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Julia Guthrie

Julia Guthrie
Julia is Marketing and Communications Manager at AppSheet. She loves the creative and eclectic. She’s held various marketing roles, plus other wacky jobs like suicide hotline operator, shoe designer, and dead animal removal business owner. Julia can usually be found hanging with her cats, crafting, and watching Seinfeld.

Recent Posts

How Mobile Apps are Helping Protect Florida's Waterways

"As trained experts with detailed knowledge of Florida’s waterways, shorelines and deep-water ports, Florida’s harbor pilots protect our state’s ports from harm and ensure the safe passage of ship traffic– 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We work diligently to maximize the efficiency of Florida’s seaports that serve as hubs for economic growth and stimulus, making their safety and well-being our top priority." -Capt. Stuart Lilly, President, Florida Harbor Pilots Association (http://www.pepilots.com) Following the paper trail Carl Mahler is a state pilot and partner with Port Everglades Pilots Association. His job is to navigate large ships around Florida’s waterways. With close to 4,000 ships arriving into and departing from Port Everglades each year, harbor pilots play a vital role in the field. Their services help prevent sea captains from running aground and causing damage to their ships, cargo, or the surrounding ecosystems. Port Everglades is a $28 billion-per-year economic driver for South Florida, and it only takes one mistake to shut it all down. Ships need expert pilots to help them avoid these potential disasters. As one would imagine, the information and assets required to conduct this process are myriad. Pilots need to be aware of the navigational equipment on each vessel as well as its maneuvering characteristics. If there are deficiencies in a vessel, these details can be noted so other pilots can operate with an enhanced level of safety and efficiency. Careful management of this data means the difference between smooth operations and possible catastrophe. Since 1931, the business was using a paper logbook to track jobs and a notebook to report information about each vessel. This method presented logistical challenges at every step. First, the notebooks were kept in an on-land office, which didn’t allow the pilots to record information in real-time, and meant that sometimes the information simply wasn’t being logged at all. Second, when pilots logged their data, they had to do so by hand after finishing their arduous jobs navigating ships in and out of the port. This led to inconsistencies in how data was recorded, but also accessibility problems. A digital revolution Carl had the idea to use Google Sheets to store the data from the field reporting, and from there he created an operations app with AppSheet’s Google Sheets app builder add-on. One app allows pilots to send vessel information to the database straight through their mobile devices in real-time. This helped automate their workflow and allowed them to complete tasks as they happened instead of from memory.  Carl has customized his app to require that certain information is always recorded, so pilots are not able to move on to the next portion of the data capture form. If a ship doesn’t yet exist in the database, the user must enter that data so that the new ship can be accounted for going forward. The app also allows for image capture, so pilots can provide photo documentation of any additional details.    And with the standardized data entry methods Carl assigned to the app, the team is able to access data easily anytime, anywhere.    “AppSheet has given us the chance to know the capabilities of a ship before we step foot on the bridge. This information is integral in enabling our pilots to work efficiently and reliably, equipping them to maintain our safety record and protect the port as well as the surrounding ecosystem— both of these efforts are immensely important to us,” says Carl.  This blog post was updated on December 4th, 2019.

Clean Water in the Third World, Made Possible by TerraClear and Mobile Apps

Dan Rice works for TerraClear, an organization whose mission is to improve access to clean drinking water among rural populations in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). Lao PDR is on the United Nations’ least developed country list, and therefore largely lacks basic resources to keep water clean for its citizens. TerraClear makes an affordable and effective ceramic water filter for household water treatment. The organization sells the filters to individual families at a subsidized rate and offer a payment plan in order to make the technology accessible to everyone. Empowering families to purchase the water filters, as opposed to giving them away, creates a sense of ownership and responsibility for taking care of the filter, and helps everyone gain a greater understanding about the importance of and process behind water sanitization. In order to run the water filter program efficiently, Dan and his teammates need to be able to keep track of customer data and payment information. Paper forms create more work and opportunities for data loss and errors. TerraClear needs the ability to record information digitally. And because the team is often in remote areas where Internet connection isn’t available, they need the functionality to record information securely while offline. Dan built an app with AppSheet and is using it to manage customers and payments. The app is allowing the organization to operate more effectively and rapidly, and ultimately enabling them to help more Laotian families in need. “We had been looking for efficient and simple ways to manage our information capture without a lot of duplicated paper systems. We explored some quick app building tools, but found AppSheet to be the easiest to use for our staff. The ability to access data offline and sync after capturing data offline were critical features that have really performed well. We’ve been very happy with AppSheet and see a lot of opportunity to use it to build apps in the future to help us manage our operations,” he says.

All-Terrain Vehicles + Mobile Apps: a Not So Unlikely Pair

If you’ve ever ridden a jet ski, snowmobile, or any other recreational vehicle, you were probably having too much fun to think about all of the people and planning that were involved in its production. At Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) in Quebec, Canada, it’s Stephan Ouellet’s job to address safety and compliance concerns so fun seekers don’t have to. As the Fire Prevention Coordinator and part of the Compliances Technical Services team, he’s responsible for inspections and making sure tasks run smoothly to ensure the highest level of safety for the company’s products. Most of the processes Stephan oversees were previously being carried out via paper forms, a method that presented several logistical problems. First, all of the information had to be recorded and then later inputted to a database, creating opportunities for human error. Next, internal requests couldn’t be made electronically and therefore tasks couldn’t be quickly and efficiently delegated among many employees. And of course, everyone had to keep track of multiple stacks of papers at any given time. When Stephan discovered AppSheet, he found he could easily connect his Google sheets to the platform to create a mobile app that could replace his paper forms. From there created more apps to manage inspections and tasks. Now, most of his team’s processes have been augmented by mobile apps he has made with AppSheet. He loves that AppSheet allows him to “create applications that compete with software like SAP.”

How Mobile Apps are Keeping Italian Planes in the Air

Aviation Services S.p.A.  provides full handling airline and aviation services in Napoli Capodichino, Catania Fontanarossa, Roma Fiumicino and Bologna, Italy. Service offerings include station supervision and administration, turnaround coordination, baggage processing and transport, aircraft loading and unloading, flight operations, and much more. Marco Badalamenti works in General Affairs, Logistics, and IT Support department of Aviation Services S.p.A., and he’s responsible for ensuring the company’s internal processes run smoothly. As one can imagine, managing the procedures within an aviation service organization is a challenging and complex task. Internal communication must occur precisely and effectively in order for external processes to operate without flaw. Because Aviation Services S.p.A. is often handling sensitive calculations about aircraft load and balance, flight control, turnaround coordination, load movement, and passenger transport, the margin for error is nonexistent. Until a few months ago, Aviation Services S.p.A. was operating these procedures via electronic data sheets and communicating the information to each other via phone. Marco suspected there might be a better way, and that’s when he found AppSheet. The app Marco built is called Synchro, and it’s designed to manage all of the figures responsible for processing and flight management. Now that the process has been systemized via the use of the app, data entry and coordination is seamless. All of the data for each flight is now easily shared among responsible parties without the need to communicate verbally, thereby reducing potential for human error. In the aviation industry, there’s no room for that!

This User's Mobile Apps are Helping Produce Safe and Reliable Farm Products

  Zane Schwendiman is the Operations and Administrative Assistant* at Zen-Noh Hay, Inc,  a hay processing facility located in Pasco, WA. Zen-Noh Hay’s services include feed milling, on-farm consulting and brand development, food processing and packaging, transportation and logistics, fuels, and many more. According to the company’s website, its primary goal is to “provide Japanese consumers with domestically produced farm products that are safe, reliable, and of impeccable quality.” In order to do so, Zen-Noh must be sure its operations are running via the most efficient and up-to-date methods. The Operations team noticed some of the processes were a bit antiquated-- namely, those by which employees were tracking inventory transfers and entering customer purchase agreements. Prior to finding Appsheet, the team recorded the information on paper and then later manually entered it into the computer. A laborious-- and potentially error-prone process indeed. Zane found AppSheet via Smartsheet’s integrations offerings. He experimented with the platform and soon realized he could accomplish all of the previously paper-based tasks with a couple mobile apps he built himself. He says, “creating the apps using Appsheet wa very intuitive and even though no coding is required the functionality offered by Appsheet is very impressive.” The apps allow the Operations team to see inventory movement and new purchases in near real time; and the offline feature allows them to safeguard information when there is no signal available. Those features are especially useful in the large geographic area the company covers and in large warehouses where connectivity is erratic. As Zane remarks, “the information is readily available now and does not have to be relayed from paper into a computer, and eliminates one more step that could cause errors.” Now that Zane and the rest of the team can see the benefits their apps have brought to the company as a whole, he’s working on an additional app to track sales agreements. He says, “We have enjoyed using Appsheet and continue to look for additional use cases that allow even more efficiency and process improvements.” *Zane is no longer working with Zen-Noh Hay, but continues working with the company for further implementations.

How One AppSheet User Helps Families Gain Access to Financial Services in Sub-Saharan Africa

Patrick Mfossa lives in Foumban, Cameroon-- a place where it is notoriously difficult for people to access even basic financial services. Loans, savings accounts, and other advantages we enjoy through financial institutions in the United States are predominantly unavailable to the citizens in the developing world, often preventing them from having the ability to own homes, cars, and to save money for more expensive pursuits. In response, individuals have organized an inspiring grassroots movement designed to help families gain access to the funds they need to improve their quality of life. RoSCAs (rotating savings and credit associations) are old-age financial mechanisms comprised of family members and relatives who meet periodically in order to save and borrow together. Generally, meetings are run on a regular basis. At each meeting, each member contributes the same amount, and one member takes the whole sum. As a result, each member is able to access a larger sum of money during the life of the RoSCA, and use it for whatever purpose she or he wishes. Every transaction is seen by every member during the meetings. Since no money is retained inside the group, no records have to be kept. These characteristics make the system a model of transparency and simplicity that is well adapted to communities with low levels of literacy. With traditional RoSCAs, members meet in person. But more and more, friends and relatives live in different areas of a given country rather than in a singular location, making it almost impossible to run a financial group that’s based solely on trust.  Using Appsheet, Patrick and his RoSCA group, officially named “FamilyOKBank,” have been able to build a digital financial help group application that enables family members, longtime friends, and relatives to save, borrow, and lend to each other no matter where they are. The app combines mobile money functionalities and those of crowdfunding platforms. Every family has its own app only its members can access. Patrick created a parent app he copies any time there is a new need. The link that enables members of a given FamilyOkBank to access their app is posted on a Whatsapp group created by its members. The app has allowed FamilyOkBank to evolve its operations along with the advancements of the application. Members can choose one day between the 10th and the 15th of each month in order to make their contributions. This is not the case with traditional RoSCA’s, where contributions are done in a single day.   By combining the functionalities of mobile money and those of ROSCAs and crowdfunding, the app gives members access to additional services such as financial education (on savings, budgeting and debt management) and family crowd-lending, which enables members to add additional funds in order to meet unexpected expenses. As Patrick says, “Saving alone is difficult, but saving together to help each other is much easier and less stressful. Our goal is to equip every single family (every single group of friends and relatives in Cameroon) with a FamilyOkBank.”

10 Ways Mobility is Revolutionizing Manufacturing

  It's no secret: mobile technology is changing the way people work. This doesn't just cover its most evident purposes, like food delivery or gaming; but mobile tech is increasingly translating its worth across all industries. It's especially advantageous in fields where recording information on paper isn't conducive to safety or productivity. Enter the manufacturing industry.  Jobs in manufacturing require workers' full attention. They're reporting important information at every step of the way, working with heavy and dangerous machinery, overseeing complicated processes, and operating around hazardous materials. In this setting, recording and displaying important data the traditional way is inconvenient and unwise.  In his article, 10 Ways Mobility is Revolutionizing Manufacturing, Louis Columbus gives a framework for how mobile technology is changing the manufacturing industry and revolutionizing jobs in the field.  For one, mobile solutions are making it infinitely easier to manage and report on inventory. Columbus writes about an aerospace manufacturer that is saving thousands of hours per year in inventory management with an enterprise-wide mobile reporting system. These saved hours have translated into thousands of dollars worth in savings for the company.  Another benefit the industry is seeing via mobile technology is the ability to track and identify maintenance needs immediately. In manufacturing, if one piece of equipment is malfunctioning, often a whole process is put on hold. Repair staff needs this information in real-time to be able to act quickly. Mobile tech makes it possible to find these defects right away, keeping production lines running smoothly and efficiently. Head over to Forbes to read the more about why mobile is revolutionizing the manufacturing field.

How Custom Mobile Apps are Dramatically Expanding the Client Base for this UK Consulting Business

Smarter Business Processes (SBP) is an organization based in the UK that provides consulting for businesses that wish to improve their processes using cloud-based software. According to the company’s website, “we all need to work smarter and more efficiently yet utilise the strength of our teams to achieve their maximum potential, yet many businesses do not have the tools to provide the intuitive collaboration and file sharing necessary to achieve these essential requirements.” As recommended Smartsheet consultants, Smarter Business Processes provides optimization, consultancy, expert training, and remote support to Smartsheet clients in the UK, Europe, and the USA. Having worked so closely with Smartsheet, SBP owners Richard and Gwen Rymill found out about AppSheet through one of their Smartsheet contacts who said, “You need to know about AppSheet!” Richard and Gwen were immediately drawn to the features offered by AppSheet. Though Smartsheet was effective in accomplishing many of the functions clients required, there were other necessary features Smartsheet couldn’t offer. By connecting Smartsheets, Google sheets, and Excel sheets to AppSheet, the team at SBP found they could now provide clients with a whole range of additional functionality based on mobile devices, including conditional logic, signature capture, geo location mapping, data security, and much more. With this new set of tools, SBP began offering mobile app development to its portfolio of consulting services. The customer response has been very exciting, as Richard says “these are all solutions our clients need.” SBP’s app building consultants are building apps to simplify and augment all kinds of operations, including construction project management, inventory management, engineer work logging, and timesheet tracking, among others.   According to Gwen, “discovering AppSheet has been a game-changer for us and enabled us open up a whole new marketing campaign, targeting a much wider audience of business users not previously in dialogue with us.” Richard and Gwen recently participated in an AppSheet-hosted partner webinar-- check it out to learn more about the business and its offerings. If you’d like to connect with the team at Smarter Business Processes, you can do so here! For a guide on successfully launching business apps at your organization, click here. 

4 Challenges Every IT Department Faces — and How Mobile Apps Can Help

With the ever-expanding technology climate we’re living in today, the job descriptions of IT managers seem to be increasing at an equivalent rate. Technology professionals are no longer limited to simply ‘fixing the bugs.’ They must perform tasks to keep organized and efficient, but these tasks often seemingly have nothing to do with technology at all. At larger companies, IT professionals are often also inventory managers, tasked with tracking IT equipment in and around the office. They’re project managers, tackling the various technical requests of stakeholders within the company. They’re training experts, helping new employees set up their workstations and accounts. And much more.  Businesses must modernize their methods in order to keep up with increasing demands on their tech teams. Mobile apps for IT professionals are effective tools that can help automate procedures and keep everyone in sync with the latest information. Below we’ve outlined four scenarios many tech teams encounter along with a mobile app that can help streamline the process. The best part-- you can copy and customize the apps for free! Tracking equipment Mobile devices, monitors, hard drives, oh my! Expensive equipment that is routinely loaned to employees should be carefully tracked in order to maintain precise asset records and curtail unnecessary spending. With countless gadgets and a robust workforce, it’s impossible to keep accurate records by memory. Using paper and pen is almost as trivial. Our Equipment Inventory sample app helps address this scenario. The app divides its views by the employee who checked out an item in question, by type of equipment, and then shows all check-out instances in one view. It features images of the equipment as well as a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” icon to indicate if the item has been verified by IT. The app also allows for convenient barcode scanning of each item. IT ticketing Not only is it tough to keep track of employee requests, it’s also often difficult to translate non-IT employees’ interpretation of problems they’re facing. Information is useless on both sides if there isn’t a streamlined way to present problems and give clear, understandable instructions to solve them. In order to avoid randomization, consider our IT Ticketing sample app. The IT Ticketing app allows employees to submit requests and gives them succinct options to indicate the type of issue. This allows the department to route tickets accordingly, saving time for further explanation later on. Each time an employee submits a request, an email notification is sent to the IT stakeholder in question. Slices in the app allow IT users to see only the information pertaining to them. Onboarding new employees No IT manager has time to help each new employee set up her workstation and register for a company email account. This process must be straightforward and simple so IT can be as unfettered from superfluous requests as possible. The New Employee Setup sample app can be given to each new hire to guide them through setting up various devices and accounts. Each UX view represents a different setup process aided by helpful pictures and instructions. Include as many views as you need to detail each process employees might need assistance with during their tenure. Keeping organized So you’ve created several apps to help your IT team be more efficient. But if you can’t keep the apps organized, what was the whole point?! We recomment an app launcher that houses all of the IT apps, so you can keep track of your apps and so employees will only need to enact a one-time download. App launchers can be used for any scenario, team, project, or company that needs to keep categories of apps all in one place. If you’re an IT manager, consider creating a suite of mobile apps you can give to each employee to help them interact with your department more effectively. New tools can help you take focus off process and keep it where it belongs-- on improving the technology that advances your business. Download our B2E App Guide for a full phased approach on how to successfully launch business apps at your organization. 

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