Designing and installing high-voltage power lines and substations in rural areas means the danger of electrocution is always present and keeping employees up-to-date on their certifications could be a matter of life or death.
In addition to the physical dangers, working in remote areas in Africa challenges CONCO because it means that employees are installing the very thing they need to do business—electricity. Lack of electricity means workers’ rely on Nintex Mobile to get the job done safely, on time and on budget, says Bryan Kimmel, CONCO Chief Information Officer.
In locations where a mobile phone is a luxury, CONCO accesses personal earth stations (PES) with uplinks to a low-orbiting satellite system. But sometimes, even that doesn't work and CONCO employees are forced to cache the documents until they get to where they have a signal.
"That's why Nintex Mobile capabilities have started to become very valuable to us, because our employees can now capture everything that they need to capture," Kimmel says.
When Kimmel first joined CONCO in 2011, connectivity and the dangers of electrocution weren't his only concerns. At the time, the company used file servers and folders to track more than 300 tenders a year.
In addition, securing new projects meant providing proof of the required certifications for any employees slated to do work.
Kimmel looked to SharePoint as a possible solution to help manage the work and increase efficiency, but GT Consulting suggested a more easy-to-use option – workflow automation with Nintex Workflow, Nintex Forms and Nintex Mobile.
While Kimmel considered other workflow options, three things made him choose Nintex: ease of use, the visual interface and the high value. Working in areas with limited connectivity led Kimmel to choose an on-premises deployment and Nintex Mobile solution.
The solution saves over 5,000 labor-hours each year and helps prevent permission mistakes, meaning additional savings and protection from corporate espionage.
GT Consulting helped CONCO rebuild project forms with Nintex Forms that automatically generate metadata, enabling CONCO's staff to easily search the more than 300 current tenders and hundreds of past projects. This rebuild increased efficiency up to 20 percent for the Tendering Department alone. This leap in speed and accuracy gives CONCO a competitive edge, increasing credibility with existing clients and attracting new ones.
All the technical capacity in the world doesn't do any good if employees won't use it. For CONCO, the route to employee adoption was through their stomachs. Finding a delicious lunch can prove a challenge, even in a city. Choosing what to eat, driving to pick up the food, and waiting in lunch crowds at restaurants can also waste valuable time and lead to lost productivity.
CONCO wanted to help by providing lunch for employees. Previously, they did this by ordering food in bulk each day. However, much of the food was wasted because some employees weren’t working in the office that day or didn’t like the food choices. Kimmel negotiated healthier options with a local source, provided the employees with a lunch allowance, and gave them the ability to have their orders automatically deducted from their paychecks. There was just one catch—to get the lunch, they had to order it through SharePoint.
This positive reward for using SharePoint worked like a charm and quickly made staff realize that if they could get lunch via SharePoint, perhaps they could use SharePoint to get other things more efficiently. (And Kimmel was pleased when he saw an immediate 25 percent savings in lunch costs by getting orders only from staff who were actually working in the office.)
Months later, CONCO is using 50 workflows, but Kimmel says the demand for them is increasing algorithmically.
CONCO currently digitizes timesheets, which used to be scanned and uploaded in the field and then re-entered to the tune of 400 hours a month by five payroll staff. Soon, Kimmel also expects to automate expense requests, which will make field managers happy because they often work in cash-only environments and can't get additional funding until their expense reports are approved.
The benefits of Nintex Mobile, Nintex Workflow and Nintex Forms have shifted the company’s strategic focus, Kimmel says.
“We’ve become more active in enhancing processes, in speed-to-delivery of our processes, and in speed-to-delivery against our audit processes,” he says. "It's becoming the differentiator with our clients. Our clients know that we have the information at our fingertips, we're able to record the information, and we're able to retrieve the information so much quicker than most of our competitors.”
CONCO needed to shift from manual-laden permission processes and reporting when serving areas with unreliable electrical and Internet infrastructure, and also building in reliable speed for employees in well-served areas.
GT Consulting provided a hybrid solution using Nintex Workflow, Nintex Forms and Nintex Mobile on Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 platforms.
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