Sturgeon Electric California Powers Up with Quickbase
As it scaled to take on new projects, Sturgeon Electric needed a better way to manage projects in the field. Ditching spreadsheets and paper for Quickbase allowed the company to deliver almost 5,000 new projects more efficiently and reduce invoicing time by 2 weeks.
- New business opportunity required fast setup of new project management process
- Rapidly evolving requirements too difficult for rigid project management systems
- Need to minimize "paper pushing" from field experts
- Quickbase as a platform for tracking and reporting projects at all stages
- Central repository for easy access to safety documents and other records
- Partner add-ons for even more efficiency in the field
- Instant updates to keep pace with stakeholder requirements
- Rapid response through simplified collaboration and ready access to information
- 15-day improvement in invoice cycle time
- Flexibility to address changing customer needs and special projects
For over 100 years, communities across the western United States have relied on Sturgeon Electric Company, Inc. to keep the power flowing. A leader in power line, commercial, and industrial electrical construction, the company (a subsidiary for MYR Group Inc.) has won numerous awards for safety and project execution excellence.
Three years ago, the company created a new branch to provide high-voltage electrical contracting to a local utility under Southern California Edison. Jesse Guardado, project manager for Sturgeon Electric California (Sturgeon Electric), was called in to set up shop. Guardado knew he needed a system more powerful than the typical spreadsheets-and-paper processes many organizations rely on. He needed a solution that would prioritize speed and minimize manual tasks.
"Our field experts are not in the office pushing paper; they're out there building power lines," says Guardado.
Guardado selected Quickbase on the recommendation of another contractor. Quickbase empowered him to build a custom application that automates project management for a wide range of jobs, including restoring power to wildfire ravaged areas all without writing a line of code or relying on IT.
"I really liked that I could create a user-friendly app that would instantly put actionable information into our field teams' hands to support fast decisions and quality outcomes," says Guardado.
By swapping spreadsheets and paper-based processes for online dashboards customized by role, interactive color-coded calendars, automatic alerts and notifications, metrics reporting that doesn't take all day, and easy access to safety documents, Quickbase helps Sturgeon Electric streamline every job.
MCF Technology Solutions, a Quickbase Solutions Provider, has added even more functionality with a number of solutions including a multi-picture, multi-file uploader that simplifies submission of signed safety briefings, time sheets, and other documentation from the field.
"With Quickbase we can drive greater visibility across every data point and higher efficiency across every project," says Guardado. "And with the flexibility to quickly add, delete, or change fields, we can easily accommodate different customer monitoring requirements on a job-by-job basis."
Sturgeon Electric's Quickbase project management app has helped the subsidiary fast-track 4,488 large and small jobs since 2015. Those in the field take pride in the fact that Quickbase gives them a modern, more informed, and more efficient way to work. Today it's easier than ever to quickly mobilize and manage crews and equipment for a planned project, an unexpected outage, or even restoration work in wildfire damaged areas.
"Quickbase has given us a fast and easy way to collaborate and share data on the job, says Guardado. "For example, the general foreman can easily coordinate where crews and equipment need to go and when from his phone or tablet. And a superintendent can type in a work order number and instantly get a job status for a customer; no more chasing down updates with emails."
Ready access to process information in the finance department has also made a big difference in invoicing speed. Quickbase's expanded use there has enabled the staff to quickly spot and correct bottlenecks that have turned a 41 day process into one that now takes only 26. This has had a significant and positive impact on the branch's billing and reimbursement cycle.
Being able to take on new projects and priorities in a fast and flexible manner is another way that Quickbase helps Sturgeon Electric stand out as a valued contractor. And it is succeeding in helping the local utility under Southern California Edison meet and exceed the needs and expectations of all involved, from The Public Utilities Commission, to shareholders, to the bill-paying customer.
"With all that it can do, Quickbase has become the most useful and versatile tool in our toolbox," concludes Guardado.