How AWP Improved Scheduling Efficiency Nearly 90% by Giving a Green Light to Skedulo
Area Wide Protective (AWP) used Skedulo and Salesforce to help with scheduling and dispatching, even during explosive growth. Learn how this traffic control and public safety provider was able to leave behind the burden of paper-based scheduling.
Traffic control and public safety provider AWP grew faster than its paper-based scheduling and dispatch system could handle. With five acquisitions over two years, AWP needed a scalable, flexible solution to solve the scheduling and dispatching challenges at the heart of its business. Duplicative and error-ridden paperwork coupled with inconsistent and slow processes was causing pain for everyone involved. Learn how AWP used Skedulo and Salesforce to clear the scheduling traffic jam even during hyper growth.
Area Wide Protective provides comprehensive traffic control and related services for infrastructure projects, construction and utility work. They manage, schedule, and dispatch roughly 5,000 mobile workers from more than 60 offices across 19 states with headquarters in Ohio. AWP has a deep commitment to safety that runs throughout their business. Their traffic control employees, consistently referred to as “protectors,” undergo a challenging screening process to meet the safety needs of their clients and the public.
AWP Transforms their Business with Skedulo + Salesforce
AWP implemented Skedulo into their Salesforce instance to solve the complex scheduling problem at the core of their business, and the results have been dramatic for the scheduling team, the mobile workforce, the back office, and AWP’s customers.
Challenges from Manual Processes and Fast Growth
In recent years, AWP has expanded enormously, due to both phenomenal organic growth and multiple acquisitions. As they expanded, the pain of manual and inconsistent scheduling processes compounded. Roadblocks like duplicative work, slow processes, too much paper, and delayed communications ground operations to a crawl.
Paperwork, spreadsheets, phone calls, and other manual processes were taking a serious toll. It would often take more than 6 hours to get confirmation of a job acceptance. After a job was completed, timesheets and customer signatures would have to be manually returned to the office, then scanned and emailed to the corporate office for further processing. In some cases, paperwork was being mailed from office to office at no small cost.
Finance and HR depended on this data for invoicing and payroll, but the departments did not share data with each other. As a result, any corrections or changes made to the data by one department was never communicated to the other. It could take as many as 14 days to get an invoice out after a job was completed, and invoicing errors were causing pain for customers, as well.
“For my team, with the pen and paper process, it was pretty unwieldy,” said Mandy Parker, Director of the AWP Support Center. “Very, very hard to keep track of historical data.”
At the same time, the corporate office lacked visibility into how many jobs were being fulfilled in real time and how many were pending, so pipeline planning was rudimentary at best.
“With the pen and paper process, getting access to that data was a really long process where multiple people were involved, entering information into some system and then running reports,” said Ashish Patel, director of strategic initiatives at AWP.
“We use Skedulo to enter work orders, gather all the work orders in one system, create jobs, dispatch those jobs, check statuses off all those jobs throughout the day, in real-time. So at any given point in the day, we know how many jobs we have scheduled, how many employees are working, what their status is, how many are completed, and we have access to all those hours and customer data at our fingertips.”
A Solution to Solve for Now and Scale for the Future
Slowing down operations was not an option, so AWP had to implement a new platform with minimal downtime. After searching for a solution that focused on scheduling and dispatching, AWP expanded its search to a mobile workforce solution that would connect to its Salesforce CRM and do more than see available workers and time slots.
“With every office we were adding, with every service we were adding to our portfolio, it was critical for us to be able to automate scheduling both for those services and for those offices,” said Patel. “So we really needed a solution that was flexible to implement and also to scale.”
AWP’s team needed a solution to fit specific requirements as well as a provider who could be a partner as they incorporated the software into their technology stack and broader business. AWP was particularly looking for:
- A user-friendly dashboard to show how many workers are out on active jobs, how many are en route, how many jobs have been completed, and how many jobs are pending
- A flexible product that could accommodate variability in their pricing and expanding services
- Expertise to ensure a successful implementation
- Simplicity for usability and adoption, in particular for protectors in the field
- A solution to complement their existing technology, anchored around Salesforce
Of the solution search, Patel recalled, “One of the things that I was looking into was the flexibility of a platform and the ease of transition in migrating from our legacy systems to the new system—plus how easy it would be for our field employees to capture all their hours and information regarding their jobs.”
To keep the customer traffic flowing smoothly, AWP chose Skedulo’s native solution to integrate with their Salesforce CRM. While reducing time spent scheduling, Skedulo also simplified the lives of “protectors” in the field, automatically collecting and displaying work order data they needed to set up a safe work zone.
“We’re able to make sound business decisions that better all parties involved—that better our protectors, better our customers, better our company and our shareholders.”
AWP’s Results with Skedulo
With Skedulo, AWP’s scheduling, dispatch and mobile work processes are down to such an exact science that the scheduling team is measured on “dispatch time,” or delivering the schedule to the mobile teams at the same, predictable time everyday.
The contact center has job acceptance times cut in half, and scheduling tasks that used to take a team could now be done single-handedly. Moreover, invoicing time was reduced from two weeks down to less than 5 days with a dramatic improvement in invoicing accuracy. The benefits of mobile workforce management have been felt well beyond the scheduling center.
1. Simplicity for Schedulers and Protectors in the Field
AWP’s scheduling process is faster, simpler and offers visibility to the entire business they have never had before. Where it used to take 7 people to handle all the tasks involved in scheduling and dispatching the “protector” teams, now a single staff member handles it alone.
“We use Skedulo to enter work orders, gather all the work orders in one system, create jobs, dispatch those jobs, check statuses of all those jobs throughout the day, in real-time. So at any given point in the day, we know how many jobs we have scheduled, how many employees are working, what their status is, how many are completed, and we have access to all those hours and customer data at our fingertips,” said Patel.
The protectors in the field “love” Skedulo and how much easier it makes managing their work.
“For our folks in the field, instead of being nose down in a ticket, they are hitting a button to say, ‘I’m here, I’ve started work or I’ve ended work,’ which is extremely exciting for them,” said Parker. “We’ve seen improvement in retention, in engagement and safety [job] performance.”
“A huge win for the billing team, and our finance team is happy as well.”
2. Clarity for Management and the Back Office
One of the most potent benefits AWP has enjoyed are the extended effects of collecting accurate data in real-time from the field. Invoicing used to take 10 to 14 days after job completion, a process that now requires less than 5 days. And AWP’s invoice correction rate, a critical KPI, is down to an enviable 0.5% after a 41% reduction from using Skedulo. Both the back office and management teams have the data they need to make sound decisions and execute their work more efficiently.
“We’re able to make sound business decisions that better all parties involved— our protectors, our customers, our company and our shareholders.”
“Our back office team is ecstatic. They love Salesforce and Skedulo. It gives them data that is accurate and it gives them that data quicker than the previous process. Their customers love the billing team. Our payroll team is also happy because they don’t have to make corrections to the hours on a timesheet. And our field employees are happy that they aren’t getting inaccurate paychecks,” said Patel.
Jarrod Wachter, Vice President Field Operations at AWP, described the impact Skedulo has had on AWP’s business:
“From an operating standpoint—in terms of logistics, in terms of safety, both of which are very important to us—we’re able to capture data that helps us manage the business… We’re able to measure all those items and make some sound business decisions that better all parties involved—that better our protectors, better our customers, better our company and our shareholders.”
3. Happier Customers
Perhaps most significantly, AWP’s customers are feeling the benefits of Skedulo.
“It extends to our customer base a level of transparency that they enjoy. We’re able to measure capacity in real-time,” said Wachter, “We’re able to make sound logistical pairings, so our efficiency has improved, and of course translates into better service to them and more competitive pricing structures. Our customers enjoy the reporting, they enjoy that data, the enjoy the efficiency that comes with a sound logistics hub.”
With Skedulo in place, AWP is positioned to continue their exceptional success. With their resourceful and creative leadership, AWP continues to explore innovative ways to use Skedulo to solve more challenges in its business. Up next, AWP intents to use new team structures for its protectors to further improve their daily work experience. If past in any precedent, AWP can expect even happier workers and customers as a result.