Lakeside Streamlines Field Data With B2W Track Mobile App
BY Betsey Rogers
Lakeside Industries Inc., headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, is a full-service asphalt paving contractor with 17 asphalt plants, experienced crews, state-of-the-art equipment and full trucking capabilities. The family owned company was founded in 1952 and serves western Washington and northwest Oregon through locally managed regional divisions. Projects include airports, highways, city streets and private developments.
“Reducing time spent by multiple people to report employee hours, equipment hours, and general information captured by foremen on a day-to-day basis and improving visibility into that data were longstanding challenges,” Katie Peabody, senior business analyst, summarized. “We saw an opportunity to address these threats to our success with a product that makes it easier for the foremen to enter accurate data on the front end, so there are fewer corrections required and more insight available after the fact.”
Customize for Paving and Plant Operations
“To meet the varied requirements of our users, we took advantage of the unique flexibility B2W Track provides to innovatively build customized field logs,” Peabody explained.
Lakeside first developed a field log specific to the needs of its paving teams. Next, the company built a unique field log to capture an alternative set of data points relevant to its asphalt and aggregate plant operations. An iPad tablet interface gave foremen in the field access to the B2W Software’s B2W Track mobile application and ensured security.
The field log for paving construction crews serves as a one-stop-shop. Creative use of the B2W Custom Properties feature allows Lakeside to meet requirements for multiple departments, divisions and the company on a single, consistent log.
Information submitted previously through email, paper, texts or spreadsheets is now captured in the new log. In addition to standard payroll, equipment and production information, the company also collects data for quality and safety departments as well as customer satisfaction.
Lakeside customized a second field log to solve longstanding problems related to data capture and visibility specific to its asphalt and aggregate production plants.
B2W Custom Properties enable this log to capture an expanded range of data that had not been collected on a daily basis, including aggregates and liquid asphalt usage, natural gas meters, plant run times and reclaimed asphalt pavement/reclaimed asphalt shingle/waste/reject numbers.
This data gives the management group a daily job cost report for plants and a real-time view of plant operations.
Report and Collaborate across Workflows
Lakeside supplemented B2W Track capabilities with Tableau Software to build significant new reporting capabilities.
Data from B2W field logs feeds multiple dashboards and reports. Personnel, from foremen to owners, use the visual tools to manage daily performance and uncover areas for improvement more quickly and efficiently. “One important benefit is that, users see the value of their efforts in data collection as early as possible after the data is entered,” according to Peabody.
B2W Track also improved operational performance and collaboration by presenting information in a clear and timely manner and providing visibility across the organization, she added. “Project managers, superintendents and office managers see what the field is doing the moment the information is submitted instead of having to wait hours or sometimes until the next day. This opened the door for more communication within each division and across divisions.”
Deploy the Data
To improve field reporting and analysis, Lakeside first addressed variations in processes and data requirements across 14 divisional offices and 17 plants.
“We began the project with the assumption that we did not know all of the processes, jobs and requirements of the users who took part in the processes we were trying to improve with B2W Track,” Peabody explained.
She and a team of employees including Bill Siemering (senior IT director), Darci Renner (IT project manager) and Cami Cope (business analyst) led the project and conducted “process walks” at each site, engaging eventual B2W Track users in discussing, documenting and improving processes. They termed the effort “Won to Done” because they covered all steps, from the time a bid was won to the completion of the job.
Peabody says participants appreciated the chance to learn more about how they contribute to overall processes and to shape the new solution, factors that led to a successful deployment and immediate buy in.
Lakeside deployed B2W Track to one division at a time and achieved 100 percent user buy in and adoption in one full season. More than 130 employees now use the technology. Foremen were receptive due to the easy graphic interface, time savings and the opportunity to contribute to process efficiency, according to Peabody.
“They’re spending less time on paperwork, and information is correct the first time and doesn’t need to be sent back and forth to the office,” she explained. “Foremen are very happy to be able to go home to be with families and not have to spend an extra hour after a long day or night of work.”
Divisional accountants at Lakeside have gained time to better review and analyze the data coming in because they are spending less time on redundant reentry of data. “We have also improved the use of B2W Estimate by showing the importance of clear descriptions and how they flow all the way from our estimators and project managers to our field foremen,” Peabody added.
Lakeside Industries currently uses the B2W Track, B2W Estimate and B2W Maintain elements of the B2W One Platform, which have provided the following:
- Faster, easier data collection in the field;
- Accurate data on production, employees, equipment and materials;
- Elimination of duplicate data entry into multiple applications;
- Less exchange of paperwork between field and office; and
- Immediate visibility of field log data.