North American Pipeline Inspection needed a solution to alleviate their burdensome administrative demands, as well as expedite data processing and pipeline inspections.
North American Pipeline Inspection now digitizes and fills out forms using GoFormz, allowing users to leverage automated processing, new data types (like GPS) and real-time reporting.
North American Pipeline Inspection provides field service management to the oil and gas industry, delivering “project management skills and extensive construction experience” to every job site. Tasked with building and repairing pipelines, the North American Pipeline Inspection team prioritizes “seamless communication, on-site organization, and solid, quality handiwork every time.”
The North American Pipeline Inspection team delivers exceptional project management to oil and gas industry construction projects. These projects, ranging from construction to pipeline maintenance, are heavily regulated, requiring detailed documentation and field team accountability. North American Pipeline Inspection originally relied upon paper forms and books to capture business-critical field data. This process was not only difficult for field teams, who operate in remote areas and poor weather conditions, but also burdensome for back-office administrative personnel. Paper forms delivered from the field needed to be rekeyed into spreadsheets, wasting significant time and requiring the staffing of administrative teams.
Tony Burke, a Project Manager and Chief Inspector at North American Pipeline Inspection, recognized the company’s need for a more modern, efficient means of data capture. “There were mountains of papers and books we accumulated every day from each inspector, and each task,” Tony recalled of his team’s struggle with paper forms. Fortunately, Tony had previous experience with GoFormz mobile forms and identified an opportunity to streamline his team’s data capture, sharing and processing, within one platform.
Tony and his team began by digitizing their Daily Inspection Report, a frequently used document critical to the North American Pipeline Inspection operation. Daily Inspection Reports are completed from multiple locations and used to capture critical data before a pipeline is tested for leaks. Data collected within the Daily Inspection Report needs to be incredibly accurate, as testing pipelines is not only expensive, but can also result in significant environmental damage if completed incorrectly. “Every two thousand feet of pipeline there is a connection that needs to be monitored, measured and captured on a daily basis,” Tony explained. “During construction, if we can go back to a specific connector based on GPS data, that enables us to speed up the repair and the whole entire process.”
GPS data capture has not only helped to improve the management of specific pipeline features, but also helps manage the field workers themselves. “I can see when they push a button, where they are at,” Tony explained. “It also gives me the quality assurance of knowing the guys are in the field completing that form, and where their location is.”
Before GoFormz, field teams would end their 12-hour shift by transcribing their reports from their log books and eventually handing off their documents to an administrative worker. This would often take hours and required the hiring of a dedicated admin. Now, with mobile forms, as soon as a form is completed, collected data is available for review and processing immediately. “They’re not spending two hours at night after a twelve hour shift trying to get the reports transferred from our log books,” Tony explained of this improvement. “They’re doing it on their phones and iPads during the day, and everything is more detailed as there is more data collected.”
Now that data collected via mobile forms can be automatically routed and reported on, the North American Pipeline Inspection team has managed to eliminate the need for strictly administrative staff members. “There’s probably three weeks worth of work that we’ve eliminated,” Tony approximated. “Up front we’ve eliminated two people collecting and maintaining reports. At the end we’ve eliminated the need for an entire team, because we can now maintain every project daily, along with every report generated, and drop it right into Dropbox.”
Once a form is completed from the field, a copy is delivered to the group leader and another copy to the Chief Inspector, who collects the completed forms and crafts a weekly report based on the captured data. This data and documentation are eventually shared with state agencies and other regulatory bodies as a part of the project’s history.
Mobile forms have not only led to expedited data collection and improved reporting, but also helped the North American Pipeline Inspection team to “bridge the gap of field knowledge and tech, and made us that much better.” By “bridging the gap” between field experience and tech, mobile forms empowered Tony’s team to elevate the quality of their field data, without demanding they adapt to a rigid, unfamiliar platform. Because their mobile forms look exactly like their original paper forms, end users could easily and efficiently navigate their digitized forms, while simultaneously improving data quality.
Due to the nature of pipeline construction and maintenance, the North American Pipeline Inspection team generally operates in remote areas and in extreme weather. “We would start at 5:30 in the morning. We would head out to remote locations, where most of the time during the winter it’s -50F,” Tony detailed. “We would have a pencil and waterproof paper, trying to collect all of this data in the frozen tundra.” This process was especially brutal, because each team was required by the state to be on location, in the field. “We’re supposed to be approving a critical moment in the construction process. My guys get paid for watching that process and approving it. If I can speed them up with GoFormz so they are no longer [filling out forms] in their truck… they are doing what they get paid to do.”
The significant cost and time savings achieved via mobile forms, has allowed North American Pipeline Inspection to pass savings on to their customers. “GoFormz allows us to function with a smaller, elite team to give customers what they require.” GoFormz has empowered Tony and his team to not only work faster and more thoroughly, but also to eliminate the need for administrative personnel, adding to their savings.
The North American Pipeline Inspection team plans to not only dramatically grow the number of mobile form Templates within their account, but also their number of users. Additionally, Tony plans to refine the formulas used within their mobile forms, add new calculated fields, and integrate their forms with Dropbox.