Case Study: Awning Company Management

Scheduling and Routing/Field Service Management

A premier awning provider wanted to lose their index cards and get their routes moving more efficiently and smoothly.

Laurel Awning Company has been providing high quality awnings and industrial fabrics to Pittsburgh area customers for over 100 years. Founded in Vandergrift, PA, this company has grown to encompass several other local providers, and now serves thousands of businesses and residential clients across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and southern New Jersey.

The Challenge

Laurel Awning Company has two important high volume seasons: Spring is when the awnings go up, and fall when they come down. In the “off” seasons, they manufacture, repair and clean these awnings. Before we started working with them, their business relied on a system of thousands of index cards with their customers’ contact information, the dates when awnings were put up and taken down, and how long each job would take – which amounted to 2,000+ appointments in six weeks each season.

They also used an outdated field service management program for scheduling and routing their installs and take downs. Therefore scheduling and dispatching had become a highly time-intensive process that was often inaccurate, causing frustration for both the installers and their customers.

The Solution

The company was already using QuickBooks®, so we started with the field service functionality of that program and recommended a phased approach to integrating all of the cards since there were so many records to manually transfer. For the spring season, we used a hybrid system including some cards and some digital files. By the fall, all of the data had been uploaded into the system, and we began the fine tuning and ensuring that all of the necessary tools were in place.

Making this information digitally accessible is saving Laurel Awning Company weeks of time that would normally be spent managing cards and fixing inaccurate routing. With all of the contacts updated and a new app based field service management system, record lookup and mapping are instantaneous and completely accurate.

From the BPA Team:

Although it was inefficient, the old system had been used for years so it was a hard habit to break. We knew that end user buy-in was critical to the adoption of the new process, so we told the company that they could use us to enforce implementation. This step turned out to be unnecessary since one employee in particular fully embraced the app and its benefits, and then inspired the others to adopt it as well. They had full scale adoption and acceptance.

As a result, the entire company gained great efficiencies, saving significant time and money – and providing their customers with even better service. They had already maintained a reputation of excellence among their customers and now their service could fully deliver upon that promise.

Client Endorsement

We were apprehensive about letting go of a system that had worked for years. But we knew that it would be much more efficient for the company in the long run. With BPA’s help, we were able to make the switch pretty painlessly, without the challenges we were expecting. And getting our routing right was extremely important, so we were thrilled that we could leverage our existing solution to handle that as well.

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