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Gwen Chen
By
May 14, 2019

German Maintenance Specialist Builds Apps to Modernize Management

WR-maintenando provides window and sun protection maintenance services for large commercial buildings across Germany. The company’s network of technicians specializes in maintaining glass panels, window fittings, seals, and sun protection systems. 

It’s a busy operation. Customers typically have anywhere from 100 to 4,000 windows that need to be inspected and documented on an individual basis. Each year, the company completes about 3,000 projects.

Servicing windows, however, is the easy part.

Collecting, processing, and tracking data is the hard part. It’s an issue that recently came to a head, forcing the company to change its project management strategy entirely. 

AppSheet Customer-WR maintenando

Challenge: Modernizing Management
Until recently, WR-maintenando managed all of its projects with paper forms—a process that required a significant amount of backend labor from its office staff. Workers had to manually transcribe handwritten field notes and enter information into spreadsheets, which wasn’t exactly the most efficient approach.

“We had a breaking moment when we realized it was time to change,” says managing partner Juergen Memhoelzler. “It was getting more and more complicated to manage all of our backend tasks. It was clear that we needed to digitize our processes in order to expedite our operations and reduce mistakes.”

Solution: AppSheet

To modernize its processes, WR-maintenando initially tried using iAuditor, a common safety inspection checklist app.

“It was easy to use, but it couldn’t link to our spreadsheets,” adds customer support coordinator Helen Schwarz. “We had to store all of our data in their app, but we needed a solution that could interface directly with our spreadsheets.”

It was clear that WR-maintenando needed a no-code app platform. After all, hiring a developer wasn’t in the budget and neither Memhoelzer nor Schwarz had any coding experience. The company needed a solution that would allow them to build apps quickly and efficiently, and with minimal training.

So, when Memhoelzler stumbled on AppSheet while working on a Google sheet, he was immediately interested.

Memhoelzler started watching YouTube videos and browsing AppSheet’s blog and developer notes. As a result, he was able to learn how to digitize his lists and forms while creating formulas to process data.

In just a few weeks, Memhoelzler was rolling along with AppSheet.The team now has individual apps for all of its concurrent projects. 

The App

Instead of having to carry around stacks of paper, WR-maintenando’s technicians can enter all of their inspection data into a single easy-to-use app. Each project has its own app, each building has its own form, and each window has its own row in WR-maintenando’s spreadsheets.

AppSheet Customer_WR-maintenando

For each window, technicians answer a series of inspection questions before proceeding to the next one.

Here are some of the app’s underlying technical features:

  • References: The app uses AppSheet’s references function to connect buildings with floors, windows and rooms, allowing technicians to click on a room in the building and see how many windows there are, what types of windows there are, and what kinds of materials are needed for maintenance purposes.
  • Yes/No and Show: In some areas of the form, a technician will have to enter additional information. For example, if a window also requires sun protection maintenance, a technician will have to select “yes” on the app. Then, the individual will be prompted to move to another form to provide more details.
Show_if and Enumlist: Similarly, if a technician indicates a window is broken, a field will show with a dropdown list of common defects for the individual to choose. The technician can also add a new defect to the list.

Technicians can also search for windows based on specific problems and locations. Technicians can enter queries such as “broken glass,” allowing them to see all of the broken windows throughout a building on one digital interface. 

Another handy feature is the schedule function, which technicians can use to create a to-do list (from the Room view). When workers can’t perform maintenance on a particular window, like when a meeting is taking place in a boardroom, the scheduling feature lets them bump that appointment to another time. All scheduled meetings can be found on the Time view. 
Results

Since using AppSheet, WR-maintenando has significantly improved its overall operations.

First and foremost, the company has seen increased customer satisfaction when compared to the former paper-based management system.

“Customer feedback has been great,” says Memhoelzler. “Now, customers can see what we’re doing in real time. They can see which problems we are working on and when we are working on them.”

The team is also able to collect more information with their apps, as they can fit more data into a digital form than they could on a single piece of paper.

“A piece of paper only has 10 columns,” says Memhoelzler. “With our app, we can enter 40 or 50 columns, including pictures. This allows us to generate reports that are much more detailed.”

Plus, there are fewer data entry mistakes because information flows directly from the app into a spreadsheet.

Schwarz, who works in the company’s office, has noticed another equally important benefit: She and her fellow office workers are happier now that employees are using apps to enter information.

“I’m the one who was typing out handwritten lists,” Schwarz laments. “I couldn’t always read our technicians’ handwriting. Sometimes it would take me ages to type everything into a spreadsheet. So for me, personally, I love having an app. It makes the process much easier, less error-prone and more enjoyable.”

AppSheet has a variety of similar sample apps that you can explore, to help you started on your app creation journey.

Examples include:

You can browse all of AppSheet’s sample apps by clicking the button below.

AppSheet Sample Apps 

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