Objectives and results may have been typical, but the deployment and customization of B2W Track that took place in between at Lakeside Industries was unique.
The contractor with wide-ranging requirements exemplified how good things happen by combining honest assessment of workflows, employee involvement and a mobile performance tracking and reporting software flexible enough to adapt to those varying needs rather than one that forces the needs to adapt to the software.
Lakeside has 14 locally managed divisions that pave highways, streets, airports and private developments across western Washington and northwest Oregon. The family-owned company also operates 17 asphalt and aggregate plants.
Katie Peabody, a senior business analyst and part of the team that led the deployment of B2W Track, says collecting and submitting performance data in the field and at the plants with a mix of email, paper, text message and Excel spreadsheets was a growing threat to profitability. Lakeside also recognized the need to turn that data more quickly into intelligence that foremen as well as executives could use to manage operations more effectively.
“With B2W Track, foremen can record data faster, easier and more accurately, and it’s visible to everyone right away,” she summarizes.
Taking advantage of field log flexibility
Before deploying B2W Track, Peabody and her team worked with eventual users at each site to review processes. They called it “Won to Done” and covered the steps from when a bid was won to the completion of the job. That led to process improvements and some standardization, but the company also leveraged the flexibility of B2W Track and built field logs that accommodate varying requirements of the individual divisions and plants.
Logs for the paving divisions capture employee hours, equipment utilization and production information as well as data on quality, safety and customer satisfaction. At the asphalt and aggregate sites, customized logs provide something the company never had before: essentially a daily job cost report for plants based on visibility into production rates, material usage, run times and other data.
Reporting, collaboration and buy-in
Achieving universal buy-in among 130 plus B2W Track users in a single season is a testament to the deployment process at Lakeside and the ease-of-use qualities of the software. The value of the data produced also played a role, according to Peabody.
Employees – from owners to foremen – use dashboards and reports driven by the daily data from the B2W logs to manage more effectively and adjust more quickly. Seeing the value of their data collection efforts right away has in turn encouraged foremen to report more accurately and immediately. Real-time visibility into performance data across the company also improves collaboration and communication within and across the multiple divisions.
“The fact that they are spending less time on paperwork and can get home to their families faster after a long day, or night, of work, doesn’t hurt either,” she says.