Australia, Technology

vWork a sure fire way to streamline your crane business

West Oz Cranes is a medium sized crane business servicing residential and small commercial construction industries in Perth. 14 months ago, the business implemented vWork to streamline administration and paperwork, and according to Logistics and Office Manager Renee Zeck, the West Oz Cranes team hasn’t looked back.

West Oz Cranes was started in 2009 by business owner Simon Flower and a mate. Flower has a background in marine science and aquaculture, and both had been working offshore in the oil and gas industry and were weary of the fly-in, fly-out lifestyle. 

Flower moved to the construction sector and into cranes with the purchase of a 16t capacity Tadano City Crane. The fleet has grown considerably since then and now includes a 12t capacity Tadano GR120NL rough terrain, a 13t capacity GR130EX and 20t GR200EX Tadano rough terrain and a 50t Liebherr LTC 1050 slewing crane. Flower says he operates a crane 99 per cent of the time. 

Zeck brought experience from her transport and logistics background when she joined West Oz Cranes in 2021. She helps to manage the increased volume of work involved with the logistics of the business and has structured the office administration to cope with this continued growth. The implementation of vWork has been key to managing the growth of the business. 

“We chose and implemented vWork in October 2021, mainly for the simplicity of the scheduling software and mobile app,” Zeck said.

“Prior to vWork we were operating a paper-based system where every job booking and delivery docket was hand written. All invoices were manually entered into our accounting software at the end of each week, a process which could take anywhere between two and three hours. 

“With vWork, we book each job into the schedule and, once allocated, this goes direct to the operator who completes each job via the app. Every job will automatically integrate into Xero for smooth and immediate invoicing,” said Renee.

“vWork is incredibly easy to work with and is user friendly. We have the ability to tweak the scheduling page and app so that it works specifically for our business which makes it simple and straight forward for our operators to only have options that are relevant to our business,” said Renee.

 vWork can be tailored to meet the needs of clients to deliver a system that is simple to use but high quality. 

vWork is customisable to any company’s process with templated workflows, tailored health and safety and branded portals among many other options. It is simple to schedule with a drag and drop function for jobs, operators, equipment and sites.

Health and Safety processes can be incorporated into every job, from pre-start checks to complex onsite checks. Everyone can be informed of the job requirements, including any site specific safety policies. Emails and text messages keep everyone informed of job changes and advise when plant operators are due on site.

Zeck goes on to discuss West Oz Cranes’ overall approach to the crane sector.

“As we mainly operate in the residential and small commercial construction sectors, we stick to the ‘Tom Thumbs’ or City Cranes which provide the flexibility of compact machines for our customers. But there will always be sites and applications requiring the lifting capabilities of an all terrain. 

“Our Liebherr LTC 1050 – 3.1 has a lifting capacity of 50t and features a telescoping elevating cab that delivers excellent visibility of the load and surrounding area,” Zeck said.

The LTC 1050-3.1 delivers the outstanding handling of a classic all-terrain crane. Its compact design also makes an ideal hoisting tool for constricted sites. It shows all its strengths completing crane work in industrial buildings, old towns museums and large galleries. Its VarioBase® support system with outriggers extended to different lengths mean that constricted conditions are not a problem for this compact crane. It carries all its own equipment and ballast, thus significantly reducing the time required for jobs. The elevating cab delivers maximum safety by providing improved all-round visibility from the cab. The crane can also be manoeuvred with all controls from outside using RemoteDrive – ensuring the operator has a perfect view of the lift and surrounding construction site.

Zeck explains more about West Oz Cranes and how the team does business.

“We work with metro-based residential and smaller commercial property builders and we cover a geographical area extending from Mandurah to Two Rocks. 

“As an owner operator, Simon has maintained a close business relationship with our clients and in this competitive market we strive to be the best in customer service and satisfaction,” she said.

  To ensure lifts are conducted safely, the West Oz team team conducts Take 5s and JSAs. Take 5 safety is a 5-step procedure construction workers use to prevent accidents and overall make the working environments safer. Other industries that benefit from implementing take 5 safety are manufacturing, repair and service, and mining. Following take 5 safety involves regularly conducting quick safety checks before starting work.

The take 5 safety steps are:

West Oz Cranes chose and implemented vWork mainly for the simplicity of the scheduling software and phone app

  Stop and think

  Look and identify

  Assess the risk

  Control hazards

  Monitor hazards

A job safety analysis (JSA) is a procedure which helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. In a JSA, each basic step of the job is to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to do the job.

“We don’t visit every site as most are straight forward lifts. For the more complex lifts we will conduct a site visit to determine what crane will provide maximum efficiency for the lifting requirements

“For basic lifts we will put lift plans together in house but for the more complex lifts, we outsource this requirement. We have a small, close knit team who have been with the business for many years. 

“We have four operators including Simon and three full timers and casual rigger. I am in the office taking the majority of enquiries and bookings via email and phone and all other office requirements.

“With a small team like ours, vWork has proved to be invaluable in terms of streamlining our administrative processes. vWork now plays an essential role in the way we operate,” Zeck said. 

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