FULTON HOGAN

Many of our employees are not traditional IT users, and so we’re focused on providing the best user experience. Salesforce helps us by making it quick and easy to develop intuitive apps that make their lives easier.”

CHRIS STRYDOM | SENIOR SYSTEMS ANALYST
 
 

Fulton Hogan builds apps fast to provide amazing employee experience.

Fulton Hogan, a New Zealand-based construction giant and family-owned business, has saved more than $3 million and transformed its processes through 30 custom apps built on the Salesforce Platform.

The eighth-largest construction company in New Zealand and Australia, Fulton Hogan specialises in infrastructure work. The family-owned business also strives to provide an exceptional experience for customers and its 8,500 employees.

Six years ago, the company was awash in paperwork, spreadsheets, and manual processes. Today, Fulton Hogan uses apps built on Salesforce to help manage everything from the time and materials used on each job to calculating fringe-benefits tax and reporting on safety and compliance.

“We put a lot of emphasis on employee retention and when someone joins the Fulton Hogan family, we hope they’re here for life. It’s why we’re using Salesforce to provide them with the best possible experience,” said Chris Strydom, Senior Systems Analyst at Fulton Hogan.

Salesforce helps put an end to paperwork

In the past, employees completed timesheets using paper and pen and faxed them to payroll. Foremen similarly tracked time and materials and sent the information to accounts. All of this data was entered into spreadsheets and different systems used for paying wages, invoicing clients, and reporting.

“There was paper flying back and forth all the time and it took someone two days each month just to sort out all the paperwork surrounding fringe benefits tax,” said Strydom.

To digitise and simplify these processes, Fulton Hogan needed to move its spreadsheets and databases into the cloud and enable employees to access and update information from anywhere. It needed a secure solution and chose the Salesforce Platform because of its maturity and value. “With all of its declarative development tools and built-in workflows and security, the Salesforce Platform offered the best value and the potential to save a huge amount of time,” said Strydom.

Fulton Hogan quickly set up its database and first app on the platform, solving the pain related to fringe benefits tax and allowing users to enter in the information needed for calculating and reporting the tax online. Six years later, this app is still in use.

“We were able to take the horrible process we had before and make it so simple that the report can be generated in minutes rather than days,” said Strydom.

Engaging apps transform productivity

Fulton Hogan has now built 30 apps on the Salesforce Platform. These include browser-based desktop apps and mobile apps that share the same data and enable collaboration between employees in the office and out in the field. One of these is the company’s eTimesheet app. Employees in the field access the app using an iPhone or iPad and use it to complete their timesheets or submit leave requests online. The entries are then approved by management using the mobile or desktop app.

All the data rolls up to regional and departmental managers, giving them a live view of the process so they can follow up any missing timesheets and approvals and ensure everything is submitted in time for payroll. The streamlined process is 400% faster for employees and has saved the company as much as $3 million by eliminating time spent on chasing approvals and data entry.

“In the past, there were hundreds of faxes being sent to payroll and a lot of phone calls and running around to check where things were at,” said Strydom. “Now everything is digital and there’s much less pressure; employees love using the app and everyone can see what’s happening in real time.”

Additional benefits of the eTimesheet app have resulted from integration with Fulton Hogan’s electronic Daily Job Report (eDJR) app. The eDJR app is used by foremen to record everything that happens on the job site, including the labor, materials, and equipment involved. Details about labor can be pulled straight from the eTimesheets app or, if an employee has not yet entered the time, the foreman can update the information in both apps. Either way, the employee and foreman share the same data and can check that it’s accurate before it is approved and flows into Fulton Hogan’s ERP for client invoicing.

“Building all our apps on the Salesforce Platform makes this level of integration much easier than it would be if we were working with different technologies and databases. Also, as we build more apps for the same user base, we get greater return on our investment in Salesforce and avoid the need to license other third-party apps,” said Strydom.

Another benefit is that developers can set up custom objects and business structures that can be deployed across every app. So when someone wants to raise a health and safety issue in the company’s My Voice mobile app, they can log in using single sign-on and the app knows who they are and what region and department they work in.

This contributes to the simplicity of the app which has been designed to make it quick and easy for employees to report issues from the field. All cases raised flow through to Fulton Hogan’s Case and Accident Management (CAMs) desktop app where they are reported on and investigated by the health and safety team.

Optimising the employee experience.

Apps like eTimesheets and My Voice have put more power in the hands of employees, and eliminated tedious tasks like filling out forms. In the case of My Voice, employees now take more responsibility for safety and report more cases.

Michael O’Hagan, a crew supervisor with Fulton Hogan, agreed with the increased ease of reporting information. “The Apps created by Fulton Hogan for us out in the field have improved efficiency with how we record information on the job with less time doing paper work and more time on the tools. The eDJR app for example enables me to get the information about each job back to my manager in real time with more accuracy,” said O’Hagan.

One reason the apps have been so successful is that developers and users of the apps work collaboratively to optimise the user experience. Fulton Hogan’s digital team led by Amanda Lawrey is part of this collaboration and involved in analysing business requirements and designing the user experience.

“Many of our employees are not traditional IT users, and so we’re focused on providing the best use experience. Salesforce helps us by making it quick and easy to develop intuitive apps that make their lives easier,” said Strydom. “Salesforce also supports a very agile development process so we can keep enhancing and adding new functionality to our apps without accidently breaking what already exists.”

Using the Salesforce Mobile SDK for iOS has been a huge help as it makes it easy for Fulton Hogan to build native apps for the iPhone and iPad which connect to its data in Salesforce. With version 7.0, data between the apps and Salesforce syncs seamlessly in the background. This means employees can keep using apps from anywhere out in the field and know that their data will automatically sync when they’re back online.

Fulton Hogan plans to further leverage the benefits of the Mobile SDK as it looks to develop apps for external users and publish these to the App Store. The company is in the early stages of planning for these apps, but one of the first possibilities is an app to help investors manage their shares.

“The Mobile SDK for iOS has definitely made our development path quicker and easier and we look forward to seeing enhancements to this now that Salesforce and Apple are working together more closely,” said Strydom.

 
 

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