Whiteboard for SugarCRM

by Amanda Anderson on January 24, 2012

How can you live out of your CRM system if your business planning and project management is still done on the conference room whiteboard? One of our clients wanted to move their entire business process into their SugarCRM system. This included time tracking of employee hours/wages and project scheduling. The company is in the construction industry and has several active work sites to manage. Each week they map out what workers are assigned to each job site and would outline this on a large whiteboard in their office. The company also coordinates what equipment and machinery goes to each job site. The machinery is hundreds of thousands of dollars and the company only has a set number of machines available. Accurately assigning out these machines and delivering them to the sites is extremely critical to staying on budget and on time.

The Issue:

The problem with the project schedule existing solely on a tangible whiteboard was that it was only visible to those that came by the office. As a result, some of the workers and project managers were limited to knowing details of the projects they were assigned to. Also, they may be misinformed if a change was made on the whiteboard mid-week. Additionally, there were multiple projects going on at once and it was difficult to manage each piece of equipment. There was no way to prevent human error and double booking equipment and workers on different job sites was an issue the company needed to address.

The Solution:

W-Systems customized our client’s SugarCRM system and added a whiteboard feature. By designing the whiteboard module to have a drag and drop interface, the new module imitates the functionality of a traditional whiteboard.

 drag and drop interface

The whiteboard module enables users to create an unlimited number of whiteboards for various purposes. For example, the company has a whiteboard for assigning equipment to each job site and a whiteboard for assigning workers to each job site.

How it Works:

When creating a new whiteboard, the user is asked to choose which module to pull data from. For the company’s equipment whiteboard, they are creating a whiteboard that relates its equipment catalog with its project list (job sites).


Each whiteboard column represents a project. A user can add the necessary equipment to that project. When a specific piece of equipment is placed onto a project, it cannot be added to another. A user can drag and drop it onto other projects or work sites as needed or they can return it to the equipment catalog. The worker's whiteboard is very similar to the equipment whiteboard, except that it relates to the employees and crews module. The company sometimes groups workers together into crews and then assigns an entire crew out to a work site.

The image below shows a whiteboard with individual workers assigned to various job sites.

whiteboard with individual workers assigned to various job sites

Once a person is added to a job site, they cannot be booked on another one. Additionally, they are noted as not available when viewing the crew they were related to. If that crew were to be assigned to a job site, the project manager would know which workers were not available and could see which site they were assigned to. All of this information relates to each other. For example, when viewing a worker's record or a piece of equipment in the catalog, you can see what job sites the worker or equipment has been to.

End Result:

The company is now able to accurately schedule workers and equipment for each job site. Because this information is now being managed in the CRM system, the historical data can be reported on. Trends and usage of equipment can be monitored and the company can now make better predictions when ordering new machines. Additionally, the project schedule can be viewed by anyone, anywhere. The drag and drop interface of the whiteboard makes it easy for project managers to update the schedule from an iPad when out at job sites. For more information on the whiteboard customization for SugarCRM, contact us here.

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