"Alpha Anywhere has improved our productivity, helped us accomplish much more work with fewer people, and let us build a system that will be able to work even when offline and out of reach of the Internet. We expect that it will also help us expand our business."
- Andrew Rachel, Database Manager, Rev1 Power Services
Rev1 Power Services is a global leader in power industry staffing, project management, installation and commissioning, and maintenance services. It has a workforce in more than 17 countries and partnerships with dozens of leading firms including General Electric, AEP, Alstom, Black and Veatch, Burns and McDonnell and Florida Power & Light.
Accomplish more with fewer resources
Raidly takes MS Access databases mobile
Fast, accurate data capture in the field
Rev1 Power Services provides engineers for the final work of testing and integrating subsystems in power plants before the plants are started up. Total construction costs for the plants typically run between $75 million and $600 million.
Rev1 built a Microsoft Access database for coordinating its work on each plant. But over time, Rev1 found that Microsoft Access was no longer capable of delivering what the company needed and it was not robust enough. Rev1 also wanted to migrate to a more open platform that wasn't confined to the desktop, and that was mobile and Web-friendly.
Andrew Rachel, Database Manager for Rev1, researched solutions, and found that Alpha Anywhere ideally matched the company's needs because of its flexibility, power, and ability to build both Web-based applications and mobile apps.
"Alpha gave us everything we needed," he says. "A big selling point was its offline capabilities. Workers at the plants we work on can be out of reach of the Internet, so Alpha's ability to build mobile apps that work when offline was a tremendous draw."
Rev1 built a system with Alpha Anywhere that tracks all the hardware its staff works on, including controllers, motors, switch gears, and miles of piping and power cables. The Alpha Anywhere system also tracks all results of testing performed to get the plant running. The system is tied to a MySQL database and will ultimately link to Primavera project-management systems used at the projects by many construction firms.
"Our system used to be desktop only," Rachel says. "Now we have a system that's desktop, Web, or mobile — it will be available on any device we need."
"The Alpha Anywhere system has increased our productivity many times over. Instead of taking us four months to do work on a project, we can now do it in about a week."
Alpha Anywhere has improved the productivity and efficiency of Rev1 staff, and helped the company dramatically reduce the time required to do its work. Previously, Rev1 staff had to travel to each site and spend a week setting up Access and local servers. The Alpha Anywhere system can be set up at remote sites in hours because no local servers are required. Each new project is easier to start than in the past, because pre-formatted templates are already built, which can be easily customized for each plant.
Previously, some of the work was not automated. Staff in the field wrote notes by hand, and that information then had to be entered into the database. In addition to causing more work, this old process could cause errors because handwriting can be difficult to decipher. With the Alpha Anywhere system, that work is eliminated. Staff instead inputs the information directly into the database.
A mobile app will be rolled out this summer, and will allow technicians to do their work in the field with tablets, even when out of the reach of the Internet. Typically on construction sites, the trailers that serve as the main offices have Internet access, but 50 feet away, there is no access. With the system's offline capability, technicians will still be able to use the system away from the trailer, and sync to the database in the construction trailer before they leave the site for the day.
"The Alpha Anywhere system has increased our productivity many times over," Rachel says. "Instead of taking us four months to do work on a project, we can now do it in about a week."
He says that Rev1 has been able to do its IT and development work with much less staff.
"Alpha Anywhere handles all the heavy lifting, so I don't need an IT team of 15 people — we can do the same work with a staff of four, and our software is much more robust than if I were using a different system and had additional people," he says. He adds that with Alpha Anywhere, he can build a system in three months that otherwise would have taken more than a year — and the Alpha Anywhere system has many more features.
Looking towards the future, he says, "We're looking at expanding our business, and the Alpha Anywhere system helped us build will let us do that far more easily."
"Our system used to be desktop only. Now we have a system that's desktop, Web, or mobile — it will be available on any device we need."