Xtrant Keeps Medical Device Company Nimble

mbi“Limited human and financial resources force us to be efficient and Xtrant provides that efficiency for us.” –Troy Drewry, MB Innovations

Small and nimble with a global reach, MB Innovations provides research, design and development services for medical device manufacturers—working with an array of local and national partners and providers. They’re the kind of company we designed Xtrant to help—and the fit couldn’t be more perfect.

We talked with CEO Troy Drewry about his team’s experience:

What kinds of things were frustrating your progress before Xtrant?
Not having an adequate communication tool for ALL team members and shareholders… the inefficiency of not having everyone on the same page and not having all the project related assets in one place, accessible by everyone. I was trying to run projects and communications via email and from my inbox, but size requirements made it difficult to exchange large files.

What solutions did you try before you tried Xtrant?
Email and conference calls, but there were too many balls dropped between team members and lack of project accountability.

What features of Xtrant have reduced that frustration?
Now we have all team members invited to the project and ALL communications being distributed reliably to everyone. All documents and chronological hierarchy are preserved in each project. It completely removes my Inbox from the equation – if it is project related it belongs in Xtrant – no exceptions. There’s a nice project interface, it allows for all file extensions to be uploaded and published in a project, and there are no size limitations.

What are three features you love about Xtrant?

  1. Ease of use/simplicity—we have team members of all levels of computer skills and everyone can pick up Xtrant and run with it immediately
  2. Email updates— we are notified whenever anything is updated on a project
  3. Project History—nice chronological format of all project assets and communications – one stop project shop!

As a startup, what has Xtrant allowed you to do, that otherwise would have been difficult?
We now have a way to keep everyone on the same page, seamless file sharing, and a focused environment for project execution. As a startup company that was able to use Xtrant almost from day one, we could not have been as productive and successful without it. Limited human and financial resources force us to be efficient and Xtrant provides that efficiency for us.

Why do you love Xtrant?
Frankly, it is FUN to use. I think it is a very similar to the attraction of social media sites but for business! It is truly a simple tool that sets you and your project team for success!

Using the power of Productive Sharing to increase efficiency and project accountability can be the difference between a flourishing small business and a floundering one. You can try Xtrant now using our free basic Xtrant account to get more done and unlock your team’s potential!

10 (Other) Ways to Use Xtrant

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Overheard: But I don’t DO “projects” how can I use Xtrant?

We understand the confusion, Xtrant is a project platform – and we call each of the workspaces you create in Xtrant a project, but if you think of Xtrant in broader terms – as a communication and collaboration platform, as an online file cabinet, as a knowledge repository, you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it.  Because if you’ve ever written an email about it, collaborated with other people on it, shared a file for it, or made a task list for it, chances are, it’d make a great Xtrant project!

Here are some non-project ideas of how to use Xtrant:

1. Taking and Sharing Notes: At a conference or meeting, each team member can take notes on a different speaker or topic directly into a single Xtrant Project for easy reference.  Use running notes for comments or questions about the meeting afterwards.

2. Brainstorming:  Make an Xtrant project where members of a team can jot down their ideas as they come, instead of keeping a notebook or sending an email.  By keeping the brainstorm on a single page, everyone stays in the loop, everyone’s voice is heard, and there is an easy-to-access idea archive.

3. Sharing News: Whether your team is researching a topic, or simply keeping up with relevant news, post links and upload articles in an Xtrant project.  Questions, comments, and insights are easily accessible, and displayed right next to the post.

4. Recurring Files/Tasks: Monthly reports, recurring tasks, anything that uses a repeating template can be stored on an Xtrant project.  Not only will your team have the blank template right at hand, but all the past projects are right there for your reference.

5. Event Coordinating: Milestones keep the team on track to get all tasks done on time, and team members know exactly who is responsible for what, and when and how things needs to get done.  Addresses, shopping lists, contacts, lists attendees and sponsors are all kept in one place, and last minute changes or questions are communicated to the team in real time.

6.  Education/Classes: Make a different project for each class, put all the due dates in at the beginning, and upload documents, articles and assignments.  Your work load has never been so organized and easy to access!

7. Problem Solving: Behind schedule?  Facing challenges with a team or a deadline?  Talk it out on Xtrant, which keeps track of the facts and helps everyone communicate openly, while remaining accountable to themselves, the team, and the project.

8. Information Archive: Have an Xtrant project that serves as an information archive or library.  By uploading documents and  notes, information is easy-to-access for your entire team, and never stuck in an email or file long forgotten.

9. Goal Tracking: Set goals and review them periodically.  Every quarter or every month, the team can review the goal-tracking Project and share ideas for staying on track, or address challenges that come up.

10. Responsibility Delineation: Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of who’s responsible for what.  Creating a Project that explains each teammate’s responsibilities helps keep them accountable, and lets people know where to go if they have a question or idea.  And, because a team’s responsibilities are constantly adapting, the project is easily updated and shared if there’s a change.

Xtrant helps group convert “Rails to Trails” in Arkansas

Mason Ellis, Bret Budolfson and Lawson Baker leading the Southwest Trail.We love it when people use Xtrant to make things happen.  We especially love it when they use Xtrant to make cool things happen.

So it was really exciting when we met a small band of professionals from Little Rock, Arkansas who had a cool idea—and were using Xtrant to get big results.  As cycling enthusiasts, they have plans to construct a huge new biking trail.  This trail will be developed on 67 miles of abandoned railroad bed and will meander through beautiful Central Arkansan scenery and past historic sites and architecture, following the old Rock Island Line from Little Rock to Hot Springs.  Referring to themselves as the “501c3 Boys”, Lawson Baker, Brett Budolfson, and Mason Ellis see this as so much more than an upcycled railroad line.  It’s a way to grow connections between people and place, healthy bodies and healthy economies, a community’s history and its future.

When they took on this project, they realized they were going to need a very specific kind of tool to manage it on top of their already busy schedules.  According to Lawson, “Most large trail systems like this need to put together a 501c3 to get donations and have a place to organize funds.”  Realizing how challenging this can be, he added, “We needed different people to have access to different documents.  I didn’t want all the content being in ten different spots, and I didn’t want my email inbox bombarded with us talking about a project when we could see it in a different way.” 

That way was Xtrant.  With all the information compiled in one, easy to access project, these cyclists-turned-entrepreneurs coasted down a new, streamlined flow of productivity.  With each member of their team fully informed, they each work to advance the project without wasting time wading through emails, resending attachments, or repeating information.  They are making things happen faster and more efficiently.

The Southwest Trail Xtrant Project In Action

“When I first saw Xtrant, the main thing that I liked about it, and the reason I wanted to use it, was for aggregating content in one spot.“  Lawson said, “I knew at one point we were going to have lots of pictures of lots of stuff, and some of it would be on HIS computer and some of it would be on MY computer and we wanted it to be accessible to everyone, and I did not want a million email chains going back and forth.”

As they continue to handle fundraising, publicity, and write proposals for what’s being called the Southwest Trail, Xtrant is helping them stay accountable to each other, and focused on the next step.  Brett recommends it as a way to stay connected and get more accomplished:  “It works well for situations where you don’t have a project manager, per se.  We just have different people contributing to the project but no one is in charge of it.  So everyone can keep an eye on it, and that works well because we all have a busy schedule.”

This is Xtrant at its best: making an ambitious project not only possible, but straightforward, simple and exceptionally doable.