As a Southeastern firm that is growing to the north and the west, North Carolina-based S&ME was looking for a field reporting software solution that would provide consistency across all of their locations that would allow them to be more responsive to their clients.
The geo-professional firm specializes in geotechnical, environmental, construction materials testing, planning and design, transportation and energy. They also were interested in a solution that would minimize or eliminate the need for paper documents.
S&ME chose Agile Frameworks’ MetaField® solution because they were trying to address challenges with their field reporting processes and saw that technology could help them do that. According to Matt Moler, P.E., senior engineer, “Before MetaField, we were internally developing a program that attempted to meet that need. But when you take on that role, you’re programming internally and there are difficulties associated with that. So, we quickly realized that if we’re going to continue to evolve and grow, we need to look at other opportunities, and MetaField was one that we considered.”
Needed to improve field reporting efficiency & quality
In general, S&ME was trying to improve their field reporting efficiency as well as the quality of the information they sent to their clients. “The main things we were attempting to address—both from a client perspective as well as an internal perspective—were how can we do this quicker, more efficiently, more consistently, and with high quality?” said Moler.
More specifically, they wanted to build a relationship with the people who provide the solution. “We chose not to go with something commercially off the shelf. We wanted to be able to work as a partner for improvements,” said Randy Martin, P.E., vice president and director of construction services. “[Agile Frameworks] allows us to provide input on what our challenges are—areas we’d like to see improved.”
Information capture in the field
“With MetaField you’re using devices that allow you to capture information in real time while you’re in the field. If you are on a job site and you want to take pictures, you can take pictures with the device and automatically upload it to a given report that you’re writing,” said Moler.
Following the firm’s desire to minimize paper, Moler likes the ability to take drawings and specifications from a specific project and upload them into the project database. This allows project team members to access those documents in real time versus bringing a set of plans or a binder of specifications to the work site.
Streamlined Processes Encourage
Use of Tool
According to Moler, “Our folks in the field enjoy the use of MetaField because it streamlines their process and makes it more uniform.” For project managers and engineers reviewing information in the office, the dashboard feature shows project tasks that need to be completed. MetaField’s dashboards also walk you through the process of generating a report. “There’s a lot of features that have made our lives easier—whether in the field or in the office. They are very important. Our firm appreciates them and I think our clients appreciate them as well because it streamlines a process.”
“When we were primarily paper-driven, it was very difficult to measure performance. We have that capability in MetaField now,” said Martin. “We have seen project managers that historically would choose to provide a client with a weekly or monthly summary report only because it more convenient for them to review the reports in that time. Now we have the ability to provide those reports daily, weekly depending on what the client wants us to do.”
Increased Field Reporting Quality
“We feel MetaField would be a great fit to use in other service lines to improve some of their reporting characteristics. The ability to create a customizable form that meets our clients’ needs and hits all of their hot buttons and is in a nice, clean format when it goes out in a report has been a pretty big benefit,” said Moler.
“We wanted consistency across our locations. We wanted a more paperless system or a completely paperless system. And we wanted to be more responsive to our clients. MetaField has allowed us to do all of those things,” said Martin. “We have through our electronic reporting system the ability to provide clients draft results that day as well as possibly final reports later that same day or the following day once our project managers are able to review it. It really has increased the quality that we provide for our clients.”
Want to Learn More about S&ME’s Experience?
Watch our latest video featuring SM&E’s own Randy Martin and Matt Moler talk about their experience with Agile Frameworks and MetaField by clicking the button below. You can also learn more on our solution by downloading the MetaField brochure HERE.