Edwards Moving & Rigging

How Knack helped a hauling company
scale operations by centralizing their data

Heavy Data Hauling

Edwards Moving & Rigging is a heavy hauling and rigging company that operates across the United States.

They move massive, oversized components for clients, oftentimes in the power, nuclear, petrochemical, manufacturing, automotive, and over-the-road markets.

Edwards Moving logo

Big rigs mean big data. A large-scale operation like theirs means tracking a lot of different components, from sales to scheduling to transit to equipment breakdowns. Trying to piece together multiple software solutions to effectively manage all these moving parts was a constant struggle.

Rather than continually battle cookie-cutter software, they decided to to explore custom application options. This led them to Knack, which was user-friendly enough to give them the confidence that they could build exactly what they needed themselves, without coding.

Knack has now become the single application that streamlines their entire operation. It ties multiple departments together, manages data from across departments, and triggers workflows to run their business.

Organization

Edwards Moving & Rigging

Builder

Matt Warren

App

Operations and Project Management

Highlights

Centralized data collection and organization

Real time tracking

Cross-departmental workflows

"It was clear that it was user friendly and there was no coding necessary. I looked at it and thought, this stuff looks easy enough that I bet I could build a solution myself."

No More Cookie Cutters

When Matt Warren joined Edwards Moving, the team had invested in various softwares that had flopped.

Their timekeeping was mostly paper-based, and the project management process was struggling to keep up with their progress. Their operations calendar was based in Outlook and involved copying, pasting, and manually syncing.

One of Matt's first tasks was to start looking into software alternatives for the team. What they needed was a centralized project management solution instead of the patchwork one they were working with, and one that was flexible enough to accommodate an atypical use case.

"Heavy hauling and rigging presents a unique business model with unique needs," he explained. "It's not like you can just go buy a bunch of software for that -- we've got our own steps."

Image of a trucking performing an uphill haulEdwards Moving helps transport massive, oversized components for the power, nuclear, petrochemical, manufacturing, automotive, and over-the-road markets.

He kept running into cookie cutter solutions that didn't map to his team's processes. "I'd go through the list of features, thinking ‘this doesn't do anything, skip this, and we definitely don't need that.'"

Eventually he stumbled across Knack while looking for customizable templates. What he quickly discovered was just how much could be customized with Knack, and how much he could do himself.

"It was clear that it was user friendly and there was no coding necessary. I looked at it and thought, this stuff looks easy enough that I bet I could build a solution myself."

0 to 60

Matt's foray into Knack started out with a simple project form, designed to manage the scope and workflow of each project.

Four years later, that form is still in place, and now serves as the core of the team's data operations. As Matt became more familiar with the power of Knack, he steadily expanded the functionality to encompass more and more operations, including permits, equipment rentals, railcar tracking, and trucking loads.

He saw immediate value from ensuring that everything was updated live and in sync. "When our salesmen get a job number, that's immediately on the calendar, and that's immediately on our dispatch board, and it keeps everybody in total synchronization," Matt said.

Screenshot of Knack app showing payrollEdwards Moving employees' hours and paychecks are tracked in a Knack app.

As more and more data was managed in Knack, he started streamlining how that data moved across operations to trigger workflows. For example, a salesman can now award a new project, which will immediately trigger email notifications to the necessary departments. This action also makes that newly awarded project record accessible company-wide, meaning it's integrated with operations, permits, equipment rentals, engineering, safety, accounts receivable, sales management, file administration, and dispatch trucking.

Thanks to Knack's ability to combine this data, a workflow can be triggered to the right person at the right time. If equipment breaks down, a project superintendent can use their smartphone to log details and upload photos so the mechanic shop can take immediate action.

The team's schedule changes constantly, so the Knack project calendar is another key component to their centralized operations, allowing them to keep up-to-date on all moving parts and plan ahead. A TV monitor in the COO's office is dedicated solely to displaying the operations calendar.

Knack even helps with payroll. All hourly employees have the ability to submit time right from their smartphones for approval, and project superintendents can quickly enter a crew's time while integrating with job costing. Time is then passed through to the payroll department for processing, exported from Knack in a CSV file, and directly uploaded to the third party payroll provider's site.

"I was creating products that were line-for-line what we needed, no fluff", Matt explained. "It was a lot less intimidating and it really helped the users adapt and buy into the system."

Customized and Clutter-free

The key to this success was the level of customization possible with Knack. That customization helped Matt quickly show value and get buy in from the team.

When he was first starting out, one hurdle Matt foresaw was that the team was used to the way things were run. Change is never easy, after all, and Edwards Moving has been around since 1961.

"Introducing a new system is always hard," he admitted, "but I could quickly show how the changes actually helped them and made their jobs so much easier."

Image of the Edwards Moving operation teamThe Edwards Moving team frequently comes up with new uses for Knack across the company.

This value was obvious because Matt was building applications that were customized exactly to meet the requirements of the team: no more, no less.

"I was creating products that were line-for-line what we needed, no fluff", Matt explained. "It was a lot less intimidating and it really helped the users adapt and buy into the system. It began to sell itself because it made complete sense -- it was customized and clutter-free."

The ability to make changes on the fly has also come in handy, enabling Matt to quickly accommodate new requests and keep up with demands. A colleague can make a suggestion and Matt can put it into place that same day. "Whereas with a cookie cutter software, that'd involve a whole lot more than somebody calling me or stopping by my office with an idea."

"We're not jumping from software to software to software to meet all the demands of our company -- it's all powerful right behind that one login."

A Win-Win-Win

Matt has a concise summary of the advantages of using Knack: "It's a win-win-win".

Along with the benefits of centralizing their data and building customized applications, Knack has enabled Edwards Moving & Rigging to save time, scale capacity, and better optimize for their distributed workforce.

"I wish I could quantify the amount of time it's saved for us," Matt said. "We've been able to scale and take on so many more jobs, yet maintain the same staffing resources we had before."

Screenshot of Knack app showing repair ordersAs equipment needs repair, it's entered into Knack and updates are tracked in real time.

With a mobile workforce, a lot of users are accessing Knack via smartphone or tablet, and Knack's design and features scales so well to mobile devices that they doesn't miss a step just because they're logging in from the road. "It's great to have a centralized database," Matt explained, "because we're not all sitting around in an office. Knack helps us communicate."

User access has also proven especially helpful. Recalling a previous job at a CPA firm where he had to login to four different softwares every morning, Matt pointed out that "it's pretty awesome to have one login, and allow any user to go through that same place yet receive different access points. It allows for high quality control over segregation of duties."

The login that some team members use to view the project form is the same one foremen use to fill out hourly employees' time, and submit their overnights to get paid for their own per diems. "We're not jumping from software to software to software to meet all the demands of our company -- it's all powerful right behind that one login," Matt said.

"Every time you announce a new feature, my brain explodes with ideas on how we can use it."

The Ideas Keep Coming

When Matt first joined Edwards Moving, his title was broad: Accounting Manager. Four and a half years later, he's now Director of Process and Innovation. He also has another, unofficial title: Knack Expert.

"A lot of my role has been defined around the contribution of what Knack has done to our company," he explained. "Everybody identifies Knack with me, and people are always dropping by my office with requests and ideas for new apps."

That enthusiasm for Knack means that the app ideas keep coming, with no end in sight. The salesmen want to generate proposals, the fabrication team wants to submit requests for engineer approval, the safety department wants track employee qualifications and know with a click who is eligible to work at sensitive locations like a nuclear site.

"It's very much embraced by people who would normally be very resistant to change," Matt said. And the team has expanded operations and taken on more jobs, all while keeping better track of each department's commitments and processes. "It's a tool that empowers our whole company."

Matt's Knack to-do list is now dozens of items long, and it's not getting any shorter. For Matt, this is what makes building a custom application so exciting. "Every time you announce a new feature, my brain explodes with ideas on how we can use it."