GVCA Journal March/April 2016
Getting things done faster with more accuracy in the field is paramount in the fiercely competitive construction industry.
Looking at this challenge from a tech perspective, Marco Provenzano, owner of Think Wireless Solutions Inc., says his company’s main focus was to discover a process by which it could transfer data from the field to the office in a timely fashion.
“We needed an application that did this seamlessly and have a very high uptake with users,” he says. “Field2Base was the answer. It allows companies to digitize and integrate its exsiting paperwork into its database via tablets with cellular capabilities.”
It's like the Swiss Army knife of applications.
“We use Field2Base for our mobile forms on all of our jobsites,” confirms Dan Straus, vice-president, finance at Trade-Mark Industrial Inc. “We are now about 80 percent through the implementation process with approximately 200 tablets in the field. We are trying to get anything that was filled out on paper onto a tablet so that information can get from the field to our office instantly.”
Straus emphasized that the time savings and accuracy have been the biggest benefits to adoption of the technology. In the past, it could take as many as three days for paperwork to make its way to Trade-Mark’s head office from a jobsite that was far enough away. Now, the company collects paperwork as it’s done – and in a more legible form.
“Our foremen are filling out the same forms on their tablets that they always have,” says Straus. “That includes anything from time sheets to work orders to safety forms. There really has not been much resistance to the new technology by staff.”
Additional benefits, such as being able to append information such as video clips, voice annotation and photos directly to the forms, also help. Often some of this information could get lost among multiple emails. The software even provides triggers such as reminders about other forms that need to be filled out.
Trade-Mark’s next stage of implementation is to incorporate an automated approval process, called Workflow, so that its electronic forms move directly to the company’s specific departments. Its final implementation stage will see form data integrated directly into its back-end enterprise management system.
Trade-Mark has dedicated one staff member to managing the Field2Base implementation. She shows staff members how to use the tablets and is available to answer any questions or field any suggestions they may have.
So far Trade-Mark is the largest client in Canada using Field2Base. The application has taken off like wildfire in the United States.
As Provenzano points out, the learning curve couldn’t be simpler.
“If you were using paper and pen on Friday, you could be using a tablet and your fingertip on Monday.”