While not quite as dramatic as a pocket Bible intercepting a bullet, Paul Paniagua's so-called “bible” has helped him many times. “It's really just a reference book, but it's my savior. I work out of it on a daily basis,” says the owner of the eight-person All Pro Builders, in Fullerton, Calif.

Photo: Lisa Paniagua

As the office Rolodex began to overflow, Paniagua started to collect vendor, subcontractor, architect, and other professional contacts' business cards; showroom information; specifics about the various Orange County cities in which All Pro Builders works, as well as permitting and inspection codes; information about current and closed jobs; and personal associates' and employee contact details. Over the course of eight years Paniagua and his staff put these items in the now 50-page reference book, a copy of which sits on each person in the company's desk. Field personnel take theirs out on jobs. Paniagua leaves one at home for evening and weekend reference. Outdated pages are shredded and new ones added two or three times a week for each individual's book.

“This puts information at everyone's fingertips, especially those in the field who may not have computer access,” Paniagua says. “We're more efficient and it saves us money since employees are not calling 411 all the time.”