by Mary K. Pratt

Construction Company Looks to the Cloud for Workforce Scheduling

Jul 29, 20132 mins
Cloud ComputingMarketsSaaS

Ledcor finds that a spreadsheet can't handle the complex 'chess game' of scheduling 800 technicians in the field, so it deploys a cloud-based workforce-management system.

Ledcor Technical Services, which lays cable for North America’s largest communications networks, needed a better way to schedule more than 800 field technicians, and those workers needed a better way to track their jobs and send reports. The spreadsheets, Word documents and PDF files the company was using just weren’t up to the task, says CIO Greg Sieg.

“It was this multilayered chess game, and you can’t solve it without some system capabilities,” says Ryan Yada, director of applied technology.

So the business, one of The Ledcor Group’s construction companies, started its search for the right software. The tool had to bring immediate improvements but also be able scale to meet increasing demands. It had to process the full spectrum of resource planning, from scheduling workers to collecting reports on completed assignments. It had to work with various mobile devices. And it had to deliver clear financial benefits.

Yada says mobile workforce-management software from ClickSoftware became an early frontrunner because it met Ledcor’s key requirements and because it could be deployed as either on-premise software or software-as-a-service (SaaS). The cloud version won out, Sieg says, in part because it meant Ledcor didn’t have to invest in new hardware or dump many new responsibilities on its internal IT staff.

Also, the SaaS option could be delivered significantly faster, Yada says. Ledcor’s IT team started to deploy the ClickSoftware suite in August 2012, and the first phase was completed in 30 days.

Company officials say they’re seeing several types of ROI, including the following:

  • a 22 percent increase in average amount of work done per day
  • a 100 percent increase in the speed of the billing process, because the software automated the collection of required information
  • a 50 percent increase in the number of field technicians that each dispatcher can manage, because the software automates much of the dispatch process

Jeanine Sterling, an analyst at Frost and Sullivan, says a growing number of companies are using mobile workforce-management suites. She says that about a third choose cloud-based software, a third use on-premise software and another third choose a combination of cloud and on-premise.

Yada says the company is finishing its deployment at Ledcor Technical Services and, given the project’s success, is looking at other business areas where ClickSoftware’s cloud offerings could produce similarly strong payoffs.

Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.