Royal Aire is a California-based heating, air conditioning & solar services provider. They do more than just the typical HVAC installations, but also design and implement custom solar projects for clients. Joshua Merrell oversees the solar department as project manager, but also handles some customer service requests.
- Using spreadsheets to manage the entire process
- Nobody in the company knew what step particular project were in
- Not everyone is on the same level of tech savvy
- User-friendly as possible
- Better transparency
- Faster turnaround
- Increased accountability
- Greater visibility into how projects flow
Blinded by spreadsheets
When Joshua Merrell, project manager of the solar division, joined Royal Aire, he immediately noticed the team was using spreadsheets to manage the entire process, but with only one person actually looking at it.
It was kind of a bottleneck the way that we were managing it previously, which was we had one person who was seeing all of the installation projects through on the HVAC and on the solar side. And it was all being done on a spreadsheet. Basically all they were doing was entering dates in the spreadsheet when the next step was happening, which doesn't really provide a lot of information and not only that, but it was only being viewed by one person in the company.
Every new solar project that comes to Joshua, however, has several steps and stakeholders involved — including everything from getting the right permits to installation to inspections after it’s installed. Naturally, the spreadsheets caused internal confusion about each project’s status.
Nobody else in the company really knew what step any particular project was in. And there are quite a few steps that go along with every project. There could be 15 things that need to be done and maybe a customer has a question or someone else in the company, maybe the salespeople want to know where their projects are at or the installation manager wants to know why a permit is hanging up. They had no way of knowing that really because the way it was being handled was just all in one spreadsheet.
Joshua also found that using spreadsheets to manage each project actually increased the amount of time it took to actually complete a project. And with longer project timelines, the risk of
MThe problem with just using the spreadsheet I'd say the main problem was that the life span of one of the projects was way longer because the person managing the spreadsheet wouldn't be able to stay on task as easily. It's pretty important that all of these tasks get done ASAP — especially when you're talking about the HVAC side of things, you have installations that have to go in right away if somebody doesn’t have heat or air conditioning.
Seeing the complete picture
When beginning his search, Joshua tried, demoed, and tested dozens of project management tools.
I looked into Monday, I looked into Trello, I looked into JIRA. I'm kind of experimenting with new ones and yeah, and that's how I came across Rindle. I was basically testing maybe up to 15 of them that I was doing demos for and Rindle was probably the most user friendly I'd say that I found.
Joshua knew that he would need something as user-friendly as possible since he has team members coming from different levels of experience with technology and project management tools. Otherwise, he risked the team not adopting the platform.
Rindle was probably the most user friendly I'd say that I found. And since we’re in the air conditioning industry, not everyone is on the same level of tech savvy. I feel like that was my main priority, finding something that would be able to easily be adapted to by everybody in the company.
Beyond its user-friendliness, he also needed a project management tool that could give him the complete bird’s eye view of every project in the business. He was able to accomplish that with Rindle.
Having everybody in the loop at all times speeds up the whole process and that's obviously better for the customers and it's better for everybody involved. I feel like that was one of the main benefits as well as like I was mentioning before, being able to write entire comments in and tag other people and get them involved if need be.
Transparency and accountability are also important to Joshua and his team.
The reality is that people need to be able to see where everything is in the project. There are a lot of different people that are involved in all of these installations and when we have over a hundred different projects going at any time. The more transparency, the better.
In the spreadsheet all you can really do is add a comment to a cell but when you basically need a comment in every cell, it would be hard to find out what has been done by just looking at a spreadsheet versus whereas in Rindle we can actually have the project move itself through the entire process when certain requirements are met.
Plus, Joshua discovered that Automations could help him and his team focus less on managing projects and more on the actual work. By automating certain steps and notifications in the process, Joshua is able to save his team the stress of managing the project management tool and keep everyone focused on the next task.
I like how you can easily set a task up and then set an automation to move the job to the next step or is that next phase. By just having somebody check a box, step one needs to be done, and the job is going to move to phase two. After steps one, two, and three are met and then somebody checks those three boxes, the job will move itself along. There's not really a lot of manual things that need to be done within the UI, after you set it up initially.
Faster turnaround and increased accountability
Joshua and the Royal Aire team now have vastly greater visibility into how projects flow through every department thanks to Rindle.
It's definitely made a huge impact on accountability and transparency and that was our main focus. The transparency and accountability and the efficiency has just gone up immensely.
And thanks to using Automations, Royal Aire has saved time by automating the manual, offline communication about the status of a project.
I think that the process has been much faster for all of our projects in general. It's definitely been great at decreasing the time it takes for a project to go from start to finish and also with keeping people accountable and everybody and just the job itself, being transparent to where anyone can just log into Rindle and see where a specific job is at any given time.
Joshua has now automated the steps in their process in a user-friendly, easy-to-use environment for every staff member while still achieving their visibility and organizational goals. We think we can help you accomplish something similar. Click here to book a demo.