FIRETECH is divided into several departments that perform specific fire protection and engineering services.
FIRETECH’s digital transformation includes an installation and service department, which is responsible for performing periodic inspections of fire protection systems and equipment. It also installs complete fire protection systems such as Fire Alarm Systems in many facilities across Poland.
Another department, which underwent tranformation was the construction department. The department secures installation culverts against fire, which must be recorded (often several hundred in one building!) and create as-built documentation.
This is a very responsible job, in which mistakes are unacceptable – they can affect the safety of all of us.
So every improvement is worth its weight in gold.
At the beginning of the project, FIRETECH employed over 50 people. The company needed more tools (after Google Workspace) to further improve the quality of service and increase employee productivity. Employees were very attached to paper forms of documents, but slowly became convinced of the need for digitization.
Convincing of the need for digitization
SMEs in Poland often do not feel the need for a deeper transformation of work. The arguments of time, cost and profitability need to be shown in black and white and acted upon gradually. So far everything has worked fine, but the potential of new technologies has been overlooked.
Digitization of paper documents
Until now, service technicians and construction workers recorded inspection results and records on printed charts that had to be prepared by the office. In times of pandemics, the very process of handing over the sheets of paper proved to be additionally troublesome. It involved coming to the office and direct contact.
There was no CRM system in place to date to manage customer service and control deadlines. Files related to the facility were stored on Google Drive.
Improve office-to-field communication
Whatsapp-based corporate communication generated a lot of messages and attachments unrelated in any way to the work at the site. Under such conditions, it was easy to forget something.
PROJECT ASSUMPTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
To execute the project successfully, Developico had to consider the following factors: cost and complexity of the new solution.
LOW COST OF THE NEW SOLUTION
The cost of maintaining the system was not to strain the department’s budget – with the budget given, we could forget about the standard software development process.
The office and maintenance staff have Google Workspace licenses, so it makes sense to use it.
AppSheet offers clear pricing. We opted for the AppSheet Core variant, which costs $5 / month / logged-in user
SCALABILITY AND EASE OF UPGRADING
As the customer is just getting to grips with digitalization and digital transformation, ease of development, scalability and ease of producing additional personalized solutions were key. Time was also an important factor. Due to the enormity of the work, the client could not devote several months to the project to plan, test and change.
It was important to keep morale high among frontline employees who would spend as much time as possible with the app. It’s important that employees themselves become fans of No-Code and suggest (or take the matter into their own hands!) creating new apps or automation.
The client already had the Google Workspace package. It was natural to base all the data on Google Sheets.
I suggested using AppSheet – a rapid application development platform that works well with Google Workspace.
A platform for developing applications that are used to collect data, play it back, report on it, and create automation.
Several apps have been developed as part of this project, but the number is growing all the time.
The client uses the pay per user AppSheet Starter model. With the possibility of expansion to AppSheet Core.
The data resides in a Google Sheets, which serves as a relational database.
By using Google Workspace suite tools, customer data is secure, always accessible from any device, and easily scalable.
In the future, as data structures grow, it is possible to move to more advanced Cloud SQL solutions.
Free in the Google Workspace package! Just like Excel in O365!
Google Data Studio (soon)
This is just the beginning of digital transformation.
Data is already ready for you to implement Business Intelligence in your organization using Google Data Studio soon.
The service application aggregates data from performed service reviews and enables the creation of new ones.
You can read the detailed case study here (PL).
By implementing the application, the service department has increased its productivity.
It is able to digitally create:
- Protocols of inspection of hand-held firefighting equipment, testing and inspection of internal hydrant network, inspection of hydrophore set, inspection of carbon monoxide and propane-butane gas detection system in underground garage, inspection of explosive gas detection system in boiler room, inspection of fire doors, technical inspection of emergency evacuation lighting, technical inspection and test of fire power switch, annual inspection of fire alarm system, inspection of gravitational smoke removal system, technical inspection of fire gates, battery testing
- SERVICE REPORT of the emergency arrival to the customer
Reduced consumption of paper documents
- reduced the number of errors due to unclear handwriting
- reduced the amount of time spent creating the protocol to a few minutes
- reduced the number of office visits required service protocols with the customer’s signature are automatically generated and can be easily sent to a remote location
increased competitiveness of the company on the market
- the customer is able to copy and create a personalized inspection application for a specific object; thus, he becomes a promoter of No-Code and AppSheet himself!
- service technicians filling in the form are able to send comments to the office in non-standard situations automatically – the office immediately receives an email with all the information
- data on all systems and devices on particular sites are always available; both current and archival data
The installation application aggregates data on installation works.
It allows to track the inventory of materials and maintain a work log.
With the implementation of the application, the installation department has increased its productivity.
It is able to digitally create
- records of material consumption
- records of working time of installation activities
Structured data on the work and consumption of materials on individual objects
- easier to control deadlines
- easier to plan work
- easier to plan orders
A construction application is designed to:
- collect all information about the investment in one place
- provide convenient service for employees on the construction site
- send automatic reports to the office about the current work in the field
- process the collected data and export them for further processing in specialized programs such as CAD
With the implementation of the application, the construction department has increased its productivity.
It is able to digitally create
- a list of performed fire protection along with photos and required information
- Summary of working time
Structured data on performance and hours of work on individual objects
- Automatic synchronization of data significantly improves communication between employees.
- Digital form eliminates costs of printouts and additional trips to the office.
- The digital form of data significantly streamlines the process of preparing documentation, but also the secondary processes: tracking work progress, eliminating the occurrence of errors, etc.
- The company’s management can easily link the data from the application to its BI report, but the one built in the application is also sufficient
Application for apps + more projects
The success of the apps presented above has motivated employees to find new ways to use apps.
To make it even easier to manage the app ecosystem in the organization, we created a HUB of all projects.
Everyone can easily find their way around the apps created. The apps come with written and video training.
Customer continues to develop current applications
- Provides data to its customers
- Integrates with further Google services
- Purchases new devices for employees
Customer experiments with further use of AppSheet
- IT equipment inventory
- HR records (contracts, examinations, trainings, passes, leaves)
- Car fleet records (inspections, insurance, bumps, failures, mileage)
- Customer quotation calculator
- Internal calculators (e.g. material consumption, etc.)
- Paper document circulation (scan > Excel > approval) [e.g. cost invoices].
The applications introduced have helped expedite customer orders by streamlining workflow.
Records made by the technician are immediately at the office worker, who creates a final report for the customer. This has increased the efficiency of the entire department and increased capacity, which has increased the number of customers served and directly translates into increased profits.
I am glad that I let Wojtek persuade me to start the process of digital transformation. I was skeptical at first, but now I know that this is the only right way not to be left behind.
When introducing the application to our department Wojciech did not have an easy task. The most difficult thing was to overcome our resistance to change something that had been working so far – a piece of paper and a pen.
Personally I was very skeptical about this idea – despite my faith in Wojtek I doubted my ability to use the new application. I also sensed the bad attitude of service technicians.
It turned out that adding last year’s statements to the system takes very little time. The biggest surprise for me was the acceptance from the technicians. After several tests they themselves reported the need for changes and new solutions. Thanks to the changes introduced on an ongoing basis, we can personalize the application to our needs, which allows us to avoid errors in communication.
Personally, I appreciated the application the most when the protocol, which previously took me the whole day, was done in less than an hour – this shows the scale of time and work savings that automation gives.
Ways we can help
Developico can help you with almost everything related to Microsoft Power Platform.
Long term support
Developico Support Services which provides access to a dedicated team of specialists.
We can help you with creating an app or fix the one you already have.
Courses. Workshops. Showing useful and simple tricks to improve the work on applications and helping you to better use your applications.
I have been using Google services since I can remember. It fascinates me how great Google Workspace, AppSheet is and how little we use its potential. I am fighting for 100%!