Roadbridge is an Irish Civil Engineering firm that operates in many global locations including Ireland, the UK, Qatar and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Their projects include motorways, wind farms, golf courses, water schemes, site developments and gas pipelines. The majority of their work is carried out in remote areas, often with poor or no mobile coverage.
Ensuring that his teams were completing their paperwork while in the field was proving to be a difficult task for Peter Byrne, Roadbridge’s Quality/Environmental Manager. He sought a more effective way to ensure that his teams were fully completing the forms while in the field, as well as an efficient manner to transfer the information from job sites.
“I wanted our various field teams to be able to complete their paperwork as they are going around their sites, rather than having to come back to the office in the evening and sit down and retrospectively complete their documentation in the evenings,” explains Peter.
Peter found GoFormz in December, 2014.
“I had been doing a bit of an internet browse when I discovered GoFormz, so I signed up for a free trial,” Peter recalls. “We had been using a point-solution auditing app over the past year, but wanted a more feature-rich system like GoFormz that we could really put our own stamp on, rather than relying on fairly restricted templates that were provided by others and that don’t fully meet our needs.”
Initially, Peter started using GoFormz to replace the paper safety forms with mobile forms, such as plant safety checklists and site inspection lists. Today, the list of forms used is significantly greater and continues to grow. He now has 45 users spread over sites across Ireland and the UK using the GoFormz electronic forms on mobile devices as part of their daily work activities, including quality inspections and safety checks.
“We now use GoFormz for environmental forms, such as daily watercourse inspections and pump permits, as well as for quality forms such as subcontractor appointment forms and quality inspection checklists,” adds Peter. “We are also using the electronic forms to carry out pre-task briefings with our workforce. The list of GoFormz forms on the systems is constantly expanding and is really gathering momentum.”
In addition to mobilizing his forces at sites with electronic forms, Peter has been able to improve his teams’ time expenditures.
“Using GoFormz, we have freed up time for staff,” says Peter. “Carrying paper copies of documents and drawings around on site is very cumbersome and impractical, as we often work in very exposed and unforgiving conditions.”
Peter has noticed many other benefits in addition to the time savings.
“The sharing of information has increased and the provision of new forms has also greatly improved communication, as our sites are discussing the additional features that they can now add into their reports and checklists, such as site photos,” says Peter. “Our clients on the various projects where we use GoFormz are also very impressed and are wholly behind the move to electronic documentation.”
Currently, Peter and his teams use GoFormz for health and safety, quality and environmental documentation, but his goal is to expand into HR, plant department and administrative documentation over the next few weeks and months.
“Initially, I wanted to ensure that our users could see the benefits of going electronic with these forms, and in conjunction with Box, the offline availability of the forms is great,” adds Peter. “I am getting many suggestions from our sites for other uses of the system and over the next few months we hope to introduce the use of allocation sheets, plant fitter reports, and many others.”
At the beginning, Peter was concerned about his team’s interest in adapting to electronic forms, but in reality, he saw just the opposite.
“The main surprise I have found is the willingness of people to use the system and the suggestions that they have made, “ says Peter. “These were IT-averse people prior to the introduction of the forms and very reluctant to move away from older systems. It’s also great that the mobile forms can look exactly like our old paper ones. There is no need to change our everyday process.”
The bigger win? More and better data.
Says Peter, “I have also noticed that the forms are being completed more diligently than when using paper, as it was always easy to ignore certain fields. We have greatly improved the speed by which information is available to people, and our tendering teams can access up-to-the-minute examples of professional-looking documents to include as evidence in submissions.”
Additionally, much of the work done in the field has poor cell coverage, so offline completion of the forms occurs daily; with syncing happening when they are back at the compounds for lunch or in the evenings.
For Peter and his teams, there’s no looking back.
“I would say that moving to an electronic format is a no-brainer for any company that wants to improve their efficiency, create more professional-looking documents and reduce time wasted on completing forms,” he says.