Michigan-based app developer, jācapps, shows how mobile apps can add efficiency and profit to your construction business
Based in Metro Detroit, jācapps has been in the app game since the beginning. Just one hundred days after Apple opened its famed App store, jācapps was born. Having set the industry standard with its initial customer base of radio stations (jācapps works with more than 600 radio stations across the country), jācapps, is now an award-winning mobile strategy company focused on custom app development for a diverse range of clients, including big-name healthcare facilities and construction powerhouses. More than brilliant coders, jācapps is a team of dedicated problem-solvers with one goal in mind: the success of your app.
Connecting the Construction Industry
When the opportunity presented itself to support the unique and complex needs of the construction industry, jācapps was more than ready for the challenge. Bob Kernen, the company’s VP and COO, says, “We considered how these companies could put mobile technology to work to make their businesses more profitable, more efficient. In the construction space, especially, you have to deal with issues like safety, training, labor efficiencies and logistics. We ended up in the construction business almost by accident, but once we started hearing some of the pain points, we realized the tremendous opportunity to really put this technology to work for people in this high-risk industry.” Most apps require some level of customization. This is where the jācapps team really shines. Its biggest client in the space, for example, is CRH, a Fortune 500 company with 46 operating companies all over the United States and Canada, specializing in such areas as concrete, asphalt paving and aggregate.
Kernen shares, “When Stoneco, which is a division here in Michigan, came to us, they said they wanted an app to help out so that their drivers could communicate with the main office, the dispatch and with the order desk. That immediately struck us a very innovative concept. It actually took them a long time to get the internal buy in to build the app, but one of the things that their vice president said in one of our early meetings was that if he can keep a plant open for an extra 30 minutes and sell one additional load of stone, this app has paid for itself. For me, that was an epiphany. As we look to go into new areas, we thought, ‘How can we develop apps to help businesses be more efficient as opposed to apps that are targeted specifically at consumers?’ ”
Whether it’s solving seemingly simple problems such as lost calls or tapping into clients’ systems for getting quotes on material purchases, scheduling delivery dispatch to a job site, or providing the most up-to-date project catalogs, jācapps can develop customized apps to maximize efficiencies and profit. The company has even delved into the continuing education realm, developing apps that allow professionals to take required coursework on the go, and then report results immediately to stay current with certifications.
As for what sets jācapps apart, the answer is threefold, according to Kernen. First is customization. He says, “Some other developers sell technical platforms that companies can license and use, but construction businesses are all unique in some way or they have unique needs. They really need a custom software solution and that’s something that we can provide.”
Second, jācapps gets to know each individual business, spending a significant amount of time with its clients in the presale stage and in the early stages of the development process. As an example, when jācapps did the first apps with CRH in Michigan, the development team went to the plants, went to the quarry and really saw how they worked. Kernen recalls, “When we walked into this giant limestone quarry down in Monroe, Michigan, there were six 42-inch monitors hanging from the ceiling that had all kinds of data coming in, everything from orders to geolocation data of where the trucks were to cameras around the plant showing what was going on all over this enormous facility. At that point, my head of development and I kind of looked at each other and said, ‘OK, these guys are a data company; they’re not just trucks and guys and boots. They have a lot of information that they have to manage.’ That was the beginning. We really pride ourselves on taking the time to learn our clients’ businesses top to bottom.”
The third differentiator has to do with service and support. If a website goes down or there’s some other issue, jācapps has people who take care of their customers, making sure that their mobile solution continues to function and that evolving needs are met for the long haul.
Made in Michigan
While jācapps serves customers all over the country, one thing of note is that the company is based in Michigan and they do all of the work in Michigan. Kernen concludes, “We’re in Detroit. We make things here. That’s what we do.”