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As our company grows, we are having trouble keeping the department's schedule running nice and smooth. We have tried, using calendars, and spreadsheets, but it seems that for us a whiteboard for the fieldcrew and a whiteboard for the cad team is the way to go. Does anyone out there have some good ideas that allow the project manager, fieldcrews, and the cad team to all see schedules at the same time so everyone knows what is going on and can give their input?
This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network
Hello everyone ! This is my first response to this discussion, but I go there, I work for a small survey
company in Florida, and we have experienced several "growing pains" but, we have learned from it.
Monitoring the crews and CAD operators by date is essential to succeed in our environment and
applications such as Office 365 or Monday.com can help, but the most important thing is that
employees are aware that they should follow every detail, I know that It may sound boring or
repetitive but it is fundamental to maintain order and be able to grow more smoothly.
1) a dispatcher should take charge of tracking the field team with either a excel sheet or with an email
as an example, workorders-blah-blah [email protected], in which should be a generic email for who
is willing or in charge of following the field teams. Not all jobs are going to have the same delivery date,
so a mandatory follow-up should be done.
2) someone different should charge of collecting all the information form the field work and
give it to to the CAD operator, also the CAD operator can find their own information such as: aerial
photos, city plans, etc..
3) once these two previous steps are strictly followed, I guarantee that the transition from the field to
the client will be smoother. The human factor is always there, and being aware and responsible is a
criteria that not all human beings have. Communication in the office and with the client are extra
condiments that are also welcome.
I hope this helps. Good luck
You're on the right track James, there may be a few apps around but the white board is still the best. A board for everyone to see, as soon as anyone comes in the office or while working or whatever one is doing, it is there reminding the whole crew of what one should do. Its good to have fancy design on the wall in the office but I prefer a large board fixed on the wall with the works schedule clearly written out. Urgent tasks can be a reminder to the whole team in bright colored pen, and for me to make sure that everyone is updated, I spend 3 - 5 minutes every morning of what I call QUREM (Quick Reminder Meeting) get everyone's attention for a quick discussion right there in the main office and remind them again of their tasks and so on (no harm in calling a quick meeting every morning - just a reminder to everyone).
Great suggestions everyone. I don't think I will ever stop using the whiteboard, but one day I hope to find a good management software, that let's everyone participate from the office or the field.
Hi James, we used to use a book then white boards then call everyone to check they know what they are doing etc etc... We created in 2007/2008 a data base using Microsoft Access under windows XP professional but in 2012/2014 this became very tedious and slow under Windows 7 etc... We tried fixed updated Microsoft Office etc. but still was very slow (could be computers..) you could only key in a new job number but then would 'hang' for 10 - 15 mins. we neede a better solution like you. A year or so ago (2017) I asked the chap who created this under my direction, who incidentally stopped working for us in 2008 if we could speed up and he suggested making it all web based. We eventually got this up and running with my son's help in creating the PHP web based system that now our surveyors can log on to get job information and complete/close the jobs they are on. Various reporting can created and we also form invoice details for our bookkeeper. The system has been in operation for just over 2 years now and is extremely useful. It is refreshed on the screens every 30 seconds and works form iphones and Andriod phones.
At the end of every week we capture the 4 main displays as a 'hard copy' in case we need to view previous work programming from any period. The lads get an email everyday stating what their workload is for the coming days, what survey kit is allocated to them, whether we are using sub-contractors to say complete underground utility surveys. We also use to tell us where the (sales) source of our work comes from, ie. referral, google adds, existing clients, telephone, web pages etc. It is a fairly powerful system and could be very useful for all types of companies. If you need more info please drop us a line, the attached PDF outlines the computer and system requirements together with an idea of costs and what the system looks like in the flesh....cheers David
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James, your focus on wanting to continue to get more organized and more efficient as you grow is awesome. It is important to note I lead a SaaS company with a web-based, integrated software system built for land surevying companies called SurveyStars. In my role, I travel all over the US meeting with land surveying company owners/principals and management teams. As you can imagine, like the great responses within this forum, I have seen many excel spreadsheets, whiteboards, work order scannning, access data base programs, etc. Some of the tools can work quite well for certain companies at certain stages of their lifecycle (personally, I have always loved excel for doing spreadsheeting and detailed analytics). However, the greatest challenges we have witnessed with most of the systems, relative to operating more efficiently, is the lack of integration and the non-relational aspects of these tools (meaning, you and your team end up running too many systems and having too many redundancies, entering the same information multiple time across multiple systems that do not "talk" to each other). So as you learn more from this forum and other resources and further review systems/programs just make sure it integrates and connects the dots across your entire business; it will solve your current and future needs; it injects consistency and repeatabiliy into your process and it is scaleable so it can grow with you as you grow.
Relative to your specific question(s): within Stars, everyone can see what status every job is in currently as well as mapping functions to see visually where each job is located (current and past) and who has been assigned to it (plus one click routing and mobile FieldStar app for crew connectivity). There are sortable priority 'pipeline' reports for each role - CAD Tech, PLS, etc. so they know their prioities and can remain focused. There are team communication tools built-in to allow real-time communication across the company. Additionally, we are in final develoment and beta testing of a Resource Allocation Calendar (a drag-n-drop calendar system for visualizing and moving field resouces across multi-step, mulit-tme frame projects). This will be the industry's first integrated, digital "no-smear" white board - I think :)
Over the last two years we have traveled extensively and listened to the challenges and needs of the land surevying profession - we have further built and enhanced the SurveyStars software to address those needs and help companies drive even more efficiency, productivity, communication and accountability into their day-to-day activities. It is really an A-Z system - quoting/proposing all the way through invoicing and document management (digital filing cabinet). We get our best ideas from our user-base and the land surveying community. We are lucky to have a very nimble and responsive development team. We are in the process of rebuilding our website and we are excited to re-launch the site in the next few weeks with a great deal of useful content and educational tools to help land surveying companies get better!!! We are passionate about it. Take a look and let us know what you think, we love new ideas and feedback, www.surveystars.com. Feel free to email me as well at [email protected] Hope these thoughts were helpful - cheers. Rich
You can try smartsheet. You can also use it for equipment tracking.