Like many small businesses, the ability to make decisions quickly is a major competitive advantage for award-winning artisan goat cheese maker Cypress Grove Chevre, based in rural Humboldt County, California. And there are two applications central to making that happen, the various services associated with Google Apps along with the Smartsheet project management application.
The 55-person operation — which supports two main locations, including a 32-acre dairy — originally embraced Smartsheet to help sales and marketing better manage campaigns and other customer outreach activities spanning its retail and distribution partners in all 50 US states.
The tool was quickly embraced across the operation to help manage everything from collecting and processing resumes; reporting safety, efficiency and quality concerns across the creamery; recording equipment maintenance; organizing more than 300 events annually; and keeping track of strategic plans.
"Every department is using this one way or another," said Ian Ray, Information Systems Specialist at Cypress Grove. What's more, most of the workflows developed organically. "People are solving their own problems," he said.
One reason Smartsheet caught on so quickly is that it can be used easily from a Web browser or accessed via the tablets and smartphones that some team members use in the field (quite literally), Ray said. Another major plus that helped Smartsheet win out over other cloud services that were considered was its availability in the Google Apps Marketplace, which made it simpler for Cypress Grove to integrate it with other core applications and to provide tied log-ins for easier, secure access.
The licensing costs associated with using Smartsheet are less expensive than the previous tools that Cypress Grove used. Other benefits of the application are difficult to measure qualitatively but they include the ability to share relevant information with business partners and contractors securely and far more quickly, and far tighter version control and document management. "It saves time more than anything else," Ray said.
Pricing for Smartsheet starts at $14 per month for one "creator," which is the company's fancy word for someone who can create the sheets used to manage certain processes. The Team edition costs $39 per month for three creators, plus $9 for additional creators. It comes with more file storage and sheets than the other editions, plus single sign-on support. You can also call for enterprise pricing. (Cypress Grove supports 10 creators.)
Here's a video about Cypress Grove's use of Smartsheet and Google Apps: