Citizen Developer Spotlight: Red Steel


Any good builder knows to measure twice and cut once. Why? Because construction and fabrication are expensive! An ill-fitting beam or oversized plate can set back entire projects and have contractors and manufacturers doubling back and losing money. For New Zealand-based structural steel specialists Red Steel, the time for better systems to track their heavy project load was now. You see, Red Steel does it all. They take on structural steel contracts that involve everything from design, to fabrication, to completion all throughout the country’s North Island. And they needed a top-shelf custom mobile app to manage their work.

How Old Was It?

These days you could not sell a data management system that is only accessible in the office, is inflexible, and requires massive developer input and time to make simple changes. But, believe it or not, that is what Red Steel was working with.

Their seven-year-old SQL database was leaving site foremen in the dark and in-office coordinators at the mercy of database developers. The entire company was limited by clogged up information. According to Managing Director, Bob Hawley, “Our existing system was just so unfixable. It took too much time and money to implement a simple change.” 

…So We’re Getting A New One

Determined to unclog their data flow and information channels, Howley and his staff developed a list of must-haves for their new cloud-based system, and set off to find the right provider. Their new tool simply had to be:

  • User-friendly
  • Rapidly deployed
  • Cost-effective
  • On monthly subscription
  • Quick and easy to edit
  • Cloud-based and accessible anywhere
  • Easily managed without a developer

After testing other tools from Zoho and Knack, budding Citizen Developer, Bob Hawley found these systems difficult to master without a technical background.

Then he tried TrackVia and suddenly found his must-have list coming true. “You just need a little bit of time with Dan to understand a few things, but crikey, you could be up and running in a few minutes if you have a simple application”, said Hawley. Not long after, he was inputting data into the Red Steel mobile app and finding it immediately accessible on his iPad. Because TrackVia built a customized mobile application to meet Red Steel’s specific needs, data can be accessed more smoothly than with other Web-based alternatives.

This Citizen Developer Was Up and Running In Weeks, Not Months

Three weeks later, TrackVia was fully deployed throughout Red Steel.

Fabrication tracking was in full effect with data accessible to employees on and off site. As true Citizen Developers, Red Steel took the application into their own hands and grew it to a fully operational project management application. These days it tracks quotes, incidents and accidents, staff information, and correspondence. Hawley can keep up to date and in contact on any project whether he’s in the North Islands or Timbuktu. “I spent three weeks in the States and to be able to pick up the iPad and see what the boys had done while I was away was fantastic. I could see so much information on one little app. I didn’t have to call and make them feel like I was keeping tabs,” said Hawley. Now that’s a good builder.

To learn more about Citizen Developer, Red Steel, and their deployment of TrackVia custom mobile app solutions, click here.