With several different IT systems that didn't meet their needs (or communicate with each other), TAG Scaffolding needed a complete custom solution that fit their business. The problem: They didn't have the skills in-house to build a custom solution and the costs to use outside developers was far above their budget. After looking for software solutions that fit their budget and let them create custom web applications using their existing skills, they soon found the m-Power Development Platform. Read this case study to learn how m-Power helped TAG Scaffolding deliver custom solutions that perfectly fit their business.
Built custom web applications that replaced several existing software packages, eliminating the recurring monthly fees for each.
Created all of their applications using their current staff and skills, avoiding the need to outsource the work to outside developers.
Delivered custom applications that work the way they need, saving time and helping them operate more efficiently.
I have been surprised at the ease of use, m-Power was easy to pick up and offers a simple to use interface. You can go from zero knowledge to producing professional applications in a very short time. It is easy to create business applications with m-Power - If I can do it, anyone can!
Full Case Study
Who is TAG Scaffolding
TAG are a small to medium sized scaffolding company based on the Wirral in the United Kingdom, employing 25 scaffolders and 6 Managers/ Office staff, operating in the sectors of industrial access and special projects. They found that the standard packages they’d installed didn’t deliver everything they wanted and found they could integrate these systems and build exactly what they wanted themselves - using m-Power.
TAG Scaffolding had invested in good core business systems but wanted to reduce paperwork further and enable mobile staff with better systems: "Our work is based around Health & Safety and we need to have fast easy to use systems, that everyone can access from wherever they are," explains Jon McHale, Managing Director at TAG Scaffolding. "We use several different IT systems to manage HR, Accounts, Estimating, Inspections and CRM, each working independently and with their own substantial costs. Each system requires its own input and doesn’t communicate with the others, even though most of the information is duplicated throughout – this led me to search for an application that could cover all the bases. It quickly became apparent that such a package didn’t exist and I saw this as a critical element to the running and growing of our business."
McHale explored various options: "My first point of call was to approach software developers, but the costs were £250,000.00 for a first draft and not even a completed application. This was way out of my budget so I widened my search looking for a package that could be modified without the need for programmers. However every package was limited by user licences and also they held control of our data which, as it’s business critical, I didn’t want to introduce that risk."
I have no formal IT training and although I do have limited experience with basic computer systems, you would have thought that I was far from qualified or able to create my own web application from scratch...
While searching for a solution, McHale discovered the m-Power Development Platform. "I came across m-Power, saw a presentation and it covered everything I hoped to accomplish from a bespoke system but could all be created by me," explains McHale. "I have no formal IT training and although I do have limited experience with basic computer systems, you would have thought that I was far from qualified or able to create my own web application from scratch..."
"When we signed up with m-Power I had 2 days training which was expertly provided by Craig Trickett of MRC at our premises. I have to say, on day 1 I was a complete novice, but by the end of 2 days well-presented training I was able to use the m-Power package properly, I could create professional fully functioning applications in minutes which is exactly what I was looking for. The training was structured and easy to understand and Craig was very patient considering my initial lack of knowledge."
McHale then wasted no time to get on with writing the applications he needed at TAG. So far, he's created a wide variety of solutions:
“To help address a range of issues I wanted to create a mobile application for employees working on site," he says. "Using the system I’ve written using m-Power staff can now access their own training certificates and cards. This enables them to be approved by clients on site without the need for originals or copies being sent from the office. This immediacy alone represents a substantial cost saving in both time and money. Not to mention the cost of replacing lost documents after sending out originals.”
“Time sheets, the current system was handwritten time sheets, which then needed to be confirmed by admin in the office. This took 1 full day each week allocated solely for this task. Creating a digital time sheet on the mobile which links to the handover information structures the captured data and confirm against valid job information. Although office approval is still be required the process is much faster and can be completed in 2 hours instead of all day. Also because the captured information is linked into the online system the chances of missed jobs also becomes difficult saving even more money.”
“Our old system for clocking on and off was difficult to use and although it had biometric security to log in or out it didn’t work if a team worked late and the office was closed. It also only captured basic information. I wanted it to ask several basic yes/no questions re PPE equipment and staff health, including Covid-related questions. This system has improved our process and at the same time has reduced the paperwork and time-consuming admin. We can now keep track, identifying by employee or project any instances of bad time keeping or attendance. This information enables us to improve performance, address issues, deliver a better service to our customers and achieve a substantial cost saving.”
Scaffold Management and Handover
“Scaffold handover is now carried out via the system. The customer confirms acceptance of the scaffold on screen, it will log the time and date along with the signature of the client representative. After this any further works will be chargeable, and the hire period will also start at this point. Properly managed, we can use this information to generate thousands in extra revenue through additional charges and extra hire. Another saving is that the previous IT system cost £3000.00 to set up and £300.00 per month up to 10 users.”
“Each scaffold requires a weekly inspection by a competent person. Our current IT system costs £290.00 per month, is difficult to use and does not link into the same data as the Handover information. Adding this to the m-Power application is another saving for our business.”
This information can be used to generate thousands in extra revenue through additional charges and extra hire. The previous IT system cost £3000.00 to set up and £300.00 per month up to 10 users.
“Another area of improvement is tracking staff holidays. The application now allows employees to book holidays, keep track of any training already booked and be able to see on a planner which days are booked or available. It sends SMS messages confirming both the holiday request and to confirm or decline the requested dates. Each year it used to take a lot of time to keep track of holiday requests and payroll data to confirm these figures, whereas now we can see it immediately.”
Custom CRM Solution
Having completed the mobile application, McHale has started addressing key processes for office-based staff. He continues: “To support the mobile application, we required a full office application which interacted with the mobile apps. We built a CRM-style solution for estimate logging & tracking, which is used by both office staff and estimators out in the field. I wanted estimators in the field to instantly follow up and cover any local enquiries in their vicinity - customers are now pleasantly shocked by how quickly we respond. Aside from improving our response times, this saves staff time, saves fuel and maximises what an estimator can produce during their shift. It even reduces our carbon footprint.”
“Estimating can then be carried out using information captured at the enquiry stage, saving duplicate data entry. As soon as the estimate is carried out on site an email with the full quotation can be automatically sent straight to the client. Beforehand we used a system called Smart Scaffolder which cost £10k to setup and £1000.00 per year, which was only for office-based staff and wouldn’t communicate with enquiries to ensure we’re tracking all enquiries fully.”
“Once a quotation is accepted, the same information is used to generate invoices, saving effort and ensuring consistency. The current system is £50.00 per month and though it would link into Sage for accounts via CSV files, that is yet another cost saving.”
Customers are now pleasantly shocked by how quickly we respond. Aside from improving our response times, this saves staff time, saves fuel and maximises what an estimator can produce during their shift. It even reduces our carbon footprint.
A True Partnership
“I have been in business for many years and had hundreds of sales reps/ companies offering their services, all with the promise that it would either save money or make my life easier," says McHale. "They all promised that I would be still dealing with the account manager as one point of contact who would be just at the end of the telephone and they all promised that they would be there to help and guide us whenever needed. I have become hardened to the fact that none of these things happen and in fact I expect that they won’t happen.”
“In the case of MRC, I can honestly say it has been a pleasure to deal with them, everything they promised happened. They saved us money, made my life managing the business easier and possibly most importantly I feel like they are right there when needed. Andy Vigrass of MRC has remained our point of contact and even telephones from time to time checking on our progress and making sure I’m okay, which is a first. If I have needed to ask for help, the response is fast and professional, and nothing is too much trouble. I would happily recommend MRC and Andy Vigrass as ethical and conscientious business partners.”
Conclusion – It Isn’t Just The Money
The applications we’ve created using m-power are key to our long-term business development, without it our business processes would be spread over many different systems, each with their own costs and each needing their own data input. However, it isn’t just about the money. We are more efficient and the clients love our unique professional approach to problems.
“The applications we’ve created using m-power are key to our long-term business development, without it our business processes would be spread over many different systems, each with their own costs and each needing their own data input.”
“The cost savings are massive throughout the business, reducing monthly/ yearly app costs and greatly reducing admin costs, freeing office staff to get on with other tasks. However, it isn’t just about the money, we are more efficient and the clients love our unique professional approach to problems as simple as approving employee certification which is now simply in the hands of each employee.”
“I have been surprised at the ease of use, m-Power was easy to pick up and offers a simple to use interface. You can go from zero knowledge to producing professional applications in a very short time. It is easy to turn your hand to creating business applications with m-Power - If I can do it, anyone can”
To learn more about TAG Scaffolding, you can visit their Web site at: https://tag-scaffolding.com/