PPI’s ProCrewz App Connects Crewers, Freelancers To Make Getting a Gig Easier Than Ever
The phrase “There’s an app for that” finally applies to the freelance hiring process as Program Productions, Inc. (PPI) took the wraps off a new version of ProCrewz that will allow for crewers to offer assignments via the app, freelancers to accept the gig via the app, and plenty of other functions as well as the company looks to streamline the crewing process from start to finish.
“We’ve seen some incredible technological advancements in the broadcast sports industry and the way sports and live events are covered,” says Bob Carzoli, PPI, chairman and CEO. “Every part of the sports broadcasting industry has seen advancement after advancement except the management of the industry’s most important resource: it’s people and today that changes forever.”
Scott West, PPI, president and COO, says the platform will help manage events crews in various locations and improve communication with field technicians, help track their rates, hours, and expenses, as well as manage employee data and process payroll.
“The cloud-based labor event management platform and mobile application system is built to integrate across operations, production and finance departments, and allow your team unprecedented access to real-time information and the ability to communicate efficiently in a fast paced environment,” he says.
Users, for example, have a “My Jobs” page where they can view current and upcoming jobs with multiple clients and events. Technicians can use filters by event; date range jobs can be viewed by month using the customizable calendar and technicians can sign in and out with a virtual time clock. It’s also geo-fenced within an allowable radius of the venue (a feature that can be disabled to allow workers to punch in from anywhere) and it can even allow for expenses to be uploaded. And, of course, crews can direct dial or text their coordinator or job site point of contact notifications to ensure each technician is kept up to speed with important reminders and updates through notes and real-time chat features. A message board acts like a chat feature sending group messages to all members onsite.
Amy Scheller, PPI, SVP of strategy and development, says the use of templates can make it easy to upload job details, date, description, venue, market time, and event site. Positions can be added and subtracted via check boxes and then those positions can be tied to the PPI employee database to see who is available.
“The employee can view the availability request notification and be able to respond if he’s available or not,” explains Scheller. “When someone is available, we have the ability to officially offer the job and have them respond directly in the mobile app and then automatically be populated on the crew list.”
All crew will also be able to see all the necessary information pertaining to their assignment.
“The visibility of all of this information is the result of all the behind the scenes technology,” says Scheller. “We know that you can develop an entire system and if the user interface is wrong, it’s useless. We spent a lot of time making sure that the user interface is friendly to app users, but we also put a lot of focus on the user interface for the crew managers. The calendar view is a great example of that.”
The mobile app also integrates COVID health screening before punching in on site. Users will answer a series of standard questions and hopefully get the result that they’re clear to work.
“Once they’ve completed the questionnaire and are cleared to work, they will be able to punch in,” explains Scheller. “This also means no more papers to sign and sheets to maintain on site. Real-time records of punch in and out data allows for accurate hours and labor costs tallied immediately after the events. And overtime, meal penalties, and short turnaround, are reported via the mobile app.”
Once on site for the job the job message function can easily send messages to the crew for things like catering hours, emergencies, and more.
You can view the messages that have been sent out and the responses that have come back,” adds Scheller.
The app and backend are both built on Salesforce, a move that allows for things like critical security or performance updates to be delivered to multiple mobile platforms and devices.
“We looked at a lot of off-the-shelf products, but we decided we needed to build our own,” says Carzoli. “And we took the executives out of the design process and said the employees, clients, and our production people are the ones who are going to build this. So, we ended up with a system that was built for event professionals by event professionals. And I really think that’s what the real success of this entire platform has been: it’s been the people that use it every day saying this is actually what we need.”