Rocky Mountain Group automates site inspection reporting for maximum efficiency

Clark Regional Wastewater District

Region:  Western USA
Company Size: Medium Enterprise
Industry: Engineering/Construction
Function: Site inspections, Reporting, System integrations


Background

Rocky Mountain Group (RMG) is a leading engineering and architectural firm that has been delivering successful projects for over 30 years.

Headquartered in Colorado, they provide innovative services in architectural design, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, land planning and civil engineering throughout the western United States.

RMG leverages their expert knowledge of Colorado's ever-changing ground structure and expansive soils to maintain a position as leaders in managing problematic soil conditions. To support this important work, they need accurate soil sampling and site inspection data to ensure the reliability and efficiency of their operations.



The Challenge

As an engineering firm, RMG routinely inspects construction sites and performs soil analysis to ensure proper footings and foundations for concrete and rebar. Previously these inspections were done on paper forms that technicians would fill out manually on site and bring back to the office.

Engineers and office staff would have to sort through all that paperwork on a regular basis. This process could take a significant amount of time and effort to track missing or incomplete reports, if it even became known that work wasn't performed, or forms weren't submitted.

This reliance on manual processes and legacy systems made it difficult to know with certainty that site survey data was accurate. Confirming and transcribing paper field reports was not only time consuming but also had the potential to generate costly errors.

The Solution

After evaluating numerous other solutions, they found that off-the-shelf software wasn't flexible enough to cover all of the different custom inspections they wanted to create, while other no-code application building platforms were either too limiting in their functionality or too awkward to integrate with existing core systems. But then, RMG trialed Flowfinity to build site inspection applications.

Flowfinity was easy to learn, quick to deploy and allowed them access to views in the central SQL server which could be leveraged to simplify record sharing with their internal database, something very difficult to accomplish with spreadsheet-based apps.

"I'm happy to say that my experience with getting acquainted with Flowfinity is very positive and relatively easy," says Jeffrey Lubbers, IT Support Technician, Rocky Mountain Group. "I have a background in software development and that definitely makes things easier. It took about 2-3 forms to really see how most of the layout functionality and validation works. A few forms later and the relationship between how states can interact with the views really becomes apparent."

testimonial - Engineering Inspection Workflows

"I'm happy to say that my experience with getting acquainted with Flowfinity was very positive and relatively easy."

Within a short time, RMG had configured and deployed site inspection and reporting apps to the field that automated existing workflows by replacing their paper forms and manual processes with an effective custom digital data collection solution.

Site inspections

Managers at RMG appreciate how Flowfinity has helped improve their internal processes so that now they are aware if work is being missed. Previously they had no way of auditing inspections that had lost or incomplete paperwork.

"We knew what inspections should happen during tomorrow's workday, and tomorrow's workday would happen and the day afterward we wouldn't know if everything happened or not," recalls Jeffery Lubbers. "So now we have a way to actually track and check the work that was expected. It has become a useful audit tool."

Flowfinity also works offline, so even if a jobsite is in a remote area without network coverage field technicians can still complete their inspections on their devices, and the data is automatically sent to the server once an internet connection is established.



Reporting

Now RMG has a continuous digital workflow that isn't dependent on having a physical transaction. Managers regularly receive and review reports to keep track of project progress which helps speed up decisions and makes operations more efficient.

Meanwhile field technicians appreciate not having to fill out and organize manual site inspection forms or make a special trip to the office just to submit their paperwork. The Flowfinity inspections are accessible in RMG’s Project management software within 10 minutes of them being submitted. This allows our administrative team to always be able to report accurately to our clients the status of their projects.

Integrations

RMG has developed their own custom business app that acts as a central reporting hub for their projects and inspections. When data is collected using mobile inspection apps configured in Flowfinity, they use the provided integration client to connect to a .net app that scans through and grabs new records that haven't been processed into their custom business app yet.

Their integrated system then posts those new records into their existing application so they can be viewed in a central environment and saves the PDFs that they need to generate email notifications.

testimonial - Engineering Inspection Workflows

"Having access to traditional views in SQL server is a gigantic benefit… The integration to .NET would be sufficient but the access to SQL makes the development and management of our software much faster and simpler!"

"One of the strongest things is that the SQL lets us easily join the Flowfinity views with our custom .Net views so we can easily integrate the data and present it in our own application using a standardized path," says Lubbers. "Having access to traditional views in SQL server is a gigantic benefit…The integration to .NET would be sufficient but the access to SQL makes the development and management of our software that much faster and simpler!"

The Results

Today, RMG - Rocky Mountain Group has nearly thirty Flowfinity applications in the field. There are a number of different inspections that need to happen, and any time a paper form or spreadsheet can be replaced, a new application is quickly created and integrated into their IT ecosystem.

The key benefit that they have discovered is the time saved processing data into reports from the field. The other half of it is how their custom business application pulls the data collected on site right out of the Flowfinity database and generates reports. The PDF reports are a fantastic way to review every inspection that occurs and now they have a reliable record that is succinct and permanent.

testimonial - Engineering Inspection Workflows

"One of things that I’m most impressed with is the stability of the Flowfinity system. Once setup for our field techs, it is a set it and forget it situation, the darn thing just keeps running!"

The IT department cites the reliability of the Flowfinity platform as another impressive feature of the solutions they have built. "One of things that I’m most impressed with is the stability of the Flowfinity system. Once setup for our field techs, it is a set it and forget it situation, the darn thing just keeps running!" says Lubbers. "It's a unique tool, it's really reliable. Offline data is another major plus."

Going Forward

Based on the success they have had creating and integrating field inspection apps, RMG is considering other ways they want to eventually leverage the Flowfinity platform. One potential use case is to expand automated email notifications and reports to include their clients and sub contractors.

"So, in our current situation our techs send these shorthand messages from their devices and it's not always as professional of a presentation as it could be if they all had standardized content and formatting," says Lubbers. "Going forward, we plan to generate dynamic emails based on a report template that are created once the data is submitted. This will help provide better client service."

Automating more processes utilizing software robots and integrating GIS maps and high precision GPS coordinates into reporting dashboards are other Flowfinity capabilities that RMG could leverage to their benefit.

 

Having access to traditional views in SQL server is a gigantic benefit that makes the development and management of our software much faster and simpler!

Jeffrey Lubbers

IT Support Technician

Rocky Mountain Group

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