Wouldn't it be great to be able to track every aspect of a job, whether a work in progress or a potential sale, from the first phone call through the warranty process? That's what one peer group of remodelers had in mind several years ago when members planned to develop an Excel spreadsheet.

One participant in that group, Traci Knapp, general manager of Nobile Construction, Branford, Conn., calls it the “process map.” She says that it not only streamlines things, but makes the company more attentive to clients and helps hold people accountable. “It is our master set of standard operating procedures for a job,” she adds.

Basically, the map is an Excel spreadsheet set up in a graph format. The left hand column shows where in the process the client is — site visit, work in progress, additional work orders, completion of warranty phase. Across the top is the name and/or title of the employee responsible.

The beauty of the spreadsheet is that you can drill down into each box — where a row and column meet — and pull up a new screen with further information.

  • Level one: graph of phase/positions.
  • Level two: broken down further by positions and more detailed tasks, with the time it takes to do specific tasks.
  • Level three: scripts, attachments to forms, time allowed for each phase.
  • The group set up a boilerplate template, then each personalized it to fit their company's specific needs. Not only does the spreadsheet track a client, it also tracks employees. For example, Knapp says, “You can go straight down the column for the bookkeeper and see in which phases she should be involved. It allows us to assign a specific task for a job description and hold everyone accountable.”

    Knapp says that everyone in the Nobile office has access to the spreadsheet, and as the company has developed its design/build business, it's been a great way to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.