When I first started consulting for TrackVia, I met with their onboarding team to learn about their workflow platform. A construction industry veteran, I immediately had dozens of questions about how they solved problems unique to construction.
While I was CEO of Casey Construction, the biggest information problem within the company stemmed from the data breakdown between the job site and the office, which rendered the data practically worthless. That’s why I have two rules for digitizing job site operations — 1) collect the data at the ‘Point of Sale’ where it’s being created, and 2) people should only have to enter data once.
Of all the things I saw in TrackVia, the mobile app immediately caught my attention. I was really interested in the way it allows workers to collect data all the way to the ‘face of the work’ and then how the app automatically sends it to the office.
Having been in this business more than 35 years, I was cautious at first because it seemed too good to be true. So, I put the TrackVia onboarding team through their paces:
First, I was concerned about collecting data when the job site is in the middle of nowhere or when our people are below ground surrounded by concrete and steel. With TrackVia, workers at the job site don’t have to worry about whether they are online or offline. Workers can collect data from anywhere, even offline, and the app will sync once its back on a reliable connection.
My next area of interest was speed and accuracy. We could collect tons of information, but our craft people weren’t paid to collect data; they were paid to install. TrackVia covers this by using standardized forms with checkboxes and drop-down choices, as well as barcode scanning. What really hit me was how many steps can be eliminated out of the data gathering process. Instead of collecting on paper, then transferring to Excel and, god-forbid, yet another system, workers enter the data once from the mobile app on the job site and it’s uploaded automatically to the same system office workers use to interpret it.
At this point, I thought about how work would get assigned and re-assigned to others. On our job sites, we asked all our people to do safety observations; it was a key part of our safety program. Using paper checklists, we’d take the collected data and input it into a system, look for trends, and then address any issues. It’s a great plan but takes lots of time to collect the forms and then enter all the information into a spreadsheet. With TrackVia, you can initiate workflows from those Points of Sale as soon as the data is observed and entered. This means, quality, safety, supplies and more can be assigned, ordered, and addressed in real-time. Plus, you can use mobile capabilities, such as geolocation, pictures, and sign-offs.
Lastly, construction firms all have different processes and requirements. What’s important to one, isn’t important to another. For example, we rarely captured inventory numbers but we absolutely had to have work-area percentage completes. Unlike pre-built software apps, TrackVia lets you build your own apps according to your specific processes, policies, and reporting requirements. Plus, these apps require little to no IT resources. There’s a little-known secret called “low code” app development, which I’ll cover in my next blog.
In their latest eBook Prevent Data Breakdowns, TrackVia discusses how you can use custom-built mobile apps to ensure your data gets from the job site to the office and back again without a shred of leakage or degradation. I encourage you to check it out and put TrackVia through your own paces.
Out of curiosity, are you experiencing data breakdowns to and from your job sites? I’d love to hear from you.
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