TRUE Projects is creating the next generation of construction companies with visibility and transparency at its heart
TRUE Projects uses Smartsheet to help realize their vision of total transparency across all areas of the construction business.
- Architecture, Construction and Engineering
- Emerging and SMB (1-199)
- Asia Pacific (APAC)
"Our data is less liable to human error and we’re saving around 30% time in data management for the sales and projects teams. Even by auto-filling sheets to remove duplication we’re saving 15% on data entry. The benefits are huge, and for me, it’s a risk-free solution where we have the power to create what we really need as a business."
Director, TRUE Projects
Australian construction company TRUE Projects was born out of the need to do something different in the interior fit-out industry. Co-Founders Kane Godfrey and James Peebles worked for more than a decade in the construction sector but observed a pervasive lack of trust due to the limited visibility of projects. Determined to do something different, they founded TRUE Projects in 2018 with the mission of creating a design and construct commercial office fit-out company, but with total transparency throughout an entire project. To bring this to life, they needed technology to enable visibility for the entire business – through Smartsheet.
“We provide complete financial transparency to our clients throughout the design and build process, whether they want to see invoicing or sub-contractor quotes,” says Kane Godfrey, Director, TRUE Projects. “In going to Smartsheet, the biggest benefit to me has been to build a system that is easily adaptable and visible – it’s my favourite part about it.”
Creating a business platform for transparency
When James and Kane first began the business, they were working off their laptops from cafes across Sydney. Their initial business processes were simply Excel, Dropbox and email – but they quickly identified they would need a more structured approach as the business grew to maintain transparency across the business. Prior experiences with getting ‘locked in’ to poor-performing software meant they wanted something flexible that was going to truly deliver and give them visibility across all areas of the business, from financials to marketing to project delivery.
Rather than using a dedicated construction software, they wanted a solution that could sit across all business activity, in real-time, to avoid issues like version control. To avoid the issue of being wedded to a system that didn’t meet their needs in the long-run, TRUE Projects sought a cloud-based solution.
“We battled on for six months using Excel, but knew we had a business plan for growth and needed a system to support us through that growth phase,” Kane says. “With Smartsheet, I decided to just give it a go and start trialling. From there, we spent four weekends building the entire system, from marketing through to finance, to create exactly what we needed.”
In a short space of time, TRUE Projects was able to get Smartsheet up-and-running to cater to its business needs. By using existing templates and creating custom-sheets, the power was in the hands of the team to develop a tool fit for its purpose, that could be adjusted at any time.
“There’s two things I liked about it: one, that I had total flexibility over the system and could be the one to make changes happen; two, that it was all online and could support the team from anywhere,” Kane says. One of our goals is to have the right systems and tools for the team, wherever they are, as one of the frustrating parts of business in the part was logging onto a portal on-site to get what you needed.”
A central business tool for all teams
Kane and his team use Smartsheet to run the entire business. It’s transformed the way they work and deliver information to clients and ensures consistency across all activity. The marketing department uses Smartsheet to track all objectives, goals and programs, as well as collaborate with the sales team. TRUE Projects uses Smartsheet for its CRM and to manage leads and sales pipelines. Rather than being used retro-actively for tracking purposes, the team runs internal meetings off the platform – and then captures the notes/minutes in a sheet for ease of access.
The team is able to work with the confidence of having a single source of truth. Rather than relying on different systems across departments, the business uses just four – Xero for accounting, Dropbox, Office 365 and Smartsheet. With this simplicity, it is able to transfer information across departments without lifting a finger. The systems marry up so any time a project manager makes a change, this is also reflected in the sheet of the financial department and sales.
Being cloud-based and mobile-ready allows TRUE Projects to access Smartsheet from anywhere – especially critical on a construction site. On-site teams can quickly refer to project details as well as manage safety processes on the fly. This is particularly important as they navigate the pandemic and need to ensure contractors are safe on-site.
“The integration of Smartsheet and Dropbox really helps with project documentation and knowing what’s the most up to date,” continues Kane. “Having things like version tracking and history is helpful in understanding what’s happening, especially when we’ve got lots of people working in the one sheet from different locations.”
The added value of extra time
Kane says the visibility the platform provides helps the business deliver on its mission of transparency. While different teams – like finance, management or sales – do use different portals, empowering employees to manage information directly in the one system means there is clarity every step of the way in an industry often clouded with confusion.
“The peace of mind of having that connection and visibility is powerful. It’s a single source of truth but for the entire team, not just me as a business owner,” says Kane. All of the data is used to track KPIs in real-time so everyone can go in and check on the objectives we’ve set for them. Rather than waiting for a catch-up, all our team members can assess performance as they go.”
Kane has seen significant time savings, particularly for data entry and customer engagement. This has further improved following the implementation of Resource Management by Smartsheet to optimise projects, time tracking and people forecasting. With these efficiencies, TRUE Projects can focus more on giving its customer a truly excellent design and build experience.
“Since we started using Resource Management by Smartsheet, we’ve taken development to the next level. We’ve streamlined the process from sales to product delivery and reduced the amount of time spent in Smartsheet,” adds Kane. “Our data is less liable to human error and we’re saving around 30% time in data management for the sales and projects teams. Even by auto-filling sheets to remove duplication we’re saving 15% on data entry. The benefits are huge, and for me, it’s a risk-free solution where we have the power to create what we really need as a business.”
“Smartsheet is really powerful,” concludes Kane. “I can look at my profit position in the business at one time and know what the current forecast is today, and for the next six months. There are so many deep levels to the Smartsheet platform.”
For more information about this story, please see our case study.