Company Size: Large Enterprise
Function: Building Inspections
"Flowfinity definitely gives us an advantage, because our clients are reassured that we are using the latest mobile technology for real-time management of field operations, and gathering accurate, rich information at each building site."
-Yves Branconier, Service Director, LVM
380 Buildings to Inspect. 1 Week to Implement a Mobile Inspection Solution.
LVM, a division Dessau, a leading engineering-construction firm, was recently faced with a difficult challenge: having only one week to define and deploy a custom mobile inspection solution.
The division had a commitment to one of Canada's largest retailers to complete building inspections of 380 retail locations across the country within a very short timeframe. For previous projects, LVM had used paper forms to gather inspection data. This led to delays, missing or inaccurate information, and extra overhead for data entry and reporting.
"We needed a mobile solution for gathering onsite data for building inspections, and we needed to be able to review the data right away to ensure all the mandatory information was collected at each location," said Yves Branconier, Service Director, LVM. "Given our tight deadline for this project, it just would not have been possible to carry out the inspections using pencil and paper."
LVM evaluated several solutions and selected Flowfinity for the ability to quickly customize apps that met their requirements for data collection, mobile information access, database reporting, and ease of use of the iPad client. Flowfinity enables fast deployments of custom mobile forms and enterprise apps without any programming.
LVM leveraged Flowfinity Professional Services to customize a complete, end-to-end, private cloud-hosted building inspection solution.
"Other solutions we evaluated had pre-built forms with shallow functionality," said Branconier. "We needed something that was fully customizable to meet our workflow and data collection specifications. Flowfinity enabled us to create role-based building inspection apps specifically designed for our business processes, and it only took one week to design and deploy the entire solution."
Accurate, Real-Time Inspection Data
LVM's inspectors have replaced their paper forms with iPads in the field, allowing them to collect more accurate inspection data and submit it in real time. Mandatory fields in the iPad app are used to ensure that all the necessary information is gathered at each site before travelling to the next building. This is critical given the time-sensitive nature of inspection projects.
Once the data is submitted, it is reviewed by head office immediately. "Previously if the inspector forgot to inspect something onsite, we would not find out right away and this could lead to project delays and lost travel time," said Branconier. "Now all the data is available since the mobile inspection form cannot be submitted if there is missing information. We can pull a report as soon as the inspection is complete, review the gathered data and make sure it's all correct."
Easy-to-use iPad Client
Every Flowfinity app automatically supports cross-platform access from the most popular smartphones and tablets. LVM selected iPads for their field inspectors, who now take advantage of an easy-to-use app for collecting photos, capturing GPS locations, performing on-device calculations, and gathering other critical inspection data.
Flowfinity apps support offline use without network coverage, so work is never interrupted even in remote areas. "Of the solutions we evaluated, Flowfinity had the most user-friendly iPad client," said Branconier. "The ability to review documents attached to forms, sketch on photos using the touchscreen and work offline are all important features for LVM."
Mobile Access to Building Plans
Flowfinity supports two-way information transfer between enterprise systems and mobile devices, which LVM uses to make building plans available for quick access on iPads. This eliminates the need to carry around paper building plans, and provides a way to sketch on the plans electronically. Attachments, photos and other data can be stored on-device for access even in remote areas.
"Our building inspectors can open drawing plans from the database and make sketches on them, and store the files directly in the mobile form," said Branconier. "Having access to the files and information they need on the job keeps them more productive and reduces the delays of phone calls and emails."
Private Cloud-Hosted Database
LVM selected Flowfinity's private cloud deployment over on-premise and multi-tenant options. The private cloud hosted solution enabled quick deployment while still providing control over the database. Within less than two months of deploying the solution, LVM had collected 30,000 building inspection photos.
"Flowfinity is connected to a central database, which makes it very easy to organize, access, and store inspection data," said Branconier. "The private cloud deployment allowed us to get up and running in just a week, and we can do anything we want with the data, whether it's running reports, generating statistics, or exporting the data to Excel."
LVM has gained a distinct competitive advantage by achieving real-time information flow to and from the field. Flowfinity delivers better visibility, more accurate data, and more productive field operations, which has led to an optimized field force.
"Flowfinity definitely gives us an advantage, because our clients are reassured that we are using the latest mobile technology for real-time management of field operations, and gathering accurate, rich information at each building site," said Branconier. "Our field staff are also more productive with Flowfinity, enabling us to keep projects on-time and on-budget."
LVM has achieved the following key benefits using Flowfinity:
- Ability to meet tight project deadlines - Flowfinity built and deployed a cloud-hosted mobile solution customized for LVM's specific business process requirements in just a week.
- Improved data accuracy and timeliness - Real-time access to inspection data allowed management to review results and ensure required information was gathered completely and on time.
- Reduced administrative costs - The database-driven mobile solution with automated reporting eliminated the need for 3 administrative roles to retype data and create reports.
- Better customer service - The ability to collect accurate data and deliver real-time updates enables LVM to deliver better customer service and improve its competitive position.