Utilities companies and electrical contractors prioritize safety and efficiency in order to keep people’s homes and businesses powered. Often, these companies use paper-based systems for recording safety inspections, processing work orders, and other tasks. Field teams are often disconnected from their home offices due to delayed communication and inefficient record-keeping.
ARC American, a subsidiary of C. A. Advanced Inc., an electrical utility contractor operating in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, was living these challenges as it continues to expand. While electrical construction and storm restoration are the company’s specialties, it subcontracts with electrical and energy operations to ensure quick recovery services so that customers aren’t left without power after severe storms disrupt their lives.
“We handle a lot of storm restoration, we go to restore the power, fix broken poles and more,” says Terri Bryan, accounts manager at ARC American.
“As the company grew and we opened new offices, information was being lost in the transition. We had to either fax or scan-and-email because all of the forms were filled out on paper, and sometimes they were not very legible,” adds Cesar Leon, systems administrator for ARC American.
In order to consistently collaborate with field operatives, the company embraced digital transformation and automation, which made a major impact on work culture. They started reforming their Unit Sheets intake process, identifying the need to centralize all work order documentation and make processing payroll more efficient. To do this, Bryan turned to Smartsheet and GoFormz Mobile Forms to share the load.
Digital transformation: The path forward
The Smartsheet integration with GoFormz enables ARC American to streamline data collection and increase the accuracy of information. GoFormz is a mobile forms and data capture solution, that teams can use to create identical, digital versions of their paper forms, for use on phones and tablets.
Leveraging the Smartsheet and GoFormz integration, mobile Unit Sheets and work orders can be created pre-filled with Smartsheet data, resulting in fewer errors and faster document completion. This integration also grants ARC American the ability to instantly upload PDFs of completed GoFormz mobile forms to Smartsheet rows — a seamless means of centralizing documentation and project management.
“We get around 36 jobs every day, and we can have up to six forms per job. So there’s a lot of document management and we need those documents to be able to bill,” Cesar says.
Connecting GoFormz and Smartsheet has helped centralize records, simplify billing, and improve accountability. The team is also seeing a cultural shift since critical documents are now received on time and without errors.
“Documents aren’t lost anymore. Any documents pertaining to a specific job are automatically associated with and attached to the job row in Smartsheet.”
—Cesar Leon, Systems Administrator, ARC American
More accurate data through automation
With this integration, data can also flow from Smartsheet to GoFormz mobile forms. “We couldn’t always rely on the guys remembering their job numbers correctly, which is crucial for us to complete and bill the jobs,” Cesar explains.
The ARC American team set up an automated data pipeline between both platforms, which leads to data being captured more accurately and efficiently. This seamless integration gives them confidence in their data, reduces manual data entry, and enables the team to make a bigger impact.
“The job is created in Smartsheet, and after, in GoFormz, they just need to select the job number and it populates the Work Order number, the PO number, the address, the state, and other pieces of information, and displays them accurately."
—Cesar Leon, Systems Administrator, ARC American
Instant access to Smartsheet data while in the field has helped ARC American employees better track time, equipment, and labor expenditures in real-time. “People don’t have to look for the right code for certain equipment, people don’t have to check for spelling … it’s been helping us keep track of information.”
Reinventing repetitive processes
Prior to GoFormz, ARC American relied on eight-page Unit Sheets in order to document the installation of electrical components and infrastructure. This overly complicated process was made worse by their error-prone, paper-based system. From illegible handwriting to the large volume of pages per Unit Sheet, Bryan knew the team needed to digitize the process.
With digital versions of their Unit Sheets that could be instead filled out on tablets, smartphones, and computers, ARC American was able to greatly reduce their reliance on paper, while also simplifying their data collection and review processes.
In addition, ARC American digitized numerous other workflows and corresponding documents, including work orders, time and equipment logs, safety forms, payroll timesheets, and other HR processes. Each GoFormz form has dynamic features and logic, helping teams at ARC American gather requisite information more efficiently and accurately than ever before. Through GoFormz DataSources, form fields can be automatically filled, which reduces entry errors.
“For the employee name, it’s a drop-down so they can pick an employee and pre-populate information. Most everything is populated right away.”
—Terri Bryan, Accounts Manager, ARC American
Bryan also created scheduled reports for management to review with GoFormz, which makes the process easier and saves time.
Instant ROI with Smartsheet and GoFormz
Using the Smartsheet integration with GoFormz, ARC American improved its billing processes and overall efficiency. “Before GoFormz and Smartsheet, someone from billing processed two jobs in a day, due to all of the inaccurate forms and information,” Cesar says.
“It was a lot of calling and not having the information we needed to bill. But now everything is there, correctly filled out, totally accurate, and they are able to go through it very fast.” This expedited process has led to significant improvements in billing efficiency, allowing teams to now process in a day what they would have previously processed in a week. “Now we have several users who are billing twenty to twenty-five jobs a day.”