Seven Mechanical is an HVAC, electrical, and plumbing services company with a large client book. These clients – primarily building managers – are responsible for keeping their properties operating smoothly. With that in mind, they needed a simple way to view their buildings and equipment and submit work tickets to Seven Mechanical. On the other end, Seven Mechanical needed a way to see those tickets come in, so their mobile fleet could claim and complete the work.
We designed and built a custom mobile app for Seven Mechanical – an iOS app that utilizes Kickserv’s API as well as AirTable for unit management. The current version allows Seven Mechanical clients to log in and view all of their equipment, submit a work request, and monitor the job status. Phase 2 allows Seven Mechanical technicians to claim and complete the work, all from within the app.
When businesses scale, efficiency gains can make all the difference. That’s the big reason Seven Mechanical came to us to design & build their iOS app – the majority of their clients have multiple buildings with multiple pieces of HVAC, electrical, and plumbing equipment to monitor and maintain. Further to that, Seven Mechanical are the service provider required to do the actual installation and maintenance work for all of these clients. All combined, this means hundreds of pieces of complex equipment, spread out all over Edmonton – the exact type of situation that can benefit from the efficiency gains well-implemented technology can provide. Specifically, Seven Mechanical needed a way to help their clients efficiently submit and monitor work requests, as well as a way to manage those requests from the technician side in the future.
Understanding What to Build
The first step in engaging with Seven Mechanical was to undergo a thorough Discovery Phase. The combination of a half-day requirements gathering / prioritization workshop alongside detailed technical research and iterative prototyping allowed the holistic project team to understand what actually needed to be built, how best to build it, and what the effort levels to do so would be. Often, projects like these are jumped in to – enthusiastically, yes, but without proper due diligence. This initial step, which included detailed workflow mapping for all Phases (not just the first), allowed everyone to question requirements and implementation methods – putting us all on exactly the same page with regards to what needed to be built in Phase 2.
Leveraging Existing Technology
There’s a saying in software development – and no, we’re not talking about “it’s a feature, not a bug!”. What we’re talking about is Don’t rebuild the wheel. Seven Mechanical uses a piece of 3rd-party software to manage tickets and clients via desktop, so the data existed there. We hooked into that system’s API in order to pull client, unit, and ticket information, saving costly development time. However, what their 3rd party software didn’t have was unit management (aka all the actual pieces of equipment), which was discovered thanks to the Discovery phase. After some in-depth research, discussion, and due diligence, we recommended and implemented AirTable as the MVP version for managing their units. AirTable allowed us to quickly have a data source that the client could manage intuitively, without having to build a full-blown unit management app. Suffice to say, that part wasn’t in the budget.
This means the app runs off of two unique data sources. In the future, the plan is to consolidate these data sources into one custom web app that powers all their client management.
Having identified multiple workflows for the app’s users – ticket submission, job monitoring, and more – we adopted an iterative workflow with the client. Every two weeks, the project team (including the client) got together to review specific workflows, questioning assumptions about businesses processes and UX choices. This method was a marked difference in approach for the client, and we feel played a strong role in the success of the app from all sides.
The End Result
Seven Mechanical’s app hit the iOS store and instantly positioned them as an innovator in their space. No competitors offer such an intuitive, straightforward, and efficient method of ticket submission and job monitoring to their clients – a huge business advantage for Seven Mechanical. Phase 2 comes next, wherein the technician side of the app – claiming, updating, and completing the work tickets submitted by clients – will enter Design & Build.
The mobile app Paper Leaf delivered for us has been outstanding. It has further positioned us as one of the most innovative companies in our field, while improving the client experience as well as our technician’s workflow and efficiency.
President, Seven Mechanical
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