It’s one thing to design a sign for a customer. It’s quite another to initiate site surveys, obtain permits and see a project through from design and manufacture to installation and ongoing maintenance, as well as ensure consistent branding of signs at multiple locations.
In this niche is where Bob Egan, founder of Egan Sign, a national sign-management company headquartered in Wyomissing, saw opportunity to add value to the industry.
Egan grew up in the sign-making business, learning how to hand-carve wooden quarter-board signs at his father’s custom millwork shop in Nantucket, Mass.
In the early 1800s, quarter boards with the name of the ship were used on port and starboard sides – the front “quarter” to signify a ship was legitimate, not pirate. People would salvage these wooden signs off ships and put them on their houses, naming their homes something serendipitous.
The father held onto these sign patterns and passed them on to his son, who evolved his own business into a commercial sign enterprise.
Along the way, Bob Egan recognized that for many owners of sign companies, sign making was a craft with great attention and time spent on the details of the business.
Yet a customer could get the same sign from another company, which often had a negative impact on the attitude of sign-business owners. Egan resolved not to go the same route, but to find a way to use existing technology to improve productivity.
“The big kahuna for us,” Egan said, “was to develop a database or software program that would allow us to complete projects very quickly.”
Fifteen years ago, Egan Sign launched SignManager, a proprietary software program that would allow the company to perform thousands of jobs per year. Each job has a unique input number that includes everything about the job, such as permits, design details and target dates for completion – all of which comes up when someone from the project management team pulls up the record.
The software contains all customer data, a paperless operation that enables even more efficiency.