ElectCraft Power is a family-run business based in Port Kennedy, just south of Perth in Western Australia.
With 14 staff, the company mostly provides services to the WA network operator Western Power and also delivers high voltage, generator, mains upgrades and off-grid power systems for large clients including outdoor events such as the Big Day Out.
“We can certainly put in new light switches too,” laughs Managing Director Ed McCoppin, “but it’s not really what we’re about.”
Electcraft Power operates on a cloud-based administration system of industry-specific software responsive to the needs of electrical service providers that was developed by Ed himself.
Ed resolved to move his admin online about four years ago and looked around at competing job management software packages only briefly, knowing that he ‘needed something no-one else could provide’.
“I looked around but didn’t look too hard as I knew we needed something no-one else could provide as we’ve got unique need that come with the work we do,” he says.
He approached local software developers with his vision for job management software specific to electrical services. The resulting program is today known among the Electcraft Power team simply as ‘the job cloud’.
Ed says the software allows for greater functionality than off-the-shelf job management packages, including the ability to classify jobs by specific ‘type’ (installation work, construction etc) and record data on fleet vehicle assignment and usage.
The job cloud also stores historical project or site-specific information (such as length of cabling or generator capacity needed) to cut down future site inspections.
“We go out and look at a job and enter detail and upload photos, so the next person who goes out can reference the job file and basically already have completed a visual inspection before they get there,” says Ed.
“And hyperlinked on each job is the Google Maps address and the Street View.”
Each job appears on the central scheduling calendar and changes colour depending on its status – from the initial call, the first site visit, the safety risk assessment (jobs can’t progress until that’s been processed), all the way through to invoicing and close-out.
Subbies and employees are emailed as soon as they’re assigned a job and can sign in remotely to add notes, photographs and progress updates.
Staff availability is also cross-referenced with annual leave and subbies on call or currently undertaking training, or even meetings.
Ed says a key motivation to develop the software was to cut down on the ‘mobile archive’ of paperwork and documentation his team were lugging around.
“A big thing was the big file of AS3000 documentation and West Australian electrical requirements getting bashed around in the back of our trucks,” he says.
Using the system has condensed these expensive compliance, verification and testing documents onto a document cloud accessible via iPad or tablet.
“These documents were expensive and would get lost on jobs and need replacing,” says Ed.
“Now we’ve got iPads in bulletproof cases, we don’t even use even laptops with keyboards that could break.”
When a job is closed out, invoices are generated (complete with purchase orders and quote numbers) on the ‘billing tab’ for entry by hand into MYOB.
Ed says that while MYOB interactivity could be added to the system, for now he’s happy to have ‘a human check’ between the systems.
“There’s just another check and balance, a final human check, at that gateway between the two,” he says.
Ed says his system is fully customisable and that he’s looking at next building in report generation, the MYOB interface and more integration with timesheets.
“It works for us, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without it,” he says.
“And as we’ve built it, we can make adjustments and changes as we need to.”
Find out more about ElectCraft at their website.