Sutter Roofing builds a business success with real-time access to accurate data
Sutter Roofing uses Smartsheet to streamline management of its business processes and track historical data.
"In order to grow we have to have accurate data in front of us, and we want to have confidence in that data. There’s nothing worse than overselling the number of people you have to do work."
Chief Operating Officer, Sutter Roofing
Sutter Roofing Company has become a leader in commercial roofing in the Southeast by taking on the complex jobs that other companies avoid. Whether installing protective structures to keep a food processor operational and up to code during a total roof replacement, or meeting the exacting standards of manufacturing and aerospace customers, the nearly 120-year-old company has built a reputation with its extensive experience and industry-veteran workforce. Smartsheet helps people across the organization manage the data necessary to understand both its past body of work and its current resources and availability.
“In order to grow we have to have accurate data in front of us, and we want to have confidence in that data,” says John Kenney, chief operating officer of Sutter Roofing. “There’s nothing worse than overselling the number of people you have to do work.”
Business profitability depends on accurately scoping and pricing each new job. Underestimating the labor hours, materials, or time required can lead to overtime costs, supply shortages, or missed deadlines, all of which impact the bottom line. Kenney and his team used to rely on spreadsheets to track business data, but couldn’t maintain the accuracy they needed. Different stakeholders would save conflicting versions of a document, and it was difficult to tell who had made edits or which versions were the most current to use for estimating and scheduling.
Smartsheet entered the picture three years ago when a new hire described how it had helped him with a project in his college construction program. Kenney’s first impression was that it was the easiest to learn of all the solutions he’d been reviewing. Then he started to explore its full potential to transform nearly every aspect of Sutter Roofing’s business.
Estimating, planning, and tracking jobs
With Smartsheet, project leads at Sutter Roofing can capture detailed data on roofing jobs completed over the past several decades: material costs, duration, labor hours required, unexpected issues, and more. That information helps the company’s estimators get a clear picture of what a new project would require and when crews will be available so work can begin.
“We keep historical data of all the projects that we’ve done over the past 20 years,” Kenney says. “We have every warranty that’s out there. We know the man-hours it’s taken to do the job, material underages and overages, and the equipment used. Our operations team is able to see how long the project has taken, what time of year it was done, the type of crew and how many men. All that data is there for them to use.”
The operations team uses Smartsheet to plan and schedule every step of a job, then track its status as work progresses. Managers get real-time visibility into the status of any project; if work is 30% complete but 40% of the allocated materials and labor have been used, leaders can step in to identify the problems, reset processes or expectations, and get things moving in the right direction.
“Before we had this information, we could get to 90% or 95% [complete] and have no time to make any corrections,” Kenney says. “Now we’re picking it up in the early stages of every project and can make decisions to save a project that could have gone bad.”
It’s easier to capture real-time details because users can access forms and data on their phones. With many staffers on the go between job sites, mobile access ensures they can get the most current information on a job before they arrive.
Smartsheet also streamlines the company’s in-house training program, dubbed Sutter University. Employees can view course descriptions, register for trainings, and track their completion of each session. Sutter Roofing also tracks industry certifications through Smartsheet, providing a clear view of which workers are qualified to work on projects with special skill or regulatory requirements. That makes it easier to assemble crews for even the most demanding jobs.
Sales and administrative work
Sutter Roofing uses Smartsheet to streamline management of its business processes, from sales lead tracking and marketing outreach to contract reviews and approvals. Its easy integration with industry-tailored software is one of Kenney’s favorite features.
“What I really like about Smartsheet is that it’s not a software bundle where you’ve got to be all in,” Kenney says. “I have an accounting system that works for roofing, and a CRM and an HR suite. But all that information then comes into Smartsheet, and that’s when the magic happens.”
Sales teams can track leads and prospects, sales, contract closes, commissions, and close ratios. Contracts move through the approval process with automated alerts and approvals that automatically request the required signatures and inform accounting or payroll about specific financial tracking needs. When work is completed, contract details, work notes, labor records, and accounting data are all moved into a closeout sheet for final review before archiving.
Executive and customer reporting
Dashboards make it easy for the estimating, sales, and operations teams to share information that executives and customers need to make decisions.
“I think there’s not a better program on the market to be able to streamline processes,” Kenney says. “In a C-level position in any company, regardless of the industry, you have to have information you can crunch, and you need to know that it’s accurate. The nice thing about Smartsheet is, once you get the information in, you can have your dashboards with your KPIs and company benchmarks all preset on one side and actuals on the other half. You can make your projections with numbers, graphs, or whatever works for you, and in five minutes you can get the health of your company.”
Sutter Roofing has piloted customer portals with several key customers, with dashboards that showcase current project status and metrics along with repair and maintenance estimates.
“Our larger property managers and building owners absolutely love it because all the information is right on their phone as well,” Kenney says. “And once you give them all the information they want, you very rarely will lose a customer, because they don’t want to lose the power of knowing where their information is.”
One of the biggest results of Sutter Roofing’s adoption of Smartsheet is the ability to more accurately track warehouse materials and avoid duplicate purchases, leading to more than $200,000 in savings as supplies are made available for new projects. Kenney says the process of sales meeting prep is streamlined as well; what used to take an assistant 4-5 hours in data search and reconciliation now requires just 45 minutes spent running a Smartsheet report and reviewing the data for highlights and issues. And he’s glad to see how eagerly teams are brainstorming ideas for new things to do with Smartsheet, providing innovative suggestions on their own.
“You could ask any one of our employees if they feel company processes and their job have become easier or harder since Smartsheet, and I will guarantee you will get 100% response that their jobs have become easier,” Kenney says. “Because they don’t have to spend any time looking for information; it is available at a click. Our company is 100% behind this. I’ve never implemented any program in this company, or anywhere else in my career, that has been so overwhelmingly accepted.”