Brett Bonomo has been in the microwave radio backhaul business for over 15 years. “Microwave radio backhaul” might not be a term with which most of us are familiar, but it should be, because Brett’s job is to provide data and voice transferring systems to the railroad, cellular, utility, and public safety companies whose services we use every day. He’s giving these firms the ability to communicate and share information over long distances, which is essential in being able to serve our communication and transportation needs.
Brett operates a small business called Castle Rock Microwave in Castle Rock, Colorado, and he’s competing with huge fiber providers and phone companies who also provide bandwidth services. He’s using an app he created with AppSheet to bolster his business operations and remain on the playing field with his competition.
Having initially come from a technical sales background selling wireless equipment for popular manufacturers, Brett wanted to continue to foster the myriad relationships he’d developed with his customers over the years by becoming a reseller and integrator for those types of products.
Ever a “systems guy”, as he says, Brett knew he needed to implement structured processes that would ensure organization and professionalism.
“In our business early on, I demanded that we have solid systems and well documented processes so that we could scale our business and add people quickly-- so that turned me onto Smartsheet.”
Brett and his team found Smartsheet to be extremely useful in keeping track of schedules, lists, photos, and quotes, as well as collaborating with vendors and customers.
In the meantime, Castle Rock Microwave was awarded a huge opportunity with a Class 1 railroad company. CRM is now contracted to build towers and communication sites, and upgrade existing communication sites and tower sites along the railroad.
However, the impending arrival of his third child meant Brett could not commit to 12 weeks of field service! So CRM hired a project manager to oversee the work that’s being done for the railroad company.
“He’s very capable. But in the interest of trying to maintain this philosophy of systemizing and organization and process, we needed an app. Lo and behold I stumbled on AppSheet in the Smartsheet ecosystem of third party apps,” Brett says. “Holy smokes, I’ve got to play with this!”
Brett started to develop his app so that his field project manager can report on every time he leaves a radio tower site. He inputs information via a form in the app, which is then transmitted back to CRM’s office. Collecting the information from the field in real-time allows Brett and his team to monitor the progress of the project remotely. In turn, this information is presented to the customer online with a gantt chart and real-time photo updates. The customer can monitor the progress of their project from the comfort of their desk.
Brett says the use of the app has changed more than just the way CRM handles information transfer and data collaboration.
“It’s transformed the expectations of our customer. They’re used to working with more established companies. We come in and we’re able to help them stay abreast of what’s happening at any given time.”
And keeping expectations high is what allows a small business like Castle Rock Microwave to remain strong competitors among a sea of much larger firms that operate in the microwave communications field.
In this vein, Brett is continuing to develop new apps to help others in his industry systemize processes like safety briefing, site surveys, and subcontractor timekeeping, to name a few.
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