Geographic expansions were a driver for Minneapolis-based Braun Intertec to reconsider how they were delivering results to their clients. More and more of their clients were demanding real-time data so they could make critical project decisions.
The firm offers geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, and testing services to several market sectors including transportation, commercial, oil & gas, industrial and utilities. In addition to timely data, Braun Intertec needed to provide consistent field reports.
“We heard from our clients that as they started to grow and were using us in different geographic locations, they noticed differences in our deliverables. So we wanted to cinch that up and give a better product—a clearer picture of what a Braun report would look like from Williston, North Dakota to Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” said Matt Balster, P.E., principal and national CMT resource leader.
Braun Intertec started using Agile Frameworks’ MetaField® platform as a way to provide real-time data and consistent field reports across their company footprint. They also found they could address and improve several other key issues such as work quality and efficiency.
“The less amount of data you have to reproduce, the higher quality that data will be,” said Jeff Gebhard, P.E., chief technical and innovation officer. “With higher quality comes higher efficiency.” The mobile-enabled field data collection allows field techs to enter data once. The techs don’t have to bring back the data they’ve collected and put it on someone’s desk to sit there until someone gets to it.
“One thing we have seen as we’ve moved to MetaField is an increase in client satisfaction and increase in quality—less field mistakes, less re-submitting transmittals,” said Gebhard.
A key feature of MetaField—scheduling & dispatch—has been a huge benefit to Braun Intertec. They can send out electronic dispatches directly to their field team.
"We get instant notification once the technician accepts the dispatch,” said Balster. “MetaField scheduling and dispatch has allowed us in large metro areas to be able to delegate resources much easier. In a few of our locations across the United States we have multiple offices. And in these large areas, the schedulers can filter resources specifically to those offices. So if they are in need of assistance they can reach out.”
For field data collection, Braun Intertec uses MetaField as a virtual field folder where project managers can post and update project specifications and project information as needed. This capability allows field techs to access the most current information right in the field.
According to Balster, “We use MetaField for all of our field data collection. Our compaction testing, concrete, our daily field activities, our reports are all generated in the MetaField platform.”
“With MetaField we have taken a process that might take one to two days and we have shrunken that timeline down to an hour. And if needed by the client, we can do it simultaneously from the field to the PM review to the delivery within minutes,” said Balster
According to Gebhard, “The biggest metric that we can look at is how soon we can get our data into our clients’ hands. Now we get it in the clients’ hands immediately.”
“It comes down to client satisfaction. And it comes down to quality. And along with both of these, it comes down to efficiency. It’s hard to see right off the bat, but that efficiency—in-putting data one time, reviewing it one time and getting it to the client one time—that’s a quantifiable benefit that we’ve seen since day one,” said Gebhard.
“As we continue to streamline our processes, it becomes incumbent on our firm to understand how we can handle the workload through automation and using software to help advance efficiencies,” said Balster.