American Electric, an electrical contractor in Hawaii ranked among the top 100 Solar Contractors, had for the past 60 plus years focused more on industrial and utility customers.
When the solar wave hit the state in 2010, the company found itself dealing with residential customers and competing with very agile customer focused solar companies.
Given the new volume of projects, the team had a difficult time keeping track of orders and installation projects tangled in a web of emails and Excel spreadsheets.
Their customer satisfaction began to quickly deteriorate as teams had to fight daily fires. Rehan Siddiqui, Director of Engineering, knew they needed a new solution — and fast.
He set out to look for a cloud-based and easy-to-deploy solution that could be easily customized to track ordered parts, warehouse statuses, design plans and project schedules.
Rehan looked at Smartsheets but could not find the customized features he needed. He also considered Zoho but found tech support lacking.
“There are plenty of project management apps out there but none are designed or prepared to manage 20 projects a week,” Rehan said. “It’s not about managing a project, it’s about managing a volume of projects.”
Within a short time of using Kintone, he was able to easily navigate the platform and build his first application by importing data from an Excel spreadsheet into Kintone.
After initial success with his Kintone trial, Rehan showed the design team and site auditors how they could view their plans on a mobile device. Saving them a trip to the office so they could spend more time out in the field was a victorious moment for the team.
American Electric then started giving out tablets to electricians and technicians so they could update records from the field
Rehan considered other ways his organization could use Kintone to automate workflows. He created an app to help accountants with invoices and another for submitting and tracking new work orders. More departments were starting to use Kintone on their own without help from an IT team.
“This is a collaboration tool and it’s for everybody,” Rehan said. “People on the sales team, in the field — everyone is using it. Imagine the money you save in terms of operations efficiency that results when information is available to the entire team from anywhere and is always current. And the money you save in terms of not paying for development, deployment and training.”
American Electric now uses Kintone for all their document management needs in addition to coordinating tasks between warehouse staff, electricians, installers and salespeople. And best of all, the company is better equipped to manage a new surge of business.
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