We no longer have to worry about duplicating data either. Our team members can look up client information and update their records seamlessly, eliminating pointless trips back to the office. We were a Google Apps customer for three years before moving to Coordinate, so our email, documents and scheduling apps are also accessible from our phones. This means our team can access everything it needs while on the road.
As Google Maps Coordinate is handset rather than vehicle based, we now also have accurate data on where our guys actually are at any given time. Previously we only knew where they parked their vehicle, which could have been a couple of blocks down the road from a client’s house. This would pose a problem for health and safety. Because our teams always have their phones on them, we now have peace of mind knowing where they are when they’re on the job. And they can turn that function off when they’re not working or heading home for the day.
Additionally, some of our site-staff don’t return to our factory to clock in or out, so Coordinate helps us accurately record their hours worked and ensure they have their required breaks (by using the visibility feature) in the absence of a timecard unit.
Google Maps Coordinate is an ideal solution for an SMB like us. It provides us with a world-class mapping and technology solution and scales for our budget and needs. Small businesses should be able to access the same technology solutions as the big boys and by bringing Google’s mapping technologies to modern smartphones, Google Maps Coordinate does just that.