In StoneTalk Episode 41, Patrick speaks with Ryan Olson & Dan O’Keefe of Job Well Done.
Listen to this episode to learn more about:
- The value of helping field workers get targeted information
- Making it easier to take before/after photos
- Getting electronic signatures in the field
If you have stories or insights that you’d like to share with other fabricators, please reach out to Patrick.
Patrick: Welcome to StoneTalk, the podcast for countertop fabricators, brought to you by Moraware, makers of JobTracker scheduling software and CounterGo estimating software for countertop fabricators. I’m your host, Patrick Foley. Today I’m speaking with Ryan Olson and Dan O’Keefe from Job Well Done. Let’s give them a call.
Ryan: Hello, this is Ryan.
Patrick: Hey, Ryan. Patrick from Moraware. How are you?
Ryan: Hey, Patrick, I’m doing well. How are you doing?
Patrick: Good. Is this still a good time to chat?
Ryan: It is. I’m with Dan O’Keefe as well.
Dan: Hi, Patrick. How are you?
Patrick: Good. How are you, Dan?
Dan: I’m good.
Patrick: All right. Let’s jump in and tell me about Job Well Done. What problem does it solve for our mutual customers, fabricators?
Ryan: Yeah, great. Yeah, so this is Ryan Olson talking. Essentially, what Job Well Done is, is a field service software for the stone industry. So we’re a mobile web application and we alleviate the delay and disconnect of information between the office personnel, the templaters, the installers, and the customers. So a communication tool that captures the information in the field and sends it back to the office.
Patrick: Cool. And does that work with…how is that different from JobTracker? Does it work with it, does it replace it, a little bit of both?
Dan: Yeah, no, it works…actually, we consider more of a complement to JobTracker. So it’s a little bit of both, you know. Essentially, we give all of the guys from the field access to the information that they need, you know, ensure that each individual has specific information for each job that they’re on. And then all the documentation that they collect out in the field is basically, I like to call it real-time but it actually takes a couple seconds, sent back into JobTracker from wherever their location is.
Patrick: Nice. And what made you wanna solve that problem? How did you think to do this?
Dan: So it kinda started with…you know, Chris is another partner of ours. And Chris and I both have family in the industry.
Patrick: Oh, okay.
Dan: And so actually sitting around, you know, a holiday and different family meals and discussing work and what our capabilities are from the development side of things and understanding some of the problems and challenges that they see in their everyday work is kinda what started, you know, where we could come in and basically help them solve some of their problems that they were expressing to us. And that’s kinda how it evolved and helped us kinda set our pathway on how we were gonna develop Job Well Done.
Patrick: Nice. That makes a lot of sense. I can imagine there’s pros and cons to dealing with family. Have you had any bad aspects of selling to family members or has that been pretty much a positive?
Dan: It’s been pretty much a positive, depending on who you ask.
Dan: Of course, our wives are always thrilled to be sitting and hearing about work conversations all day long. But, you know, it’s positive all the way from our perspective. It’s a great opportunity for us to have real-time connection with the industry and get some really first-hand experience on what challenges continue to arise and how we can potentially continue to evolve our product to make sure we’re serving them as best as we can.
Patrick: Nice. And I know you’ve grown past your family because we’ve recommended multiple customers speak to you over the last year or so. And we’ve only heard good reviews so far, so is there anything about the customers outside your family, especially, that have surprised you? Is anything about the problem that you’re trying to solve or the customers themselves that weren’t exactly what you expected when you went into this?
Ryan: Sure, sure. I mean, I guess one of the first things that stick out, which is really a great thing, is just how nice it is to work with a lot of these customers. So as we help them, they help us.
Ryan: And we always ask for feedback and things that we can do better and areas of focus. Like any software company or technology company, there’s always a roadmap. And they’ve just been so helpful in helping address our niches and challenges. So, I mean, that’s a big thing that was surprising, which is a great thing. Another thing too was the user adoption of the system. Chris has developed a system that’s very easy to use. And so, when you have a lot of these folks out in the field capturing the information that they do, templating, installing, and so on, to have them be able to use Job Well Done without many hiccups, that’s also been a nice surprise.
And then quite frankly, some of it too, as we started in the industry, you know, our first customer wasn’t a Moraware customer. But as we started to get in, to find out how many shops use Moraware JobTracker was surprising. And obviously early on, we connected with Moraware quickly on to provide the value that we do to customers together. And then, another surprising thing is really how each customer uses Moraware differently.
Patrick: Yeah. Do more of your customers use Job Well Done on their phones or on their iPads? Or is it about 50-50 so far as you know?
Dan: It’s probably about 50-50, Patrick. You know, we started off with the intent of it being used on a handheld, on a phone, you know, whether it be a Samsung or an iPhone or really whatever phone, smartphones out there. But as it’s kinda continued to evolve a little bit and people are using the LT-55s pretty regularly in the template side of things and being able to log into Job Well Done on the tablets that they’re using with the templaters, it’s really helped and, you know, provided a little bit more real estate on the screen. And I think both are used pretty regularly. So it’s been great.
Patrick: So the LT-55, those surface tablets.
Patrick: Very much. So this isn’t a native iPhone or Android app. Is this a web-based app?
Dan: That’s correct, it’s a web-based app.
Patrick: So it works on anything.
Dan: Yeah, you can access it on anything that you can pull up an internet browser. Yup, correct.
Ryan: So we’ll see a lot of the folks in the office probably just pull it up on their browser and use it that way. The same look and feel, it’s gonna be responsive depending on the device that you’re on.
Patrick: So now, the only challenge with that, we’ve had customers who want to use our software at some of the new developments that don’t have great internet access. And when things are web-based, you know, our software requires an internet connection at all times. Did you do anything to work around that? Does yours require an internet connection at all times as well?
Dan: At this time, it certainly does, Patrick. And we are definitely challenged with…that is one of our biggest items on our roadmap to continue to show progress in that direction. We have come quite a long ways on creating an offline mode.
Patrick: Oh, are you really? Okay.
Dan: One of the challenges that we’re faced with as we continue to test this is the amount of storage that it needs on the individual user’s phones or tablets. And so that provides a challenge when you’re faced with a lot of contracted work and your company isn’t owning the phone services themselves and they’re asking that contractor to load the offline information.
Patrick: Got it.
Dan: So we’re kind of finding that we can simplify that process, and certainly it’s something we’re working towards because I think it’s a great opportunity for a lot of fabricators out there that we’ve asked that exact question.
Patrick: Just so people know, this is…so now, I can’t resist talking shop as software company to software company here a little bit. Everything we do is a moving target. So you have to, you know, Wayne Gretzky had the expression, you skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is. And yes, everyone wants software to work everywhere they need to be. As the cellular companies get better and better access, I mean, it’s a whole lot of work to make things work offline, a whole lot of work. If you’re working on that, I guarantee you’re figuring that out, right?
And this problem could just go away in two years. You don’t wanna spend a year solving a problem that is only good for a year or two. And especially when you add that economics in there. I, you know, finally have unlimited data from Verizon. So, you know, when there’s unlimited data, then that issue of sub-contractors having a pretty reasonable financial obstacle to want to for uploading data, well, that could be going away within a year or two as well. So it’s…just so people know, it’s not as easy as it sounds to solve. And I hear you.
Dan: Yeah, it certainly is a challenge and we’re not pushing it off. We’re facing it head on but there’s definitely, you know, a certain amount of resources we can push towards it and we wanna make sure that we’re also continuing to push our product to be as best as it can be in other areas as well. So yeah, I agree with your comments there, Patrick.
Ryan: And one thing that I’m sure that you guys heard to is all these when, when it might be available and customers target as well because we always wanna commit to having a quality product out first before committing to a timeline. And so it’s important that we have something that works, then bring it to market. And if that’s next month or next year versus today or tomorrow, then I’d much rather have it next month or next year and have something that works properly.
Patrick: I hear you. Well, let’s talk about some of the things your software does do. And as I said, I’ve always been intrigued because I know you’ve filled in some of the gaps that people have mentioned to us that they wish our software would do in the field. So let’s start with the basics. Do you handle pictures, for example? Do you… you know, I know a lot of people want to do before and after photos on a job. Is that one of the things your software helps with?
Dan: Yeah, certainly. So I’ll step back and kinda talk about how we evolved from where we started, I guess, because photos was one of the first things we focused on, you know? Our two main things we started building Job Well Done around was scheduled distribution and distribution of information and then photo documentation. And again, one of our first customers was not necessarily a Moraware customer, so our focus was, you know, how we get information from the project management source in the office and distribute it via email notification or via Job Well Done home screens and making sure that everyone in the field had the access to that information.
So not only that but also taking your calendar views that you have and distributing them every night to each individual user and allowing them to see where they’re headed and kinda giving them that schedule notification, whether that be next day emails or next two days in where their schedule is headed. So a nice communication tool in that aspect, and then photos, like you said, was our big one. We wanted to make sure that photos were getting captured, were getting labeled correctly, and then were getting sent back to the office in a timely manner without having to do any dual entry.
Dan: And so, what we’re able to do is as the photo is taken in the homeowner’s home, it uploads into JobTracker the moment the photo is taken with a label. So before picture, they had a preset label before picture. They pulled up the camera on their phones, they snapped the picture, and then they move on to do whatever the next activity is they need to do. And that photo automatically uploads into the job file attachments for that job in Moraware that an individual in the office could go and look at immediately.
Patrick: Now, can I pause a second there? There’s an annoying nit in iOS, iPhone and iPad browsers that all uploaded files get renamed to the same thing, which makes iPhones not work all that great for uploading pictures. In fact, they don’t work well at all with JobTracker alone because you can only essentially upload one picture. Does your software…did you do a workaround on the back end to make it so that problem goes away? Does your software do before and after photos with iPhones and iPads specifically?
Dan: Yes, yeah. We do have iPhone and iOS users using it. We’ve kinda done a workaround to allow… one of the issues that happens within iOS is when you capture the photo, sometimes it doesn’t orient it correctly when it saves it to an attachment or into a job file. We’ve been able to create a workaround there so that it always orientates it in the correct direction. So it orients the photo correctly.
Dan: Above that, we’ve also been able to make sure that our pre-labeled selections go over and label them based on the photo. And then you asked about dual or multiple photos, we do have an area where you can, you know, select multiple photos–say your installer took three or four photos at the beginning of the job–they can go through our service, select multiple photos, and label them all the same label if it’s all the before pictures. And they’ll load them over into JobTracker all at once, at the same time, as well.
Patrick: Nice. And again, that’s an area where, because you’re focused more on a very specific part of the process, the people in the field, you’re gonna come across that problem and be forced to do those workarounds and you’ve solved them. Wonderful, thank you. With us, it’s on our list but it hasn’t been the highest priority. There are other requests that have remained well above that in the priorities of customers. But that’s the advantage of specializing this way. That’s really cool. So tell me, you were talking about evolving, what else does your software do? What did you add after pictures?
Dan: So again, we got the pictures and we got that figured out. And then, when we [inaudible 00:13:59] more to Moraware, we recognized the multiple opportunities for forms. Every customer seems to use your forms differently, and I think it’s an excellent product that you guys have put in place. And so we’ve been able to basically give access to those forms in the field, and in either read-only or in the ability to manipulate those forms through Job Well Done in certain areas. So we can basically restrict fields that they need to fill out or they don’t need to fill out and then allow that to adjust back in Moraware. So say if a template form that they’re using during their template, they can answer all of their information or not, or only have it as a read-only form for the job information. So that’s one area, and then collecting customer signatures on that as well and creating…
Patrick: Hang on. Let me pause and emphasize the difference on that again. I remember talking with you about those forms a while back because, again, our security model is such that if you have access to one form, you have access to all forms. And if you can edit one form, you can edit all forms, and same with all fields. So if I understand correctly, you built a more granular security model on top of that, correct? So that you can say, you can make it so your field people only effectively have access to some forms on a job and even potentially can only edit some fields. Is that correct?
Dan: That’s correct, yeah. So…
Patrick: That’s really valuable.
Dan: We term it, you know, restricted access, basically, is what we tried to use for each user role. And then we use the other term, which is called whitelist or blacklisting in certain files and easy words that’s allowing access to specific files. Or…you know, one of the things that some of the customers focus on is they…whether it be a purchase order or specific in-house information that, whether it’d be contractors or even their only installers that they don’t want access to, we can certainly restrict that access, whether it’d be a job file attachment or whether it’d be one of your forms.
Patrick: Nice. And then you were about to talk about signatures. What did you do with signatures?
Dan: So signatures turned out to be a little bit of a challenge with your forms. But we’ve seemed to figure out these days a little bit of a workaround. But you can actually have the customers sign any of the forms or custom forms that we put together, and then that’ll get captured and stored as a PDF labeled as that form, customer signature, in your job file attachments.
Patrick: That’s pretty cool.
Dan: Yeah. So for example, one of our customers wanted a slab viewing sign off. So either the customer is gonna say, “Yes, I wanna come back and view the slab,” or, “No, go ahead and fabricate my job without us picking out a slab.” And so we’ve created a custom sign off there, so the customer can go through, sign their name, print it, with that fabricator’s language in that form, and then that gets sent over and attached in the job file attachment immediately. So you have that as backup for your customers.
Patrick: That sounds really attractive. Again, this is something that I know many customers have asked for. So I hope people hearing this call you and find out more. I do have to ask on the signatures. Does that work both on the iPad or both on a tablet and a phone as well?
Dan: Yeah, that’s the benefit of having it through the web application is basically it works on any touchscreen device, I should say.
Dan: So if you have a smartphone that’s a touchscreen device, you’ll be able to sign it using a finger or a stylus or whatever the guys are using in the field, or gals.
Patrick: That’s awesome. And then you also mentioned something about email notifications. How do those work? Who gets notified, customers or field crew?
Dan: Well, that’s a pretty broad question as you ask it there. But…so we set that up, we can customize who those go to. So, you know, we allow for email notifications to go out to the field crew to tell them when their jobs are gonna be. We have capability to send customer emails to let them know that your installer or templater is on their way. We have the ability to, once the job is complete, to send email notifications back to the sales reps by account, so that each salesperson has the ability to do their sales follow-up as quickly as possible.
Dan: And then we also have issue generation within the jobs. So as an issue arises and they select the photo documentation and enter in an issue resolution, they can send…just hit submit issue, and that would immediately send it out to your fabrication manager, your customer service representative. And so quickly communicating issues across the board for the company is another way we do email notification all through Job Well Done.
Patrick: That’s pretty cool. Any other broad features you wanna mention? Anything else the software does, or does that kinda cover the breadth of what it does so far?
Dan: That covers a lot of it. You know, our main focus is trying to improve communication and making sure that everything is somewhat standardized across the company as they’re going through. You know, we tailor a few different forms based off of whether it’s big-box retail type business and then also go towards the home builders and making sure that we’re able to communicate directly to the superintendent of that development or the project manager of that development. You know, we focus really hard on making sure that whoever you need to communicate to is we’re available to help making sure that it’s set up correctly in Moraware so that we can access that information either by account or by job and making sure that email notifications are going to the correct parties.
Patrick: Very good. And as your company grows, I’m interested in where you’re spending most of your attention these days as business owners. Are you more focused on understanding the problem or more of the problems that your customers have of improving communication? Or do you have, you know, a big list of improvements that you wanna continue to make, and therefore you’re pretty heads down on improving the solution? Or is it still kind of a mix of both as you go forward?
Ryan: Yeah, I think it’s really a mix of both. I think that we understand a problem that’s out there right now and Job Well Done right now addresses that. And the more and more folks who are being on-boarded and the more that we work with and the feedback that we get, makes us realize and understand more problems are out there and better ways that we can help. So I think, for a lot of reasons why people might knock on our door and have interest in us, we can solve that problem. But with anything, the deeper you get, the more layers you pull or peel back, just more areas of opportunity for us to help.
You know, a few things that it brought up to us, areas that people might like to see but maybe we don’t necessarily go in, or, you know, areas that we need a little bit better understanding around is, you know, one is synchronous flow. More and more folks are talking to us about that and how we can leverage Job Well Done to a system with their pursuit in synchronous flow. That’s something that we need to better understand and do a better job at.
Ryan: Another thing too, kind of what we mentioned before, you know, for a little bit is really go into the offline mode or the native area, right? With all this new construction and area as a top service but, you know, we touched on that a little bit ago. Another thing too that a lot of people ask that we’d love to understand–we got like some workarounds around–is activity duration. How long our folks actually at a job, doing the install, doing the measurement, and so on, right? But it’s a fine line between what we do as a communication piece or as field service software for the stone industry versus being a timekeeping software.
Then if you wanna get decent at the timekeeping, you know, each state has their different rules and regulations that just opens up a whole new can of worms. So there’s a fine line with what we do and how we can provide value addressing those concerns and understanding that problem in ways that we can help versus becoming something that we’re not really trying to be, I guess.
Patrick: Right. And even as you say that, it brings up other ideas and other things I’ve heard fabricators mention that they…problems that they would like solved in a more integrated way across different pieces of software come together more is, for example, knowing where your trucks are. So you mentioned understanding how much time your employees are spending is one thing, but also knowing where they are at this moment is interesting. And there are GPS-based tools on trucks that let people know, “Okay, where is this thing,” but it’s a completely different piece of software that has nothing to do with ours, etc. That’s, again, trucks mean field people. I could see you eventually finding out about problems like that from customers.
Ryan: Exactly. I mean, it’s certainly a complementary solution, complementary to what we do. So I certainly understand where the questions come from and why that concern is definitely being addressed. Yeah, and that just goes back to better understanding what problems are out there and how we can attack it because, yeah, the whole GPS, that is another part. And like you said too, there are a lot of tools out there that can do it. But a lot of days, right, everybody wants, you know, the less number of solutions that their folks are working with, the better.
Patrick: Exactly. Just as more integrated as possible.
Dan: Right, right. So one of the areas along the lines of where we’re headed is, one, we wanna continue to focus on developing Job Well Done. You know, it’s…certainly, it’s not perfect but we feel that we’ve been able to manage the issues at hand and be able to solve the issues with Job Well Done. So that’s more of our main focus is continue to develop that product, but we have started to create some test products and we’re demoing some products that is more customer experience based. Whether that’d be, you know, your own Moraware customers as the fabricators, but going even deeper and going into the kitchen and bath dealers and going all the way to the homeowners and allowing them to have almost like a Domino’s Pizza tracker look at their job on, you know, where their job is and seeing that activity to try to hopefully eliminate some of the unnecessary phone calls that may occur, wondering where their job’s located to the office. If they can have access and visibility into that, we think that there might be an opportunity there to just improve that customer experience overall.
Patrick: Yeah, that’s another great idea. And I’ve used the shorthand term customer portal, the idea of… I remember, a few years ago when I got my house refinanced several years ago and used Quicken Loans, boy, they had a great customer experience. My login experience understanding what was going on, that takes work to make that work well, right? It’s a great problem. Probably the reason we haven’t solved that yet is not enough people have asked for it, or they ask a different kind of question. If you’re communicating with fabricators in a different form, if you will, or talking to them about different parts of a problem, it may come to you before it really comes to us what is the right way to solve that problem. So I think that would be great if you guys moved the ball forward in that area.
Dan: Yeah, I think…again, it’s just really what we’re trying to do and what we recognized in working, you know, really alongside with Moraware as much as we tend is being able to continue to provide value for your customers. I mean, really, we only have one non-Moraware customer, everyone else is Moraware customers. And they’ve, again, like Ryan said earlier, they’re all doing things a little bit differently because Moraware is very open to individual customizations, whether it’d be fields or forms. And I think that’s a great value to your product.
And so for us to be able to tailor and making sure that we’re providing the best value as we can to continue to help your own customers to see that value is kind of our end goal. So, you know, that customer portal idea is something that we’ve been tinkering with a little bit here and there. But again, mainly focused on trying to continue to evolve our product and making sure that it is as simple to use as possible for the folks that are out in the field.
Ryan: Yes. Some of the things that we hear too, specific to Job Well Done and areas of interest from a lot of customers are instead of pictures, take actual videos, right?
Ryan: So now I’m taking a video of my current job and using that versus the pictures. Another thing that we get asked too that we’ve looked into is just the localization with the Spanish language on Job Well Done as well. So a couple areas too that are of interest that get brought up often. And again, it’s that roadmap, right?
Ryan: And [inaudible 00:26:41] right there, we have… things might change and get adjusted but things that we wanna work toward.
Patrick: That’s…the localization, Spanish language especially, that’s, again, a great idea. It’s a completely different skill set that that involves as well. You need a different kind of person onboard in order to be able to implement that. So that’s yet another challenge. Even, you know, we’ve been in business for more than 15 years now, I believe. And today still, the number one place that our development goes is just keeping things up and running. So, you know, software that we wrote more than a decade ago still runs people’s business and we have to make sure it keeps running their business. So as you get more successful going forward, that is one of the challenges. There are more worthy ideas to implement than there are time and resources to implement them. That’s just simply always gonna be a challenge.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s it. I think we can all agree that focus in our current customers is gonna be the best for everybody involved.
Patrick: Great way to look at it. As we always say, once we’re done solving the problems, these set of customers have asked us to solve, then we’ll start thinking about a different set of customers. But we are about 5% of the way along that path, we believe. We think we have a long, long way to go.
Ryan: Sure, yeah.
Patrick: I do have…just because I thought it was interesting, as we’re talking I remembered something somebody asked for just in this last week, the idea of voice notes while driving. They want to enter notes onto JobTracker jobs while they’re driving. I’m like, “You know, there’s not a great way to do that.” Maybe you guys won’t be the people to solve that problem, but it’s interesting that you could optimize an interface for a manager type person where, you know, getting to a job and then just making it easy to hit the little microphone on your phone so that you can record it, you know?
I don’t know, I just thought…even that was an interesting problem. And they wanted voice to text. So somehow connecting the dots between Siri or Cortana or Hey Google and getting it into JobTracker, interesting problem. I don’t know if it’s enough to make money off of but it certainly is yet another interesting problem that I heard just in the last couple days.
Ryan: Yeah, that is interesting. Makes me wonder too right away, I mean, if even just uploading the file that has the audio-only, if that would do a good enough job for, you know, like a beginning of a MVP or, you know, minimum viable product, to have out there versus actually having even transcribed to text. But that’s interesting. I don’t think we’ve heard that one yet.
Patrick: Yeah. Which, again, that is the sign that I wouldn’t actually spend too much effort on it until more people say it. You need 10 or 20 people.
Ryan: Yeah, I mean, we’re looking at each other when you say that, like, “Oh, interesting.”
Patrick: It’s just an example of there are so many great ideas that our customers have, that it’s…you know, there’s no way to do all of them but it’s sure fun to think about all of them.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.
Dan: But that’s part of the…I mean, we’ve been having a lot of fun with this and everyone that we’ve talked to has all these… I mean, really, it’s crazy. We’ll talk to, you know, 15 to 20 people throughout a couple weeks easily. And all of a sudden, you hear something on that 20th call that you never heard through the first 15 to 20. And all of a sudden it’s like, “Well, how come no one else asked that same question? That’s a great question,” or, you know, “No one else brought that idea, that’s an excellent idea.” And it’s, you know, does that something we focus on strictly, or do we put that on the map somewhere? And kind of weeding through all the great ideas that we hear from many different fabricators is pretty fun. We have a lot of fun talking to everybody.
Patrick: That makes me glad to hear. I think it’s quite fun as well. So that’s really cool. Any other thoughts or ideas or questions for me before we wrap?
Dan: No, I don’t think so. I know this was an excellent call. I really appreciate talking with you, Patrick. And I think that, you know, first of all, just thanks a lot for the opportunity to have this podcast and to talk through what we do. And thanks for continuing the opportunity to help us provide value to your customers. I mean, that’s something that we’re really enjoying and gonna continue to enjoy as we grow even further along in our business and as a business relationship with you guys.
Patrick: It was absolutely my pleasure and I’m definitely cheering you on because, from what I can tell, you do provide value to our customers. So I hope this gives another little push of people reaching out to you and finding out if you can help their company specifically.
Patrick: So good luck to both of you and we’ll talk to you more soon.
Ryan: Thank you, Patrick.
Patrick: Thanks for listening to StoneTalk, the podcast for countertop fabricators. If you liked this episode, be sure to visit stonetalk.org or subscribe to StoneTalk in iTunes for more. Visit the StoneTalk show Facebook page to join in the conversation and follow @stonetalkshow on Twitter. StoneTalk is brought to you by Moraware, makers of JobTracker scheduling software and CounterGo estimating software for countertop fabricators. I’m your host, Patrick Foley, and I look forward to spending time with you again on the next episode of StoneTalk.