Ideas That Work: Software Simplification

Every month, we pick the top Ideas That Work submitted by you, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR readers. These ideas can't be found in any code or guidebook and are only learned or devised through years of experience and thinking, "There's got to be a better way to do this!" Please remember, the ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety standards have been fully adhered to.

Now, without further ado, here are this issue's Ideas That Work!

Software aids communication

Two years ago, we implemented a policy that all of our foremen have a tablet with them on-site. We bought software, which enables our company to create a “project” and assign its users specific duties. With this software, we save all job information in organized folders.

Every document uploaded for this project is viewable from the foreman’s tablet or the project manager’s desktop computer. The best part of this software is any document can be drawn on or notes can be made. Updates to drawings can be saved on the documents. Any time a new document has been uploaded or changes have been made to an existing document, an email is sent to the users of the project to notify them of the changes. This sort of software can take your communication to a new level without all of the paper copies being printed.

Cody Siebrandt
Lincoln, Neb.

Idea Igniter

This month’s winner responded to our Idea Igniter in the May issue, calling for ways to get information to the installer. For the next Igniter, we are looking for innovative ways to pull cable. Installing in open ceilings using J-hooks, cable tray or bridle rings has its own challenges. Send us your ideas for cable management, spool management, staging and pulling MC cable, data cable, control wiring, tray cable and fire alarm/security cable.

IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail, or use the online submission tool at


Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. In addition, each month’s FIRST PLACE winner will receive a $100 gift certificate from Zoro, to be used at

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.

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