The AO Origin Story

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Wayne Smith

The best products are developed in response to a personal need. Active Oversight is no different.

After decades of experience in the wireless industry, I have had the opportunity to work on countless projects.

As the president and owner of Vertex Innovations, I have learned how important it is to manage projects in a way that satisfies our customers and our business needs. In an industry where payment terms have stretched from 30 days net to 90 days net, near-daily management is necessary to ensure consistent and healthy cash flow.

Working to milestones

At Vertex Innovations, we do a lot of milestone-based work, and in many cases, the last milestone is the submittal of the closeout package.

When we submit this package to our customer, the payment clock starts; the sooner we get a complete package submitted, the sooner we receive payment.

However, we found that closeout package submittal was often delayed as we waited for our own vendors to submit their packages. Without a closeout package from our vendors, we cannot prepare a complete package for our customer.

This cycle creates cash flow concerns. On first glance, the accounts receivable and accounts payable look great, but when payment is severely delayed, things can quickly get off track.

It happens to everyone…

However, my Vertex Innovations experience was not the only catalyst for the development of Active Oversight. In fact, one of the most impactful experiences was one that I had during a remodeling project at my own home.

In my estimation, I had been very clear with the contractors regarding my expectations. Yet, our contractors continually brought up compromises that turned into daily discussions about the scope of the project.

Finally, I thought…wow, if someone with 20+ years of managing large-scale construction projects is struggling to control a small home remodel, how are other companies or individuals able to navigate their own projects and ensure that vendors are holding up their side of the deal?

The development of a solution

What we needed was a way to verify that everything that was supposed to happen was happening according to the plan. We required real-time verification from the field without placing additional administrative burden on our management team.

So we set about to develop just such a solution for the wireless construction industry, and Active Oversight was born.

Active Oversight allows project managers to break projects into tasks. The tasks are assigned to individual resources and as each becomes due (as determined by completion of predecessors) an automated, push notification is delivered.

For those in the field, this may be a task to take photographs before beginning a job. If so, the resource receives notification on their mobile device and then takes the photo and uploads it to the project, right from the job site. Not only is the photograph recorded and stored, but also the date and time of task completion.

Active Oversight develops the closeout package as the project is completed. Each piece of uploaded data and each date/time record becomes part of package. When the job is complete, all that is left is a quick internal review, and the closeout package is ready for submittal.

No more searching email inboxes, shared drives, or even hunting down vendors for missing data – it is all centrally located and automatically organized to meet your company’s predefined closeout package template.

Building a foundation of good data

Not only does this method of process verification management ensure that closeout packages are submitted promptly, it also gives us a foundation of reliable project data. Instead of basing our estimates on historical project data manually entered after project completion (as most project management tools allow), our estimates are built on data that is collected in the field and accurately reflect actual task times.

As margins in our industry continue to get tighter, we cannot afford to operate without sound estimates.

We need to know that the bids we submit remain competitive without forcing a loss.

Active Oversight has allowed us to realize those gains and to operate with the security of knowing that our decisions, regarding both current and future projects, are based on sound, reliable data.

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Reduce Rework with Quality Management (Process Verification)

How Process Verification can create a dramatic increase in profits for your construction services firm
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