Why AArrow Sign Spinners is investing in automation and you should too

Have you ever seen the guys on street corners spinning and flipping advertising signs to the amazement of onlookers and, at times, the detriment of traffic? Those are the world famous AArrow Sign Spinners, and if you’ve never seen what they can do, this video is a must watch.

 
 


So how do you keep a staff of thousands spread out across 40+ cities and 10 countries accountable, available, adaptable, and affordable? That was the challenge AArrow Sign Spinners posed to BE Lean.

Over the course of our relationship, we’ve taken a slow, manual, error-prone headache and transformed it into a lean, efficient, and powerful operating system that would be the envy of all the spreadsheet lovers (and haters) of the world. I’ll tell you how we did it.


The challenge required a Lean approach

AArrow’s large, spread out franchise model and their young and flexible workforce presented a unique challenge. Their IT systems needed to be simple enough for their staff to adopt quickly, flexible enough to handle company changes and staff turnover, and affordable enough to support the growth of the business. A perfect scenario for a lean approach.

Meeting these criteria, AArrow selected Google Sheets as their central operating database, Google Calendar for their team schedules, and Quickbooks’ newest acquisition, T-Sheets for their employee time tracking. The problem? None of their system’s talked to each other requiring tons of manual and redundant data entry, and an environment that was prone to errors and lacked accountability.

Workato Integration and Automation

The Solution - Automation with Workato

Workato is a platform that integrates business tools together to automate workflows across an organization. The best part, it’s all done with little to no code allowing for extremely fast deployments, low cost, and little maintenance.

Mike Kenny
Before, our General Managers spent 80% of their time maintaining spreadsheets and hounding staff to enter their data. Now that Brad has redesigned our systems using Workato, we’ve cut our GM’s time in half allowing them to focus more on interfacing with our clients and going out to get new business. It’s been a game changer.
— Mike Kenny, COO, AArrow Sign Spinners

One of AArrow’s most impactful transformations has been to their scheduling process. Making sure their employees know the shift they’ve been assigned to and show up to the right location on time is critical. Before, AArrow asked their employees to proactively check the team schedule each day and text their supervisor to confirm their shift. Inevitably, managers would end up spending hours calling and texting staff who forgot to check the schedule or didn’t respond.

 
Sample workflow from one of AArrow’s Scheduling recipes

Sample workflow from one of AArrow’s Scheduling recipes

 

That all changed with Workato. With the click of a button, shift information is pushed from the team schedule on Google Sheets (they call it their “GBase”) to Google Calendar, and each employee receives an automated message in their Inbox with their shift details.

Event better, the email notifications that staff receive solicit a confirmation response so that managers are immediately notified when Spinners have accepted their shifts. Spinners also receive automated reminders the morning of their shift or if they haven’t responded. This feedback loop wasn’t possible with any off-the-shelf scheduling system.

 
Workato Recipe
 

Investing in automation is a no-brainer

The scheduling automations opened up an entire world of possibilities for AArrow. So much so that they’ve made automation a key component to their growth strategy. They recognize that with automation, they can increase their capacity without increasing overhead, and they can invest their savings into business development.

Additional workflows that AArrow and BE Lean have automated include:

  • Collecting and approving employee timesheets

  • Routing website form submissions

  • Onboarding new employees into company systems

  • Sending and collecting employment contracts and sales proposals

  • Dispatching new customer leads to sales staff

  • Automating sales communication and activity tracking

The possibilities with automation are endless, and the ROI for each workflow is incredibly clear. Nearly every organization has some opportunity for automation, yet few realize how simple and approachable it can be. AArrow is among the trendsetters who have taken full advantage, and there’s no telling how far it will take them.

 
 
Brad Eisenberg