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Mobile apps are increasingly critical tools for an effective workplace—even in a less "digitized" industry, the right app platform can make an immediate impact.
The life force of a construction company is operational efficiency. Accordingly to McKinsey, the construction industry is amongst the least digitalized, and is thus ripe for disruption. However, the role of mobile apps is becoming increasingly important in the construction sector, with contractors using smartphones, tablets and other portable devices to conduct everything from safety observations to quality checks to financial accounting and reporting.
Mobile solutions enable construction companies to improve responsiveness and use data even more intelligently. Whether construction workers are in the field collecting information about pouring concrete or in the yard signing out equipment, apps enable them to record, share and act upon critical data instantly. A plethora of other use cases can be read up here.
One large construction company, Cianbro, had a problem they were solving with clunky binders, where a mobile app could be much more effective. In this blog, I want to tell you how Cianbro boosted its operational efficiency with Telerik Platform by making an innovative B2E mobile app.
But first, let us try to understand the business landscape in which Cianbro operates. Cianbro is one of the largest (40+states) and most diverse open-shop construction and construction management services companies in the U.S. Having being in business for more than 65 years, Cianbro needs to live up to its reputation for completing projects safely, on schedule and on budget.
As part of its digital journey, Cianbro implemented a new Equipment Management Software (EMS) solution, which eventually fell short in terms of its ability to meet their actual business needs, especially pertaining to warehouse management.
The new EMS solution came with a barcode-based inventory management system for keeping track of tools used by employees as they are moved from the warehouse to the jobsite. While this feature worked well for some equipment, it didn’t for some bulk items, such as concrete forms.
As a result, Cianbro had to print binders full of barcodes to scan these bulk items. Employees had to manually flip through these thick books and scan the page to receive items. Clearly, this was not only inefficient, but also very frustrating. The employees needed to focus on doing their job, rather than wasting time on scanning their tools in between jobs. Cianbro recognized the risk of rogue solutions coming up if they didn’t respond to this intelligently. Surely, there was a more efficient way of doing this!
Cianbro looked upon Telerik Platform by Progress to make a mobile app to handle this in a more efficient way. “We wanted to be able to handle multiple mobile devices, while still utilizing a skillset that our development team already possessed, and Telerik Platform gave us that,” said Greg. Having used Telerik solutions successfully for 12 years to deal with .NET development challenges, choosing the Telerik Platform to design and deploy a mobile barcode application was an easy choice for Cianbro.
The results were pretty groundbreaking. After just a couple months in development, Cianbro was able to create a mobile application that enabled users to quickly look up barcodes from the palms of their hands instead of having to page through entire binders. Through the app, the workers could retrieve the item barcode and image of tool by searching for an item name. They then scanned the barcode with the existing EMS scanner. Its noteworthy here that the product image was useful to reduce incorrect item scanning to a minimum.
Looking at the success of the barcode catalog mobile solution, Cianbro opted to use Telerik Platform to rollout other applications. The second solution, an equipment maintenance application, took Cianbro only two weeks to develop.
Now that Cianbro’s developers are more familiar with Telerik Platform, Greg expects even quicker turnaround times in the future. “We’re likely to see about a 50 percent decrease in development time for mobile applications utilizing Telerik Platform, versus developing directly in native Objective-C development languages,” Greg said.
In addition to getting solutions to market faster, one of the reasons Greg went with Telerik Platform by Progress was that he knew from years of experience that he could count on us to keep support costs low. We’re proud of our longstanding reputation for first-class support, and we’re dedicated to the success of our customers and partners.
You can watch the story unfold in multimedia in this video below or read up the case study here.
Gaurav leads Product Marketing for the Enterprise Mobility capability in Progress DigitalFactory, based out of Fremont, CA. Gaurav loves to evangelize world-changing products, loves a challenge and has published Android apps to the Google Play store. In his spare time, Gaurav learns a musical instrument called the Harmonium (origins: France), publishes tutorials on YouTube and organizes private musical get togethers in the Bay area. You can follow Gaurav on Twitter @gvermag.
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