Brodsky Construction is a Canadian earth-moving construction business out of Saskatoon, a city located in Saskatchewan, Canada. It constructs dams, lagoons, and roads. It grades and excavates. It does work related to drainage works, geotextile and geosynthetic applications, and granular material placement. (And soon it may have an app creation business as well!)
The company caters to cities, rural municipalities, and other government entities, developers, and landfill owners. It brings in about $3 million in annual revenue. And it has 20 employees during peak season.
While Brodsky Construction has a small office, most of its operations take place out in the field. Until recently, field staff used paper for recording and reference purposes. But using paper for performance reporting, safety documentation, and other field efforts was problematic.
“It was just a nightmare to keep track of all the paper for everything,” says John Brodsky, the company’s business manager. “I was chasing paper all around the countryside.”
So John began searching for a better solution. At first he thought buying pre-built apps was the way to go. John explored several pre-made options for the construction industry, however, none of them provided all of the functionality he was looking for. These apps allowed the company to go paperless, but did not support the level of customization they were looking for.
“They just didn’t do what we needed them to do,” John says. “So I was exploring all over the place, and I finally came across AppSheet and realized I could probably figure out how to do exactly what I wanted to do with it…. And turns out I could build us an app that did everything we needed to.”
John isn’t a programmer, but he is good with spreadsheets. That experience gave him an edge in using the AppSheet platform, which supports Google Sheets. And because Brodsky Construction has a seasonal business, John had time during the winter of 2016 to experiment with the AppSheet platform.
“The most important part for me was that AppSheet supports Google Sheets as a data source,” says John. “The fact that all the information was fed directly into a spreadsheet meant I could build all the reports that I wanted on the back end on my Google Sheets based on what was submitted in the app.”
Today Brodsky Construction has one AppSheet-powered app. All of Brodsky Construction’s employees and supervisors use it.
The app houses all the documentation workers need when they’re in the field. Workers also use the app to submit documentation. The AppSheet app also simplifies time cards and payroll efforts, helps supervisors with daily reports, and makes it easy for everybody to access safety-related materials.
That has enabled Brodsky Construction to contain its administration costs.
“The app has allowed us to keep equipment usage and fuel tracking up to date in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise,” said John. Brodsky Construction even sees AppSheet as a potential new revenue source.
John said if he didn’t have the AppSheet app, he’d need administrative help. “Right now I’m the only full-time office member,” he says. “I’d probably have to hire at least one more person to manage the administrative stuff right now. But AppSheet has allowed me to keep a handle on all the administrative stuff in the office by myself.”
For example, AppSheet helps John manage payroll—automatically updating Google Sheets payroll spreadsheets. “It used to take me a full day to do all the manual data entry with paper time cards and send it off to our accountants to remit payroll,” he explains. “Now I just have to click three drop-down menus on a spreadsheet and hit print, and I’ve got my payroll report. So that’s been a huge savings.” Here is how it works: Users submit their time card information in the app. The app feeds data into the payroll Google Sheet. From there, John generates payroll reports.
He adds that AppSheet has released a lot of helpful new features since he began using the platform two years ago. So John has released major updates of Brodsky Construction’s app every season since its launch.
The app has been such a success that Brodsky Construction workers have shared their experiences with some of the company’s contractors. And several of those contractors have expressed an interest in having AppSheet apps of their own.
Brodsky Construction has launched app pilot projects with two of those contractors. And it’s pitching mobile apps to others in its industry.
Meanwhile, John is considering building more apps for his company’s own use. He’s looking at one to address equipment maintenance and repair documentation. Another would help company accountants manage their paperless filing system.
Editor's notes: Below are two sample apps you will find useful. Look Under The Hood takes you to the App Editor, where you can see how the app was built. Copy and Customize allows you to copy the app, replace or edit the data, and customize the app. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and we will respond ASAP.
Gwen is a marketer with AppSheet. Prior to AppSheet, she was a digital marketer, a journalist and editor, a translator, and a college teacher. She has a master with Duke University in Environmental Science and an MBA with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.