Operating since 1976, Budinger & Associates specializes in geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, exploratory drilling, laboratory analysis, construction material testing, and special inspection services. With office locations in Hayden, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, Budinger & Associates provides design and analytical services supported by in-house capabilities such as exploratory drilling, testing, and laboratory services.
Before GoFormz, Budinger & Associates solely relied on paper forms. “I was always driving pieces of paper around,” commented Andrew Balavage, North Idaho Construction Services Manager for Budinger & Associates, detailing how manual form delivery was a common operational challenge encountered on the job.
However, concrete inspections conducted in the field highlighted the need for a digital solution to address the inefficiencies stemming from paper forms. “We would go out into the field on a Monday to do a concrete inspection and make concrete test specimens that are picked up the next day,” explained Balavage. “This meant that the form would have to be driven back to the office so the person who is picking up the specimens can focus on checking those cylinders.”
Recognizing a clear need to improve existing processes, Balavage took it upon himself to begin the search for a digital form solution.
Balavage knew that in order for their digital transformation to be successful, Budinger & Associates needed a solution that would allow them to easily use their existing forms. “The question was, were we going to find a solution where the form looked the same as our paper forms?”
Balavage tested a variety of platforms, but found many to be overly complicated or underwhelming. “I’m not a programmer by any means, but I wanted to see if I could at least dabble in the platform and get whatever legwork done myself,” noted Balavage. “A lot of the other platforms were like you just sent them the form and then they regurgitated it to something that looked like it needed a lot of fixing after the fact.” This approach would not be feasible for Budinger & Associates’ evolving document collection.
Finally, Balavage landed on GoFormz. “I was getting tired of free trials, but when I found GoFormz, it just stuck.” As GoFormz allowed the Budinger & Associates team to simply upload a JPG or PDF of their existing forms, it was easy to set up their forms just as they were needed and onboard new users. “Our team really liked it because they weren't driving papers around anymore.”
The primary document utilized by the Budinger & Associates team is their Daily Field Report, which is 34 pages long. “During our busy season, which is basically May through November, we complete this form up to 260 times in one week,” explained Balavage. However, not all 34 pages are utilized in each daily field report. Using GoFormz, this 34-page report is now equipped with Conditional Logic that automatically arranges forms in sequence and removes pages that are unnecessary for the user, based on the selections made throughout the form. “Depending on the type of inspection we’re doing, you need a specific form, so we decided to stack those forms together and make it dynamic,” explained Balavage.
Every GoFormz form feature is utilized within this extensive form. “As far as features go, we use every single one of them,” noted Balavage. “We include pictures on our forms every day and I really like the File Attachment field where we can attach additional files to the form.” Along with the Image and File Attachment field, the Budinger & Associates team also highlighted their frequent usage of Checkbox Groups, Table fields, and digital Signatures.
Once a report is completed, Balavage then has instant access to the form, allowing him to use hidden fields to annotate the document. This feature simplifies the form-filling process by hiding fields not relevant to other users, reducing incorrect data entry and resulting in a seamless user experience.
The Budinger & Associates team also uses a New Job Setup form, which is used to create a Database. “All of the information in this form gets pushed into a Data Source that we use on our other forms,” explained Balavage. “That’s how we create our distribution list.”
Utilizing the SQL integration, all of the information entered into the New Job Setup form is automatically added to a Data Source, eliminating the need for redundant, manual data entry into an Excel spreadsheet. “The one thing I’ve really liked about using this form is that I’ve had some issues in the past with our database where I accidentally delete a bunch of stuff. Now, all you have to do to get it back into the database is re-complete the form and you’re up and running,” explained Balavage. “This allows me to keep a smaller database, but with the form in the background as an insurance policy.”
Budinger & Associates leverages Automated Workflows to streamline communication and enhance internal processes. “In the New Job Setup form there is a whole distribution area where you can include up to 17 names and email addresses,” explained Balavage. “When our admin completes the form, it pulls that list into an auto-email workflow and instantly sends it out to the client.”
In addition to automatic emails, an Automated Workflow tied to SQL is used to streamline work distribution. “Our schedule is access based and how we assign our technicians is on the SQL server. Every night at midnight a form gets created and searches that server for the next day’s jobs and then creates the form for that person and assigns it to them,” explained Balavage. “I believe at 12:15 AM this morning everybody had their forms and we had 29 jobs on the schedule.”
The Budinger & Associates team also leverages the Box and Zapier Integration. “I've got a box integration where forms are automatically uploaded to Box. I also have a Zapier integration that whenever a new file is placed into Box, it creates a form in GoFormz and notifies me,” explained Balavage.
Budinger & Associates has saved significant time and resources throughout their digital transformation journey with GoFormz. “If you spend three hours driving a piece of paper back to the office, then that’s three hours you’re not doing anything,” explained Balavage. Incorporating digital forms into their daily processes allows Budinger & Associates to streamline communication, resulting in significant time savings.
“When we first started, we were doing weekly reports using paper forms. Those forms would come back, the admin person would have to type them out, and it would go out to the client weekly,” explained Balavage. Thanks to their transition from paper to digital, Budinger & Associates can now generate daily reports that are instantly shareable with clients. “We went from a weekly report to a daily report, and now we can track things better,” noted Balavage. “We have a 24-hour turnaround time and rather than somebody typing it up, the actual form gets sent out to the client now.”
Transitioning from paper to digital forms also helps the Budinger & Associates team save on resources. “There’s no way we could have done this all on pen and paper. We would have had to hire so much admin staff, it would have taken a lot of bodies to cover the same amount of workload,” expressed Balavage. The ability to take on more work with the same amount of personnel has significantly helped the Budinger & Associates team be more efficient. “We’re not wasting time shuttling papers and the administrative reporting is streamlined because of this.”
Budinger & Associates uses a unique method for identifying upcoming projects with GoFormz. “I've got a form called the ‘GoFormz Suggestion Form’ that people can fill out. When it’s completed, it comes to me and then I work on those changes,” explained Balavage. As their form collection continues to expand, Balavage admits that he is unable to interact with each form daily, which is why the GoFormz Suggestion Form is beneficial to their business. “With as many forms as we have, I don't use them every day. So if a person has an issue with the form, it's an easy change. I just need to know about it.”
In addition to evolving their existing digital forms, Balavage also noted that as more features and functionalities are released by GoFormz, they plan on using each one to the fullest. “There are constant upgrades and with GoFormz adding new features constantly, that will really help us continue to grow.”