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Kate Stone

Kate Stone
Kate loves telling a great story. She recently moved to Seattle after several years as a local news producer in Salt Lake City, Utah. She's now pursuing a master's degree in Communication, Leadership & Digital Media at the University of Washington while working on AppSheet's content strategy team. In her spare time, she loves exploring the city, teaching herself new digital skills, and working through an extensive list of excellent video games.

Recent Posts

Tutti Gourmet Apps Help Gluten-Free Food Distributor Scale with Ease

Over the last decade, the gluten-free trend has grown from a niche market into a global industry.  The market is especially strong in North America. Since 2009, the number of Amercians who have gone gluten-free has tripled—and looking forward, more are expected to follow. In 2018, North America was the dominant consumer market for gluten-free products, with an overall market share of 53 percent. On a global scale, analysts predict the gluten-free sector will boast a 9.1% CAGR through 2025, when it will reach $32.39 billion. This growth has been both a blessing and a challenge for gluten-free food manufacturers. Many companies, like Tutti Gourmet, started doing business before the gluten-free explosion. A decade ago, nobody could have predicted how big the market would get. As a result, companies like Tutti have had to scale their operations to meet the growing needs of their customers. The Challenge: Digitizing Tutti Gourmet  Tutti Gourmet manufactures a variety of gluten-free and allergy-free snacks and cookies from a highly regulated facility in Quebec. The company is rapidly growing, and now serves a loyal customer base that extends across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Tutti Gourmet has experienced significant growth in recent years, which has forced the company to change its underlying management system—a task that was spearheaded by Operations Director Elijah Magrane.  Like most AppSheet developers, Magrane does not have a technical background. His area of expertise is in food science and biological and statistical research.  “I consider myself a moderate to advanced Excel user,” says Magrane. “When I came here, everything was done manually by hand—either with paper or by physically entering data into a spreadsheet. So, my first order of business when I started was to overhaul the process.”  Originally, Magrane attempted to automate several processes by entering various formulas into an Excel spreadsheet. Tutti Gourmet was using a data entry tool called Canvas, a leading program for designing mobile business apps.  This, Magrane says, was his first introduction to low-code and no-code app development. “I thought Canvas was interesting but, for what we were doing, it didn't meet our needs,” Magrane says. “It was clunky and awkward. The customization just wasn't there. I knew there had to be a better way.” Solution: AppSheet’s No-Code Platform  Seeking a better way forward, the Tutti team decided to explore their options. “We looked into several solutions, such as Microsoft Power BI, and finally came across AppSheet,” says Magrane. “AppSheet was amazing. We were able to use the same Excel sheets we had already been using. It even accepted the formulas I had been using, which was a big deal.”  After selecting AppSheet, Magrane went to work. “The first thing I did was make a timesheet app for employees to track their hours; next was production logs and summaries,” Magrane explains.“It just spiraled from there.” To date, Magrane’s created roughly 40 apps to handle all kinds of processes: ordering, dealing with suppliers, shipping and receiving, quality control, scheduling audits, project management, password management, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the three most popular apps Magrane’s team uses:  Production: In a fast-paced food manufacturing environment, staying on top of production metrics is critical for success. Small errors can lead to delayed shipments, lost profits, and unhappy customers.  This process has been simplified with an app. Now, after a shift, a production employee can use an app to describe how production went—entering data for quality control and verifying figures for raw materials. Once that data is entered, a workflow is automatically filed and sent to team members via PDF. The app also includes a dashboard that tracks benchmarks—like how many cases the company generates for specific flavors. The team can then sort through the data using filters. If any area is lacking, Magrane will know to dig deeper and find the root cause.  Inventory: Tutti Gourmet had been using a simple account program to manage inventory.  “It was a very basic accounting software,” Magrane says. “It just told us what we had on hand. There was no barcode scanner or anything like that. This made traceability an issue. We knew moving forward we’d have to use barcode scanning and get our inventory management on track.” Magrane fixed this problem by designing an app with a barcode scanner, specifically for keeping inventory. At the end of a production day, employees can simply scan QR codes, enter how many cases they made for a particular item, and enter it into a finished inventory database. Now, each case has a QR code that’s linked to AppSheet, which now serves as the company’s complete inventory management system. Documentation: When managing a gluten-free facility, there’s little room for error. It’s critical to document every ingredient—for safety and auditing.  “I also double as a Food Safety Coordinator at Tutti Gourmet,” Magrane continues. “For me, one of the best parts of using AppSheet is that it’s helped us manage our approved supplier program. We’re a gluten-free facility, so our suppliers are central to our business. We don’t allow any gluten in the facility. Every ingredient goes through a rigorous approval process before it enters the building.”  Last year, Magrane made a special supplier management app that acts as a document management and notification system. This app has specific forms, with check boxes for items like gluten-free statements and kosher certifications.  From a safety and operational standpoint, this is probably Tutti’s most important app.  “If we’re not up on our documentation, we could get a recall, which would probably put us out of business,” says Magrane. “Now, I receive notifications when expiration dates are approaching. This way, I can stay on top of all our documentation for our suppliers. This has been really really helpful.” Results  AppSheet is more than just a tool for Tutti Gourmet. The platform now serves as the underlying engine powering most of the company’s backend management processes.  “AppSheet is very scalable,” Magrane says. “And whenever there’s something that we need to add, it’s very easy to update our apps. At the same time, there’s almost no implementation cost. It costs almost nothing when I introduce a new app. And our employees already know how to use them, so they are able to hit the ground running with no training.” Tutti Gourmet’s apps, Magrane says, are used by workers of all backgrounds, from 17 year-olds who have been using phones their whole lives to older employees who aren’t as technically savvy.  Like any new technology, there was a bit of a learning curve when Magrane starting using AppSheet. But he was determined. After a few passes, it came easy.  “The biggest challenge was designing the user interface (UI) components,” Magrane says. “But I really enjoyed learning and I thought it was a positive experience. The great part about using AppSheet, too, is that everything is so customizable.” In fact, Magrane has become the go-to person for creating custom solutions.  “If someone has a problem they need to solve with an app, I can come back to them and say, ‘ Not a problem, I’ll have that for you in no time at all!’” Magrane says.  Tutti Gourmet has had such a positive experience with AppSheet that—even as they scale—they have no intention of switching to an enterprise resource management (ERP) solution.  “Moving forward, even though we are expanding, we’re still not in a position where we can go out and get a $10k ERP or anything like that,” Magrane says. “In fact, even if we had a blank check, I don't know if we’d transfer over to an ERP. We’d just continue using AppSheet.” This, Magrane says, is because AppSheet helps his team move with agility. “Depending on priority (and scope), I can create an app with AppSheet in a day or so,”  Magrane continues. “This is one of the main differentiators for AppSheet over an ERP. It comes down to time and flexibility.”  Looking ahead, AppSheet will play a critical role in Tutti Gourmet’s next growth phase. “I’m starting to do more with document management within AppSheet,” says Magrane. “I find it very helpful to upload documents, track workflows, and set permissions. This way, we can ensure things are traceable and protected by tiered access. AppSheet does that really well, and it will be very important as we prepare to move into a new facility and receive a high-end food safety certification. I can use AppSheet for everything.”                                                                                                                             Courtesy Tutti Gourmet Magrane offered the following advice for developers.  “With AppSheet you get what you put into it,” says Magrane. “If you take the time, participate in user forums, and look at their documentation, you can create something that’s very customizable and something that is really suited to meet whatever needs you may have. You can also create a very basic app in no time at all.”  For Tutti Gourmet, AppSheet is more than just a great tool. “The community and support around AppSheet are great,” Magrane concludes. “There’s been many times where I’ve banged my head against the wall, took a deep breath and went back to look over documentation or browse through their forums—and I always find what I’m looking for. You can really do almost anything with AppSheet.”  To build apps like the ones Tutti Gourmet uses, we encourage you to check out AppSheet’s sample inventory management app.  To learn more about AppSheet’s approach to manufacturing, click here. 

How to Build a Customer Experience Mobile App with Google Docs

    Customer service and communication has transformed in the past decade. With the growth of the internet, customers can now offer feedback in a matter of hours instead of days. And with the advancement of digital technology, real-time feedback is becoming standard practice for many industries. You can now easily create apps to document and record that feedback, and create a better experience for both customers and employees. Using an add-on application, you can transform your Google Docs into an interactive AppSheet app in just a few minutes.  This app will allow customers to enter their information, leave comments, upload photos, or even create an electronic signature. The business will be automatically notified any time this happens and employees, managers and owners can instantly view the feedback. This is a great tool if you have a template form or survey you want people to fill out to describe their experience with the business. This app takes only minutes to create: From your Google Doc, click "Add Ons" then "Get Add-Ons" and search for "AppSheet". Install the AppSheet add-on. If your Google Doc doesn't have text in it already, AppSheet will automatically generate a template you can use. You are free to customize the template or create your own to suit your needs.  Once you're satisfied, click on the "Prepare" button on the right-hand side. AppSheet will make sure your doc is compatible with the platform. Once it is, you can hit "Launch" to create the app. Anything that was in brackets in your template will now show up as interactive fields in the app that customers can use to enter their information. You can do a lot more to customize how this app integrates with and displays data sources. There are hundreds of ways to change the behavior and design of the app. It's entirely up to you based on the specifics of your business. For example, you can create a simple rule to generate an email notification any time a customer provides feedback in the app. Once you've finished editing the app, you can deploy it by clicking on "Not Deployed" on the left side of the screen. This will generate an email containing the download link for your app. You can now download it directly to your mobile device. This app is great for customer feedback, but can also be used for other kinds of field data, including things like quote proposals or safety reports. For a more advanced version of this concept, check out our "Field Survey" sample app using the button below.  Creating a great customer service experience is a never-ending quest for perfection. Apps that can help customers provide real-time feedback is a big step towards improving communication between businesses and the people they serve. 

How AppSheet Employees Use AppSheet to Power Their Business

We're proud to be the team behind AppSheet. But our pride comes not from building, selling or marketing the platform, but from using it. No one on the sales or marketing team at AppSheet has an engineering background. Yet when we join the company, our first task is to create an app with the platform and present it to the rest of the team. Understanding the process as a citizen developer is one of the most important aspects of our work. To that end, we've created a number of apps to power our work at AppSheet headquarters. A sort of "perfect circle of efficiency", if you will. In this post we're highlighting a few apps our team has created that helps make our day-to-day easier. We've created over a dozen apps so far for the AppSheet business. These apps are bundled together in what's called the "AppSheet Suite". These apps cover support, operations, project management, content creation, and more.  One of our most oft-used apps is the Employee Directory. It contains the contact information for every employee in the company. The list can be viewed by department (Engineering, Sales, Marketing) and can be edited as we add new faces to our team. You can make your own version by copying our sample app using the button below:   Another popular in-house app is the "Project Planner". Our Product Marketing Manager uses it as a way to organize daily tasks, including short and long-term objectives. The app displays the status of projects and their timeline to completion, color-coded for convenience. Employees can also add new tasks or share it with others who can leave comments. Our marketing team has found this app to be very useful when we are working on pushing out content, scheduling strategy meetings and interacting with our customers. It's broad enough to be used by almost any company with these goals.   The "Time Tracker" app helps our team keep on top of multiple customer projects at once and how much time we are spending on each one. Through the app we can filter by customers or by tasks, and see a simple display of how much time we've spent working on that project. This can be especially helpful for any company that juggles a number of clients or bills them by-the-hour for services.   As our company grows, we've been using the "Out of Office" app more to keep track of our team members' daily schedules. Whether they're working from home or out on vacation, they can note it in the app for all employees to see. The app tracks vacation time taken by employees, and shows upcoming vacations. Employees can add new entries by date using the drop-down menu, and classify them by the type of leave they're taking (paid, unpaid, sick leave, etc.) If needed, the employee can also add any notes to explain the absence. This is especially helpful for companies where some or all of the employees may be working remotely during the week. The real-time updates make sure everyone's on the same page (and no one is getting work calls during their vacation!). AppSheet is a business that has been made more efficient through the use of no-code apps, just like our customers. Our team is made up of citizen developers who embraced a new platform and have created their own apps to help them be more efficient at their jobs. We think this is the future of business in the digital age, and we're proud to share some of our most popular in-house apps with you. 

Create a mobile app with Geolocation and Google Maps in 5 minutes

  Anyone can build an app. It's our philosophy at AppSheet, and we want to support our citizen developers as they create their own customized apps for their businesses. In our continuing "Build an App" series, we're highlighting some of the most popular uses of our platform. In this post, we're creating a simple app with geolocation and Google Maps. Using your data, you can use this app to identify important locations and how to navigate to them. This app can be utilized in many ways, especially for those businesses that travel to multiple locations to perform services. If you've already created an AppSheet account, you can click on "My Apps" and "Create New Mobile App" to get started. If you haven't signed up yet, click the "Start for Free" button. Next, choose your data source. In this case, we're using Google Sheets, but you can use data from Excel, Dropbox, SmartSheet, Office365, mySQL, and a number of other programs. Click on the data you want to use and upload it into AppSheet's platform.     Everything that will go into our app comes from our spreadsheet. The spreadsheet we're using here has the name of the property, its latitude/longitudinal coordinates (you can also use standard addresses), an image, and any notes about the location (i.e. what services need to be performed there). AppSheet's platform will pull the data and automatically create the app. If you click on the "map view" you can see all the different locations noted with blue dots, indicating all the locations a field service technician would need to visit on that day.     If that's all you need, you can stop there, and you've made your own geolocation app. But if you're looking to add features and expand your app, keep reading. AppSheet has literally hundreds of options available to app creators, so they can build the best app for their business.     For example, you can use the "columns" feature in the app editor to specify what types of columns you have in your spreadsheet and how you want them to function. If you want different columns to act differently (like if you want a column to be searchable or if it has sensitive data) you can customize that. You can learn more about columns here. You can also create "slices" or subsets of the data. Slices can be used in a number of ways, like if you only want certain employees to see certain parts of the app, or if you want to create a UX view with only part of the table data. You can learn more about slices here.     You can also customize how your app looks. If you prefer a list or table view, you can change it in AppSheet's platforms to what makes the most sense for you. You can change the colors and branding to fit your business, and create "formatting rules" that will dictate how current and future data will look in your app. Click here for a step-by-step guide on changing your app's appearance. The "behavior" tab will also tell your app how to respond as tasks are completed. You can customize it to add or delete rows or jump to different views, depending on your preference. You can also create workflows. For example, when a task is completed the app can send out an email notification. It can also generate daily reports for supervisors. You can generate an instant messenger conversation within the app for all employees involved. If you need extra security, you can create a user sign-in feature and determine who has access to the app. You can connect it to various authenticators, like Google or AWS, to ensure the most secure access. You can use as many or as few of these features as you want to make your app uniquely suited to your needs. Learn more about what you can do with the behavior tab here.     Once you've customized the app to your specifications, you're ready to deploy it. On the left side of your screen, click the "Not Deployed" link, and then the button that says "Move to Deployed Status". Your app is now ready to use, and any users you've designated will receive an email notification and can download the app for their mobile or desktop device. Check out this video tutorial for a more in-depth look at the process. If you're not ready to build your own app from scratch, AppSheet has dozens of sample apps you can copy and customize for free to get started.         

How Kentucky Power Sparked a Digital Transformation with Workflow, Inspection and Incident Management Apps

Living off the grid is rarely an option these days. As people become more connected to digital technology, they require more power to fuel their lives. Kentucky Power knows this better than most. They celebrated their 100th anniversary this week, so they know how electricity has grown and shaped America. They're also a subsidiary for American Electric Power (AEP), one of the largest electric utility providers in the U.S. The eastern Kentucky-based company is responsible for getting more than 166,000 customers the connections and power they need in the world of modern technology. That's no small feat. Members of a "Lean Team" at Kentucky Power have been thinking about ways to simplify workflows and reduce waste since 2015. They started moving away from paper and digitizing their processes, but they wanted more. They aimed for a digital transformation of the company, where anything from inspection and incident reports to employee communications could be automated. To meet that goal, the team decided to start building apps to manage different aspects of company operations.  To build these apps, there were a few must-haves: a built-in barcode scanner to track the serial numbers of different parts, an app that could create new forms and work orders rather than just updating existing ones, and one with advanced security protocols. And most importantly, they needed it fast. The apps had to be both easy to build and easy to use. Paula Bell, one of the "Lean Team" members and the main app creator, had no coding experience. Yet she was able to create 10 apps for the company in just 9 months, without writing a single line of code. Some of these apps track failed or damaged poles, transformers, and circuits. Employees know when one is being taken in to be replaced, automating a process that used to be done on paper. When you've got 10,000 miles of power lines and 210,000 poles in mostly mountainous terrain, having that kind of information instantly can be crucial. Kentucky Power's inspection and repair workflows have been substantially improved since they switched to apps. There are fewer errors in reports, and information can be updated in real time. Perhaps best of all: no more paper. Companies like Kentucky Power know the value of conserving energy and reducing waste, and digital apps are a surefire answer for both. An added bonus: the employees are happier. Having everything they need to do their job in one place has upped the company morale. Plus, the apps are easy to use. Filling out an electronic form rather than a paper one saves both time and physical energy, helping workmen get jobs done faster and leaving fewer people in the dark. In my mind, it's inspiring to see energy companies like this one become pioneers in digitally transforming their industry. The company was able to adapt long-held practices into a more efficient process, providing better service to their customers. After 100 years of business, a company that participated in changing the American landscape is able to push forward change once again. If you want to read more about Kentucky Power's journey, you can find the entire case study here. And as always, comments and questions are greatly appreciated! 

The Energy Industry and IT: The Three Most Significant Digital Transformation Challenges

As energy companies embrace digital transformation, IT professionals are tasked with the complex challenge of modernizing their companies’ operations. Not only must IT professionals overhaul critical operations, they also have to navigate numerous risks—including maintaining network security, supporting grid stability, and controlling data access, to name a few. On top of that, these upgrades need to occur behind the scenes, without any disruption to customers. Despite these challenges, the energy industry is moving full-steam ahead when it comes to digitalization. Energy industry IT professionals and the companies they represent must adapt with the times. Otherwise, their businesses may become obsolete. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most significant challenges faced by IT professionals in the energy industry today. Harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) As the cost of IoT devices continues to decrease, energy companies are scrambling to build them into the fold. Cutting-edge IoT technologies like smart meters can lower costs and boost productivity for energy companies. One study, for example, predicts that globally, smart meter implementation will deliver savings of nearly $160 billion. However, some IT professionals are finding it difficult to implement an effective IoT strategy due to limited budgets. The same study indicates that the costs of implementing smart meters will exceed $100 billion. IT professionals also face difficulties when upper management hasn’t fully embraced digital transformation. In order to realize the full promise of a smart grid, for example, many other expensive upgrades have to take place—such as real-time demand response, integrated communications, sensing and measurement, Phasor Measurement Units, and power system automation, to name a few. What’s more, in order to analyze and respond to all of the data that’s being collected from IoT devices, IT professionals must also implement a centralized management platform and cloud storage—and some are feeling overwhelmed about having to store all of that data. Building a positive customer experience Gone are the days when energy consumers were happy plugging in their halogen desk lamps and paying their electric bills at the end of the month. According to Ian Wright, CMO at Deloitte, customers want energy efficiency programs, information, and choices, and they want their energy providers to help with all of these things. Providing choices, information, and transparency to the consumer is a tricky process. In the real world, it means that energy industry IT professionals must build and maintain reliable consumer-facing apps and web portals that allow customers to view energy usage and learn how to optimize their energy consumption. Customers will also expect to be able to contact customer support and securely pay their bills. According to an IBM study, the cost of building a bad app is devastating. Believe it or not, 47% of consumers will switch to the competition and 63% of consumers will tell their friends about their bad experience. All of this responsibility falls directly on energy industry IT professionals. Cybersecurity risks As you might expect, cybersecurity is a major concern among energy industry CEOs and IT professionals. In fact, a recent study by KPMG revealed that 48% of energy industry CEOs estimate they will be targeted by a cyberattack. The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), advises IT professionals to implement a robust cybersecurity risk management process that includes bi-directional risk information sharing and integrates with the electricity subsector cybersecurity capability maturity model (C2M2). There are also common sense cybersecurity tactics that IT professionals should deploy such as biometric scanning, enacting strong password policies across employee devices, and utilizing next-generation VPN technology, among other things. Why energy industry IT professionals love no-code apps Energy companies of all shapes and sizes are building custom no-code apps to lower costs, bolster security, and increase employee engagement. Not only do no-code platforms enable virtually any employee to create apps that revolutionize their businesses, they also allow for employees to stay connected with management via GPS capture and cloud integration. As an example, M&O Partners is a multinational sales hub that connects off-shore oil and gas buyers and suppliers. The company uses AppSheet to coordinate project management across 100 partnerships in 10 global markets. Another example is Northwest Edison, a smart lighting contractor that uses AppSheet to manage its concurrent projects and track its workflows. To learn more about how AppSheet can be customized to suit your energy business, drop us a line. We look forward to hearing from you!

UK Housing Association Builds Apps to Manage Backend Operations

Metworks has eliminated over 6,000 sheets of paper by switching to digital inspection reports. Here’s how AppSheet is making it happen.  Managing just a handful of residential properties can be a major undertaking. Overseeing several thousand properties, however, is an entirely different ballgame. Metworks is the in-house home repair contractor for Metropolitan Thames Valley, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing for roughly 120,000 residents across the U.K. Metropolitan Thames Valley owns about 57,000 properties, all of which require regular maintenance and upgrades.  As the company’s primary repair contractor, Metworks provides a variety of services ranging from electrical work, carpentry, and plumbing repairs to large-scale installations.The company also handles day-to-day emergency repairs and prepares vacant properties so they can be rented.  Altogether, Metworks has about 200 repair technicians and 70 office workers.  Challenge: Streamlining back office operations  Forget about what goes on in the field. Metworks has its work cut out for itself simply managing all of its concurrent projects and employees at residential sites. It takes a tremendous amount of backend communication and coordination to stay on top of everything. This is something that the company was struggling with up until recently, mainly because they were using paper and Excel to manage daily operations.  “Our supervisors were complaining about the loads of paperwork that they had to process,” says Gabriel Matei, who is a System Administrator at Metworks. “Our team members had to manually collect data and enter it into spreadsheets—a process that would take several days.”  Metworks needed to find a better way to manage tasks like product ordering, asset management, and employee requests. After some research, the company decided that it would be best to invest in a digital management system to streamline its operations.  Solution: Build custom applications After testing several leading "off-the-shelf" applications that didn’t really suit their requirements, Metworks decided to move forward with AppSheet’s no-code app platform and build its own custom apps instead. Gabriel was immediately able to start designing apps with AppSheet. It helped that he had a background in database management and a working knowledge of the Visual Basic Language, which is the programming language for Excel.  “It’s very easy to use AppSheet—especially if you are familiar with how database applications work.” Gabriel says.  Right away, Gabriel was able to design several back office applications which the team now uses for everything from processing overtime and paid leave requests to handling vehicle inspection audits and more.  One of the most helpful apps that Gabriel made was a vehicle inspection tracker.  “We have about 200 vans,” Gabrieli says. “It’s quite hard to get regular updates from drivers on their location and condition. So, we created an inspection app that expedites these critical communications. It took me about two weeks to design it and roll it out to our end users, and they were immediately productive using them.”  Using this app, a driver can move through a checklist during a vehicle inspection and digitally transmit the information to a supervisor who can either sign off or follow up with an additional inspection if it’s needed. When services like an oil change is needed, the Metworks’ leasing company will receive an email notification. The app creates a complete workflow that traverses multiple employees, departments, and even companies.  Results  As the vehicle inspection tracker shows, Metworks is now running a safer and more efficient operation. Now, there are workflows for all sorts of tasks, like ordering items needed to complete residential jobs and ensuring all company vehicles are in proper working order at a glance.  To date, Metworks has deployed over 30 apps. The company plans to develop even more. Ultimately, these apps enable a faster and more responsive management system for all of the residents that depend on Metworks for timely service. And at the same time, the company is also reducing paper waste by using apps. This year, Gabriel says, over 2,000 digital vehicle inspection reports have already been transmitted.  “That’s 2,000 sheets of paper we have eliminated with just our vehicle inspection app,” says Gabriel. “On top of that, we have processed over 3,000 overtime forms and over 1,000 equipment request forms. All of that data is inside of our application.” There’s another benefit for Metworks, too: stronger data security.  Metworks, like all companies operating in Europe, must abide by the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—which is one of the most comprehensive data privacy mandates in the world. Under GDPR, companies can face massive penalties for data breaches.  “We had a data risk assessment system before we rolled out AppSheet,” Gabriel says. “We decided that it was better to use an application instead of paper, which can get lost or left behind at a job site. Now, all of our information is centralized and we can control what information we share and who has access to it.”  Looking forward, Gabriel hopes to expand the company’s use of apps beyond just core services. “We want to go more into project management,” Gabriel says. “We have subcontractors working with us, and we want to set up a system for task management where we can assign a job and they can provide us with updates.”  As you can see, AppSheet is playing a vital role in Metworks’ modernization strategy. In fact, it’s their go-to solution for digital transformation. Ready to begin your digital transformation story? Contact AppSheet today to see how you can get your business to the next level with custom apps.  

The Top 5 Barcode and QR Code Scanner Apps - for iPhone, iPad, and Android Devices

  Whether you're using barcodes and QR codes to decode product information or to capture and store items for inventory management, it's important to have a robust app (and data storage system) in order to stay organized.    We’ve rounded up the leading QR code scanners and barcode scanner apps made for a variety of purposes. Now, you can choose one that works for you. image:     Top 5 Barcode and QR Scanner Apps AppSheet QR Code Reader and Scanner Sortly Scanbot Barcode Scanner Pro AppSheet Appsheet, or as we like to think of it, the perfect app maker. Looking to scan barcodes and QR codes to track inventory or manage your business? Look no further. AppSheet is used by thousands to better capture data within a business. You can easily scan, record, access, and share information through your apps. AppSheet itself isn't really an app in the traditional sense—it is actually an app development platform. You're in control from start to finish. And AppSheet is a no-code platform. All you have to do is upload your data from a spreadsheet, doc, or form to start. Appsheet has great templates that you can copy to create a barcode scanner app. Here is one. AppSheet is the only option on the list that lets you customize your app to fit the needs of your business. But if you're looking for something that's ready to go right out of the box, we found some great alternatives. QR Code Reader and Scanner Need a quick and easy scanner to find product information, prices, and reviews? This straightforward scanner app is user friendly and offers a clean interface. It scans all kinds of QR codes and barcodes, then saves those scans to your history. You can also save and share the codes right from your phone; each code is saved in your photos and can be sent by text, email, Twitter, or Facebook. Whether you're trying to make better purchases at the grocery store, look up an informational website, or quickly read through a digital instruction manual, this app can do it quickly and efficiently... no search engine required. This app also has a feature some others on the list do not: it allows you to generate your own QR code for URLs, numbers, events, and any other code generation tasks you might desire. This feature, and the fact that you can get it for free, puts QR Code Reader and Scanner near the top of our list. iTunes rating: 4.5/5 Not available for Android Price: Free Sortly Sortly calls itself the "ultimate inventory app". It lets you create a visual inventory of your items using photos, tags, notes, prices, QR labels or barcodes. Customize your lists and track details, all within the app. You can also import or export spreadsheet data from the app to PDF, Dropbox or Evernote. You can save, share, or print your data and sync it up between devices. If you're in the middle of a big move or want to keep your warehouse inventory organized, Sortly can work for both your individual and business needs. Works on both iOS and Android devices.   iTunes rating: 4.8/5 Google Play rating: 4/5 Price: Basic app is free, Sortly PLUS subscription with sync, export, web access, (including barcode and QR scanner) is $4.99/month.   Scanbot      Scanbot will scan practically anything. Documents, sketchbooks, QR codes, barcodes, receipts, whiteboards, you name it. Save your documents as a PDF or JPG, then auto-upload and instantly share to over a dozen applications, including Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox.   And if you want to edit your PDF, you can, right from the app. Scanbot will also fax documents for you without needing an actual fax machine. You can now send faxes from your phone to more than 50 countries.   iTunes rating: 4.8/5 Google Play rating: 4.2/5 Price: Basic app is free, Scanbot PRO with full scanner access $6.99.   Barcode Scanner Pro    This professional-grade app packs a punch. It can quickly and accurately scan, decode, create, and share QR codes or barcodes.   This app is a lot like the "QR Code Reader and Scanner" but for the Android.   You can create a QR code for your personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers. Share your QR codes on social media (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, WeChat, Line, E-mail, SMS) to your friends. And, the app keeps track of your scan history.   It's perfect for anyone who wants to digitize their inventory; you can now create and store codes for your products and store all the information on your phone for easy access anytime.   Google Play rating: 4.6/5 Not available for iOS Price: Free Final Thoughts Code scanners can sometimes differ significantly, and rightly so. It is important to find an app that suits your needs, whether it be tracking and management or information lookup and sourcing. Whether you prefer a wealth of information, higher security protocols, or the ability to customize depends on your business. Code scanners are not "one size fits all" and ultimately business owners must look to what best meets their specific needs.  Need more ideas for apps for your business? Checkout the AppSheet blog for useful tips, free templates, and more. 

Landscaping: Gelderman Digitizes Operations with 15 Mobile Apps to Provide Better Services to Customers

Making a beautiful outdoor area is their business, and business has never been better for Gelderman Landscape Services since they started using AppSheet! Gelderman provides commercial and residential landscape maintenance, landscape design, construction and snow removal services in Southern Ontario. Their customers and work crews are often spread across a number of different locations, and it can be hard to keep track of with old-fashioned spreadsheets. The company’s Business Process Administrator, Breanne Hulst came across AppSheet while working on a Google form. At the time, the company was sorting through mountains of paper every day to track nearly 150 employees across four different branches. The employees would log things like inspection reports, on-the-job-accidents and hazards, and then send all that information back to a central processing center. “There was just too much paper, which is really hard to manage when you have it coming from different locations,” Breanne says. That’s where AppSheet came in. Breanne has some experience with Excel but no programming background. With AppSheet’s no-code platform, Breanne was able to input her spreadsheet data and create an app that allowed crews to fill out a report detailing what work had been completed on a site that was then sent to the client. Communication is a priority, and these reports have helped bridge the gap and create better relations between Gelderman Landscape Services and its clients. In two years, Breanne has created 15 apps that help run different parts of the business, so Gelderman can focus on what it does best: performing top-quality property maintenance and construction services. Fifteen apps may seem like a lot, but Breanne says each one has an important job. Five of the apps deal with employee health and safety, and cover accidents, illnesses and on-the-job hazards. Employees who were involved in or witnessed any incidents can now immediately submit a report. Another app handles job site inspections, to make sure crews are keeping the work area safe and that they have all the tools they need to complete the job. There’s an app to organize invoices coming in from teams in the field, and one that handles vehicle and equipment inspections. One of the biggest apps has to do with customer relations. When crews are on the job, they use the app to send progress reports to the owner of the building so everyone stays on the same page. Breanne says that’s made a big difference. “We deal with property managers, and there can be one that has a few different condos they operate with. They want that communication, and I think a lot of companies promise that they’re going to tell customers what they’re doing but there’s nothing back it up.” While Breanne says the shift away from paper can be a tough one in the landscaping industry, it has some major benefits. Instead of just filing a report away never to be seen again, “We can analyze reports that have come in and actually do something with the information we’re getting.” And keeping the information all in one place helps the company track any issues and solve them quickly. “We’ve been able to analyze our health and safety reporting and say ‘if this is something we’re always seeing, we can work on that.’” Breanne’s favorite feature? How easy the app makes it to send out information quickly to the people that need it. “We’re able to play with the app so we can send out the right information, but not all the information. It really helps with our workflow.” Gelderman rolled out their newest app in August, and there are already plans for more, including one for a monthly workplace inspection and one for equipment repair. Her advice for anyone looking to make their own? Head to AppSheet’s YouTube page. “Watch the videos, they’re really helpful,” she says. “And then on AppSheet’s website there are a lot of sample apps that you can copy to get started.” Whether it’s an app to track package deliveries, keep track of inventory, or send notifications to employees, AppSheet can help you do all that and more. If you find yourself sifting through stacks of paper or scrolling lines of spreadsheets you may find, as Breanne did, that AppSheet can simplify the workday and help both large and small businesses run as smoothly as possible.