Digital Transformation Under My Roof

A metal roofing company’s president shares his story on how he took his company to the next level digitally and was successful.

By Richard Radobenko,
CEO & president, Roofing Southwest

The metal roofing sector tends to be plagued with issues of outdated process management, lack of structured systems in streamlining repetitive tasks of design and construction, team fragmentation and lack of integration.

Roofing Southwest (, based in Phoenix, Arizona, recently underwent a digital transformation project to address these issues.

Most businesses have realized the imperative for digital evolution: even a metal roofing company is not sheltered from the digital forces of change. However, few realize how fast the revolution needs to happen, or how transformational it needs to be.

Roofing Southwest, one of the largest metal roofing contractors in the United States, was ripe for digital disruption. While the sector has been slow to adopt process innovations, there is a persistent challenge of fixing the basics. Eliminating uncoordinated project planning, weak performance, unsophisticated supply-chain processes and enhancing worker safety was critical for a sustainable competitive advantage. There was a dire need for the company to embrace new technologies and that needed immediate investment.

Architecting A Digital Solution

A smart-phone friendly field service app was developed to provide consistent access with a refined interface and targeted workflow, regardless of connectivity. The app offered mobile timekeeping, real-time cost coding, geolocation of workers and issue logging and tracking. As frontline users of this app, project managers and foremen could change the way the company inspects time and material tracking, security breaches, productivity measurement and incident reporting. They were able to reduce the wait time and facilitate real-time collaboration to connect engineers across all levels of the organization.

After careful consideration, Roofing Southwest decided to partner with Singapore-based HokuApps to do the needs assessment, requirements gathering and the development process.

Roofing Southwest ultimately was looking to have a robust digital, mobile and cloud-based operation that would allow employees to experience the benefits of a seamless, instantaneous, anytime and anywhere access to data and information.

After careful consideration and research, the company decided to partner with HokuApps ( a technology platform that lets businesses build technology solutions incredibly fast.

From Paper To Digital

Applications dashboard.

Process digitization meant capturing data that paper could not. The newly developed app allowed the company to move away from paper, ensuring a cloud-based, mobile-enabled field-supervision platform.

Thanks to the availability of low-cost mobile connectivity, real-time sharing of information was possible ensuring transparency and collaboration, timely progress and risk assessment, quality control, and, eventually, better and more reliable outcomes, even at remote project sites. Besides, to encourage usage, it was ensured that simplicity and “foreman friendliness” was built into the app design.

Assimilating The Disruption

Clearing many hurdles and pulling out all stops, the project was a resounding success! The benefits for this experience included:

Inspection tracker screen.

• Whether it is adopting a new software for one department or designing a new portal for customers, it is common for companies to pursue a hodgepodge of incremental innovation. It was crucial for top management to convey the necessity of the digital change and its effects on the organizational capabilities. Roofing Southwest found it essential to hold a wide-ranging series of conversations with employees and get their opinions for a successful digital integration.

• Design and development followed the consultation and requirements-gathering process. There were mockups, initial builds and testing that needed to be done to identify, assess and anticipate potential problems and technical glitches to achieve a level of stability and comfort.

Inspection summary screen.

• In a company such as Roofing Southwest where the employees’ level of education and comfort with technology vary from skimpy to substantial exposure, careful consideration was made to ensure that the learning process was easy to comprehend. There was an abundance of support, encouragement and reinforcement to ensure that employees achieved a level of competency to succeed in their jobs.

• At the end of perhaps a long and arduous adoption and transformation process, the company felt that it was important for employees to catch their breath and celebrate their accomplishments.

Not every digital initiative will work for every organization. Capability and capacity assessment is crucial before executing a digital strategy. For Roofing Southwest, a more holistic the initiative, the greater the chance of success was possible. MR


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