Spike Stories: Naperville Signarama Trades In Tape Measure for Spike
As a full-service sign shop, Naperville, Illinois-based Signarama can handle nearly any signage request, which keeps co-owners Herb Greene and Kathy Greene busy. Herb spends most of his time managing operations and inside sales while Kathy primarily works in the field and handles approximately 90 percent of Naperville Signarama’s site surveys. With only one person in the field, Kathy relies on efficient site surveys to stay on schedule, but that isn’t always possible with traditional means, such as a tape measure and ladder, she says.
Tape measures can only cover a distance for so far before breaking in mid-measurement, and ladders pose significant safety issues, especially without a spotter. Herb says they’ve tried counting bricks to create estimates and eliminate the safety issue, but the varying sizes caused accuracy problems.
“We’ve counted bricks and assumed they were standard brick, which is about 3 inches high and 8 inches wide, plus about ½ inch of mortar, but it turned out that it was a utility brick, which is about 4 inches high and about 12 inches wide,” Herb says.
Looking for a better way, Herb and Kathy attended the 2015 ISA International Sign Expo where they purchased their first Spike, a smart laser measurement solution for conducting signage site surveys and estimations, and the device has gone a long way in improving Kathy’s efficiency in the field. Missing some measurements was a common problem before Spike, Kathy says. She might lack only one measurement, but Kathy would still have to return to the site, which hurt her productivity. However, now that Kathy has Spike, all measurements are saved with the photos in the Spike app, and return trips are no longer necessary.
“Spike has saved me from having to return to a lot of my sites,” Kathy says. “Now I take all the pictures I can using my iPad and Spike and store them for future reference. If I take a picture of every side of the building, I’m usually well-covered.”
This especially comes in handy when a client orders another sign in the future, Kathy says. Rather than retaking measurements, Kathy can simply pull up her existing photos at any time and measure the original site or another space on the property.
After Kathy takes property photos, she brings Spike and her iPad back to the office where she measures the pictures. Kathy then exports a PDF of the photos and measurements via email to her designer but first changes the default subject line to the name of the project. This keeps all email files categorized and helps Kathy and her team stay organized. If Kathy were ever tied up in the field, she could also measure the photos remotely and send the PDFs to her designer from her iPad.
Even when Kathy needs measurements for a sign that doesn’t yet exist, she finds that she can still use Spike to capture the measurements she needs. In that case, Kathy takes a picture of an object in the field, such as a street sign, and measures the object’s width. The Naperville Signarama design team can then take the measurements and scale a new sign on the photo of the property.
“We love creating those scaled photos because clients can see exactly how big the sign will be and what it will look like,” Kathy says. “It’s a great value add for our clients.”
Since purchasing their first Spike, Herb and Kathy bought another unit within a matter of months. While Kathy primarily conducts site surveys, Herb helps when she’s busy in the field, he says. Now equipped with Spike, Herb says he feels safer in the field and more comfortable with the accuracy of their site surveys.
“Spike eliminates that uncertainty we’d have with the tape measure or counting bricks,” Herb says. “As long as you take the photo correctly, you’re pretty close to matching the site’s ruler measure.”
In fact, Spike has been so effective for Naperville Signarama that Kathy solely relies on the device. Spike’s measurement capabilities have met all of Kathy’s site survey requirements, and those traditional measuring tools stay at the shop. Now only one small device is needed in the field, making for a more productive and cost-effective site survey.
“Just get rid of your tape measure and ladder and save yourself some money,” Kathy says. “You don’t need them anymore. I just use the Spike; I take no other measurement tools at all.”
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