Discovering the power of integration, automation, and customization
Vertical-One may be an unfamiliar name to the average consumer, but this company is responsible for ensuring cell phone users in the Southern U.S. maintain a strong, wireless connection via tower construction, modifications, upgrades, and maintenance. Partnering with the largest names in the telecommunications industry, Vertical-One occupies a crucial niche in the construction industry.
Completing complex projects like the construction of wireless infrastructure takes more than just work crews. Project management systems must be in place to keep projects on track. The systems behind these builds are the priority of Thomas Christianson, Business Development and IT Manager at Vertical-One Communications. Thomas keeps all departments running smoothly by equipping construction managers, project managers and all other team members with the right tools and software utilities to do their jobs productively.
With many short-term, simultaneous projects to manage and with multiple departments involved in each one, Vertical-One needed a low-code platform that allowed different teams to access project data in one place.
Within months of using Quickbase, Vertical-One recognized how much more efficient their processes can be, thanks to their newfound ability to customize apps, set up automation between processes, and connect disparate systems.
Before Quickbase, Vertical-One grappled with disorganized operational management
Prior to adopting Quickbase, Vertical-One was using another construction management software, but it was too inflexible and poorly suited for their project pace. With projects sometimes taking less than a week to turn around, they required something more dynamic. Because of this inflexibility, Vertical-One had to turn to spreadsheets to supplement their existing platform. This brought its own brand of confusion and delay. This lack of a collaborative platform created challenges for the financial and project management teams because of a lack of access to project statuses, which meant progress stalled every time somebody went on leave.
"We wanted to be able to quickly go into a project, check its status, and be able to schedule where all the different crews need to be. We just knew that there had to be something better out there that could handle all of our project management tasks and financial information,” said Thomas.
Thomas and team realized they needed an improved dynamic project management system that could also consolidate their data into a single source of truth. This was the catalyst for Vertical-One to seek a solution like Quickbase.
Bridging the gaps between disparate spreadsheets and departments with Quickbase
Thomas and his team needed a low-code tool that would give them the ability to build a custom solution fit for Vertical-One. With Quickbase, Thomas helped to build an operations app that serves as Vertical One’s single source of truth—a complete project management solution that contains all the information necessary to bring a tower project from planning to final inspection.
Most importantly, it’s a place where every team can track project information and data without having to wait for a colleague to share access to a document or send a specific Excel sheet through email. All data big and small—from the tower owner’s information to contracts, permits, calendar schedules, expense reports, revenue forecasts, purchase order forms, and invoice requests—can be found here. This empowers Vertical-One to streamline the construction process for every ongoing project and bolsters the company’s ability to take on more builds while maintaining efficiency and quality. In addition to connecting team members, the operations app makes it possible to set up triggers for automating requests from vendors such as purchase orders and invoices.
Thomas and the team at Vertical-One have been building out their Quickbase apps and integrations for the past year on top of their day-to-day tasks. With everybody now on board with adopting the new tech, Thomas says, “It’s been phenomenal how we’ve just been able to relate everything.”
In addition to the operations app, Thomas and his team have built an entire application ecosystem to help run their business and reduce time spent on time-consuming administrative tasks. Applications like their safety management application streamline critical processes on the job site while also keeping crews safe and sites compliant. Vertical-One’s safety management app allows project managers to track certifications, job duties, and hazard analysis forms—available online and in real-time.
This app enables Vertical-One’s team to automate the hazard analysis form via a PDF document and send it directly to the foreman. This circumvents the need for manual paperwork that can take hours to complete, send, approve, then send back, saving the field team at least 10 minutes every time they set foot on site. It is sent directly to team members’ emails, too, should there be any surprise audits by OSHA.
Quickbase has a direct impact on business ROI and company efficiency
Thomas loves to share how Quickbase has positively impacted the project management and financial team at Vertical-One. In particular, he breaks down how the operations app has made projected cost analysis easier and faster for everyone involved.
The project team is responsible for calculating critical financial figures for a project. Before Quickbase, everything was done on spreadsheets, sent to another team for approval, then sent back before any work could begin.
According to Thomas, this analysis would take hours or even days, but with automatic calculations integrated into the operations app, it now takes just 15 to 20 minutes every time. Valuable financial insights are now available at all times without the need to pull out five different spreadsheets to extract the same data.
“It saves our team countless hours trying to figure out if these projects will be profitable for us,” says Thomas of the automatic profit forecasting they built into their Quickbase app.
Pushing the envelope with Quickbase
Vertical-One’s growth and innovation in its telecommunications construction niche is a testament to not only their excellent work, but the vision of technical leaders in their business. While other industries may have dedicated platforms built for operations, Thomas Christianson and his team found a solution to custom build to the way they work and improve their business. What started as a way to address the lack of access to spreadsheets when team members were out of office evolved into an all-encompassing technological transformation via their Quickbase operations app. The work of Thomas Christianson and his team continues, empowering every team to work faster and put in only value-added work, instead of getting bogged down by spreadsheets and paper-based procedures.