Most businesses have realized the imperative for digital evolution: even a roofing company is not sheltered from the digital forces of change. However, few realize how fast the revolution needs to happen, or how transformational it needs to be.
My company, one of the largest roofing contractors in the US, was ripe for digital disruption. While the sector has been slow to adopt process innovations, there is a persistent challenge of fixing the basics. Eliminating uncoordinated project planning, weak performance unsophisticated supply-chain processes and enhancing worker safety was critical for a sustainable competitive advantage. There was a dire need for us to embrace new technologies and that needed immediate investment.
"We needed to have a robust digital, mobile and cloud-based operation that will allow us to experience the benefits of a seamless, instantaneous, anytime and anywhere access to data and information. After careful consideration and research, the company decided to partner with HokuApps (www.hokuapps.com), a technology platform that lets businesses build technology solutions incredibly fast.”
Architecting a digital solution:
A smart-phone friendly Field Service App was developed to provide consistent access with a refined interface and targeted workflow, regardless of connectivity. The app offered us mobile timekeeping, real-time cost coding, geolocation of workers, and issue logging and tracking. As frontline users of this app our project managers and foremen, could change the way the company inspects time and material tracking, security breaches, productivity measurement, and incident reporting. We were able to reduce the wait time and facilitate real-time collaboration to connect engineers across all levels of the organization.
From paper to digital:
Process digitization meant capturing data that paper could not. Our newly developed app allowed us to move away from paper, ensuring a cloud-based, mobile-enabled field-supervision platform.
Thanks to the availability of low-cost mobile connectivity, real-time sharing of information was possible ensuring transparency and collaboration, timely progress and risk assessment, quality control, and, eventually, better and more reliable outcomes, even at remote project sites. Besides, to encourage usage we had ensured that simplicity and “foreman friendliness” was built into the app design.
Assimilating the disruption:
Clearing many hurdles and pulling out all stops, the project was a resounding success! As the CEO of the company, I had a unique vantage point of viewing the unfolding of this innovation story:
• Whether it is adopting a new software for one department or designing a new portal for customers, it is common for companies to pursue a hodgepodge of incremental innovation. It was crucial for my top management to convey the necessity of the digital change and its effects on the organizational capabilities. We found it essential to hold a wide-ranging series of conversations with our employees and get their buy-in for a successful digital integration.
• Design and development followed the consultation and requirements gathering process. There were mockups, initial builds and testing that needed to be done to identify, assess and anticipate potential problems and technical glitches to achieve a level of stability and comfort.
• In a company such as ours where the employees’ level of education and comfort with technology vary from skimpy to substantial exposure, careful consideration was made to ensure that the learning process was easy to comprehend. There was an abundance of support, encouragement and reinforcement to ensure that our employees achieved a level of competency to succeed in their jobs.
• At the end of perhaps a long and arduous adoption and transformation process, we felt that it was important for our employees to catch their breath and celebrate their accomplishments.
Not every digital initiative will work for every organization. Capability and capacity assessment is crucial before executing a digital strategy. We believe that the more holistic the initiative, the greater the chance of success. Hence it is imperative to get a head start and learn while there is still time.
About Roofing Southwest:
Roofing Southwest is the nation’s 16th largest roofing company, according to the Roofing Contractor publication. Our company’s annual total revenue breached the $50-million mark in 2016 with 90% coming from commercial establishments and 10% from residential customers. As a leading national roofing contractor, Roofing Southwest serves residential (AZ and NV only) commercial, industrial, retail and multi-family clients across the continental US Southwest (Southern California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona). In operation since 1971, the company’s expertise includes all types of roofing systems ranging from the original specification for sprayed polyurethane foam to the latest in single-ply, solar and green technologies. The company offers free evaluation as well as a 24-hour emergency roof repair service. https://www.roofingsouthwest.com.