My dad is a Superman. He makes his daily juggling act look effortless. He plays music, does tons of work around the house and in the garden, he’s always making new artwork, and is pretty much always doing something. He has an incredible green thumb, growing everything from beautiful Southern flowers to pear trees, ivy – and the occasional herb or grape. And these days, he shares it all on Facebook, complete with witty banter and a like for pretty much every one of my posts.
All while having a full time job. And I find that I frequently think of him while we’re building new features into Bushel. You see, he’s got a bunch of computers at work. And people work often ask him questions about how to do things. He does a lot of graphics. And it seems the graphics pros often get tapped as the Apple experts. But he’s not a programmer or information security guy, like I am. So he needs a tool to help him manage all those crazy Apple devices that isn’t written for anyone that ever wants to write a lick of code.
Add in mowing the lawn all summer and taking care of my grandmother (who’s got a new hip), my dad really isn’t going to have time to learn any new stuff this summer. So when we’re building Bushel, we don’t think of a learning curve that’s longer than a few minutes. We think of graphs that quickly tell people where to look for information. We think of making systems as logical as possible. And we think of putting as much work into the product as we can without assuming our users will know much about device management. Because like my dad, our users are smart. But they’re busy. And where we choose to use our time is a critical process we all undergo daily.
So, what are some ways to save time so you, your friends, or your loved ones, can save some time? Here are some of our favorites!
The term EMM refers to Enterprise Mobility Management, and refers to a Mobile Device Management tools that also support managing content. Currently, Bushel doesn’t attempt to sync data or manage content. This is because we find that most of our customers use a product like Dropbox or Box.com to manage content. And no matter how much time we sink (yes, bad pun intended) into attempting to duplicate their efforts, we’ll never manage content as well as they do, as it’s their primary business.
Having said that, using Bushel with a solution like Dropbox or Box basically provides all the features of an EMM solution at a fraction of the cost, just without a single pane of glass to manage everything. We are always looking to make Bushel better, so the future may hold some form of content management; but for now, we’ll let the specialists stick with what they’re good at and focus on making the Bushel experience as awesome a device management experience as possible!
Giving an iPad to your employees is a great step to increasing their productivity. But loading those devices up with apps that increase their productivity is a must. But what apps should they get? That’s often a question best answered by first looking at your industry and the job function of those employees. Luckily, we have a lot of construction companies using Bushel and we can help guide you to a common set of tools that many are using.
PlanGrid is a pretty handy app that allows you to upload PDFs, version data, link to callouts, annotate, etc. It includes punchless, estimating and photos to track status (which you can then pin to your blueprints). Overall, PlanGrid is probably the most versatile app for Construction companies on the market. There are certainly simpler apps, but more complex ones as well.
Procore is similar in many ways to PlanGrid. You can annotate blueprints, add projects, do some estimating, some change control and even assign issues to users. You can also choose users that get updates to parts of a project plan. Both tools allow you to manage RFIs and Procure also allows for timecard entry from the field and accessing schedules. I would definitely recommend putting both through a trial as their approaches are different enough that you might like one much more than the other.
Another tool that can manage various aspects of the business is Construction Manager. Construction Manager comes with a lot more finely grained tools for estimating, such as room size, concrete and pain calculators. You can also track daily activity on projects and eliminate paper in the estimating process. Construction Manager isn’t really meant for more complex punch down list uses, but can do time sheets, maintenance logs and milestones.
Joist is a much more robust estimating tool, with none of the DIM/blueprint options. It’s great for managing estimates, integrates with contacts and even allows you to track payment information.
Corecon is a tool for tracking various business aspects of a construction business. You can update RFIs, schedule tasks, track expenses, get alerts and track time. There’s also a list (and a punch list) that helps you stay on top of tasks, as well as data synchronization back to the CoreCon cloud.
AutoCad 360 is the gold standard for making CAD drawings on computers. The mobile app is pretty darn rad as well.
It’s a bird, no, it’s a plane, no, it’s a calculator. And more! This is a little swiss army knife of an app. You can complete layouts, plans, bids, some estimation option, all the trigonometric goodness you missed in grade school, figure square-ups and slopes, calculate feet-inch-fractions, decimal feet, work in metric and even figure out those annoying crown angles and wacky polygons. Overall, it’s a great little tool that fills some gaps.
Simple app to make blueprints right on your iPad. You can drag and drop elements, enter measurements and then export. This allows you to import into other apps that also allow you to annotate and create punch lists.
Aconex is a project management tool. There’s a good bit of feature overlap with some of the other apps on this list, but Aconex is really good at the project management aspect of construction and engineering projects. If you make a blueprint using iBlueprint for a job you bid using Joist then it makes for a good fit. Keep in mind that some of these apps that only address one part of the whole business are better at that aspect (and therefore sometimes worth the expense) than using options built into an app that tries to do everything.
This is a great little app that measures, does angles, has a level, etc. But the app isn’t as important as the concept. If you pour concrete, you’re gonna’ want an app to help figure out the right mix. This app doesn’t do that. But there is an app for that. For the types of tasks that your people are doing, a few cheap apps might replace a bunch of tools they have to carry. And especially for estimators, keeping them from going back and forth to their truck to grab a tool can keep customers happy and engaged while allowing them to be more efficient!
And of course a bonus is Bushel, which makes for a great way to distribute these apps to your devices, while protecting the content that’s out on the devices!
Bushel uses Apple’s Volume Purchase Program to help you manage and purchase apps for your business. You can sign up for a VPP account at vpp.itunes.apple.com.
After you have gone through the sign up process and have your VPP token, you can now add it to Bushel.
1. Login to your Bushel account at login.bushel.com.
2. Click on Account in the blue side bar on the left.
3. Once under your Account page, click on the VPP tab at the top of the page.
4. Scroll to the bottom and click on the grey button to Upload your VPP Service Token.
5. Navigate to the VPP token you downloaded from Apple. Select the file and click on Choose.
6. Your VPP token will now upload to your Bushel account. Once uploaded, you will see the code along with a green checkmark above the Upload button.