Hanley Energy Keeps the Lights on With Smartsheet
Hanley Energy’s mission is to keep the lights on for its customers, and Smartsheet powers that effort. The Ireland-based company designs and implements hardware, software, and services for critical power management across a range of industries worldwide, from manufacturing to food retailing to data center management.
Ten years after its formation, Hanley Energy is still growing at what managing director and co-founder Dennis Nordon calls “a ferocious rate.” The company’s ongoing potential for growth and globally expanding customer base is not lost on its leadership.
“We’re seeing a quantum shift away from traditional-style businesses,” Nordon says. “Nine to five, that doesn’t exist anymore — certainly not in our space. We’re now global, we have a follow-the-sun model, and we’ve got to be able to provide instantaneous information to our customers at any given moment in time, across multiple continents, across multiple languages.”
To keep its own lights on, Hanley Energy needed a software as a service platform (SaaS) and processes that could support consistent, scalable business practices, from product design and delivery to timesheets and sales prospecting.
Hanley Energy adopted Smartsheet to tackle recurring business challenges such as project management and resource planning, and gained unprecedented levels of transparency and visibility for internal teams and their customers.
A Sustainable Solution for Project Planning
With a focus on large data centers and industrial environments, Hanley Energy provides a full product lifecycle solution, from hardware design and manufacturing to real-time and historical data reporting and analysis.
Before implementing Smartsheet, project managers (PMs) used whatever tools their teams were comfortable with, such as spreadsheets, email, or professional project management solutions. In the absence of a single consistent approach, setting up and servicing projects for new customers could be slow and complicated. “That’s fine in the early stages of any company, but it’s not sustainable,” Nordon says. “And it’s certainly not scalable.”
Paul Johnson, an independent contractor who does program and process development management for the company, discovered Smartsheet when one of his contract clients sent him a link to a form for capturing information.
Johnson was amazed that he could make substantive updates to the project plan without the complexity and cost of a full product license. He was so impressed, he became a Smartsheet reseller for Ireland to help more businesses take advantage of its flexibility and scalability. Hanley Energy was his first customer.
“One of the wonderful things was to take a company that was already using Excel as their main tool for managing tasks and programs and projects, and then import information into Smartsheet with a couple of clicks of a button,” Johnson says. “It made the deployment, really, really quick. The learning curve was not so steep.”
Today, Hanley Energy uses Smartsheet to simplify reporting, track and manage products and services, and streamline resource planning for current and prospective projects.
Improved Transparency and Visibility
In the energy industry, decisions must be made quickly, and every detail matters. Hanley Energy uses Smartsheet to create dashboards from a standard template to provide a consistent and easy-to-use visual reporting methodology. In just a few clicks, the company’s PMs can customize views that give customers access to the data that fits their unique needs.
“We identified early on that we needed a scalable solution we could deploy company-wide,” Nordon says. “One that would give visibility to all the stakeholders but, more importantly, also give us a customer-facing dashboard so the customer could actually see what was in the fleet in real time and at what stage. And we provide that visibility via Smartsheet.”
Hanley Energy also provides full product lifecycle management, tracking individual items from development through multiple stages of maintenance. In a hyper-scale data center environment, that means keeping up with hundreds or even thousands of components. Smartsheet enables Hanley Energy to monitor each item’s lifecycle and to give customers visibility into their assets at any point.
33% Increase in Project Management Efficiency
The ability to take on new customers and projects continues to drive rapid growth for Hanley Energy. It’s important for the company to grow strategically, with a clear idea of when there’s room for new work — and when there isn’t.
Hanley Energy uses Smartsheet to track project scope against staff availability. PMs can see when there are gaps in the schedule that can accommodate new work, or make a business case for hiring more staff.
“I’m responsible for sales, and I’ve noticed that salespeople tend to be pretty overzealous,” Nordon says. “We don’t like to say ‘no’ to an order, but it would be irresponsible to let down multiple customers because you’ve taken that one extra project that you can’t manage. We never had that visibility before because we never had a central repository for that information.”
Before using Smartsheet, teams managed their timesheets on paper or through spreadsheets. Now everyone can enter their time through a Smartsheet form that’s accessible on their mobile devices. The data goes straight into a master sheet, and PMs can run reports on labor costs for specific projects or periods. This makes time entry easier and more accurate, which improves planning and budgeting for current and prospective projects.
Project meetings have also been transformed. In the past, PMs would typically hold meetings every day to review every project. Now, they have a weekly meeting to discuss the status of multiple projects, pulling the most current data from Smartsheet in real time, reviewing documentation and measuring completion, and even sending emails directly from the sheets.
Nordon estimates that this has saved PMs a third of their workday — time that’s now available to take on more client work or do deeper strategic planning.
Accurate Tracking Creates New Revenue Streams
Smartsheet has even led to the creation of a new revenue stream through consultative services. With more accurate tracking of work done for customers, Nordon and his PMs can identify time spent in consultation and show the value added to customer engagements.
“Because we are a solutions-based engineering company, that engineering solution piece was always given away for free,” Nordon says. “That consultative piece should have been charged for, but our mindset was that those services were part of the project. We took a closer look and realized consultation was a tangible product we could sell — and that our customers are happy to pay for it.”
Hanley Energy expects to continue its rapid growth and scale its services and solutions easily and sustainably with the help of Smartsheet.
“From our perspective, in a highly dynamic manufacturing and software development company that’s on a growth trajectory, Smartsheet is probably the single most important tool that we have,” Nordon says. “Without it, we couldn’t survive.”