When Strata, Inc. wanted to build more efficiency and consistency across their offices into their field reporting processes, they had a good idea of what they were looking to achieve. After developing their own in-house electronic data reporting system, Strata selected Agile Frameworks’ MetaField solution to help expand their capabilities and provide more efficient and consistent field reporting.
Strata with headquarters in Boise, Idaho, has offices throughout Idaho and offices in Washington, North Dakota and Wyoming. They are a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing and inspection firm that’s been around for about 40 years.
Jim Murphy, CEO at Strata, said “The thing that we really liked about MetaField was that we had the ability to configure it the way that we wanted to use it—in both the way we took data in and then how we reported on that data. That was really big for us so, we weren’t just locked into a format that everybody else was using.”
This configurability allows Strata to use MetaField not only for field data collection and reporting, but also for storing information such as safety records, training records, and lab accreditations. According to Murphy, “We’re using MetaField for all sorts of things and have lots of forms in the activities that we’re designing and building to help us with various activities like training [so that] we have a consistent training record and it’s being stored in the MetaField repository. When we have an audit come in those training records are available—they’re not lost in some filing cabinet.”
As a firm with all of its offices in a northern climate, Strata has found MetaField’s scalability a huge benefit. Their workload and workflow increases dramatically during the construction season—late spring through the fall. With MetaField, Strata can scale up their number of users during the busy times and scale back down when the construction season ends.
“When we add 30, 40, 50 people for our construction season without having to add a tremendous amount of administrative help to take on getting those reports done—that’s really a big improvement for us,” said Murphy. “That allows us to keep our administrators focused on other areas where we get greater benefit than doing redundant data input.”
Along with scalability, Strata finds the platform easy to use. “I personally did the training and rollout for our offices, back in 2016. And I found that the ease of use was fantastic for getting it into the hands of our field personnel. They were able to take it out and almost immediately were very comfortable using it,” said Murphy.
Strata uses MetaField to help them up their game with their safety program. They were able to put together “near miss” incident reports that were consistent, easy to create, and easy to access in MetaField’s data repository.
They have found the ability to use MetaField for their safety program has been a real differentiator. According to Murphy, “We had to take the bull by the horns with respect to safety and we did. And using those tools in MetaField really helped us step our game up so that we were conducting audits on a regular basis.”
By sharing the “near misses”—identifying where they needed to make safety changes—with the rest of the company they were able to significantly improve their safety record. “Within two years’ time we had a dramatic improvement in overall corporate safety,” said Murphy.
In addition to safety, Strata has used MetaField as a repository for their laboratory accreditation activities. “We have found that to be a big help because they [lab techs] can share that information and see each other’s reports and internal audits,” said Murphy. “[Metafield]serving as a repository for corporate information is something that we started doing early on when we realized that there were a lot more capabilities than simply taking density tests and reporting field test results.”
“Getting accurate reports out timely is always our model,” said Murphy. “And MetaField has helped us dramatically with that.” In some of their vertical markets where they do special inspections, several agencies and jurisdictions require that a report is left onsite after the work is completed. With MetaField they can get the report to the right person via email or even print it out and deliver it.
“What I have found in working with Agile Frameworks over the years is that when we dive into MetaField and we see something that needs to be changed or we’d like to try something different that there is a real openness to that,” said Murphy. “There’s a consistency in approach to dealing with clients. We really know that when we’re working with Agile Frameworks we are a client and they treat us that way.”