Pro AV Solutions resources a fast-growing list of client installations with Resource Management by Smartsheet — despite the challenges of a global pandemic
With Resource Management by Smartsheet, Pro AV Solutions can more flexibly manage resource planning and resolve potential conflicts immediately.
"It was a real eye-opener to see the actual figures during the course of a project or even before it’s even begun. We didn’t have this visibility prior. It was there, but it was never something the team would go and track down for themselves. Whereas now, you just can’t avoid it; it’s right there on the screen and they can make decisions based on what they see. In the past, we’ve looked at our projects retrospectively, looking back and saying, oh well, we’ll just learn from that next time. Now we have a better view of what’s coming up and can actually adjust it in real time."
Projects Administration Manager, Pro AV Solutions
Audio-visual integrator Pro AV Solutions specializes in corporate installations. As more large enterprises build new headquarters or renovate existing offices in Sydney and throughout Australia, Pro AV’s business has grown exponentially, with new million-dollar installations as well as repeat customers. Pro AV needed a more flexible solution for scheduling and updating staff resourcing to keep up with demand. Resource Management by Smartsheet helps Pro AV make updates in real time and identify time and budget overruns before work ever begins at a customer site.
“We were using Smartsheet to manage our resource planning,” says Chris Georgiou, projects administration manager at the New South Wales office of Pro AV Solutions. “Currently we’re up to a team of about 35 technicians just for Sydney alone, so managing those was a constant day-to-day effort. Now, moving onto Resource Management by Smartsheet we’ve upped our game with regards to how we manage resources.”
Managing rapid business growth amid the complications of a global pandemic
The increase in large customer contracts, such as a recent implementation at a newly constructed two-building complex for Sydney’s largest bank, was pushing Georgiou and his team to find better ways to manage resourcing. The COVID-19 pandemic brought even more variables to deal with. Some states where Pro AV had offices faced restrictive lockdowns that closed customer businesses. Other states, such as New South Wales, had to adopt new workplace and travel safety procedures as the pace of business remained the same or even increased.
“The current COVID crisis has put the brakes on a few things, but we’ve managed to actually power through that in Sydney,” Georgiou says. “We haven’t really stopped at all. I know some of the other states — particularly Victoria, who is currently hard hit by the pandemic — their business has slowed down a bit at this point. Some offices are doing work internally, very scaled back, but our staffing numbers across the board just continue to grow. We needed to find a better solution to manage our resources, and that’s where Resource Management by Smartsheet came into play.”
Pro AV has used Smartsheet for several years, integrating data from multiple business platforms to generate reports and using templates to simplify project management. Resource Management by Smartsheet was the next step in optimizing their processes.
“Pro AV would create a project planning sheet per project, where the team would allocate particular people,” Georgiou says. “Adjustments to projects were happening every day — almost hourly, depending on the project — and there was a lot of manual editing. Within Resource Management by Smartsheet now, that can be done in multiple ways, and a lot quicker as well. The PMs have more visibility into who’s allocated where, and where conflicts are starting to be created. They can see immediately what the implications of their changes are.”
A flexible platform that allows early insight into resourcing challenges
Today Resource Management by Smartsheet gives Pro AV Solutions dramatically improved flexibility in resource management. The platform lets managers track changes in real time and make additional adjustments to avoid exceeding budgets, deadlines, or capacity. Georgiou says reporting is another major benefit. The platform makes it easier to review open and closed projects, compare labor hours sold against hours used, and view trends by month, quarter and fiscal year.
“It was a real eye-opener to see the actual figures during the course of a project or even before it’s even begun,” Georgiou says. “We didn’t have this visibility prior. It was there, but it was never something the team would go and track down for themselves. Whereas now, you just can’t avoid it; it’s right there on the screen and they can make decisions based on what they see. In the past, we’ve looked at our projects retrospectively, looking back and saying, oh well, we’ll just learn from that next time. Now we have a better view of what’s coming up and can actually adjust it in real time.”
Accurate data reporting to power better project development
Georgiou says that because Resource Management by Smartsheet is easy to learn and use, rolling it out to his department has gone better than he expected. Other departments, such as the engineering drafting team, are also trying it out, and are generating valuable data they didn’t have easy access to before.
“Everyone has been quite positive; we never really had any pushback,” Georgiou says. “From the technicians who are out on site using the time tracking system, to the team in the office who are using the system for reporting and scheduling, everyone thus far has been positive.”
That ease of use has the potential to lead to better bidding and profitability. Pro AV Solutions’ legacy CRM system didn’t easily provide the data teams needed to make key decisions. And if reports were difficult to generate, teams might not take the time to run them, missing out on insights that could make a difference to project planning. If the sales team had inaccurate data on the number of hours required to integrate systems in a particular kind of office environment, they might underbid a project, reducing the final profit for a contract.
“The CRM system that we use would generate reports that required a lot of manipulation to generate data that you can actually read and use,” Georgiou says. “Resource Management by Smartsheet gives us that in real time. When a new project is created, we take basic information such as hours, dollar, and labor allocation budgets and punch them into Resource Management by Smartsheet. Before the project is live, before anybody steps foot on site or has a meeting with a client, they can immediately see what parameters they have to work with and whether they’re going to be over or under budget. They can rectify any situations that are going to make these hours go over. They can take that into account for any similar future projects, so that we’re not underselling our labor.”