Skiles Group, a Dallas-based general contractor specializing in complex healthcare facilities, has positioned itself for growth by embracing Lean Construction methods and new technology tools, including FieldLens. For example, right now they are using FieldLens to manage communication on a $26 million medical facility project.
Keyan Zandy, Director of Operations for Skiles Group and a Lean Construction advocate, says it’s important to utilize tools and processes that allow superintendents and foreman to communicate quickly. “The jobs that have the best communication are the most successful,” Zandy says.
And that’s where FieldLens comes in. Skiles Group’s field staff are using it for daily and weekly reports, submittals, RFIs, and issue tracking. “Some of our staff have told us their email use has been cut in half,” Zandy says. “They pretty much coordinate everything in FieldLens.”
James Eastham Jr, VP, Construction Operations, has been at Skiles Group since 1996. He says he likes FieldLens because he can keep his eyes on more than a dozen projects at once. It gives him a quick look at any job, allowing him to be better prepared to visit a jobsite. “I can pull it up in 30 seconds in the parking lot, read the last 15 items, and walk in informed,” Eastham says.
Getting tech into the field is getting easier. The Skiles Group team has found that FieldLens is so intuitive on smartphones that it’s replacing texting. It’s especially handy for creating and posting photo items. Zandy mentions a Skiles Group superintendent with 40 years of experience who first hesitated using FieldLens, but later said, “My memory is not what it used to be, and now this is my brain.”
FieldLens is just one of the ways Skiles Group encourages sharing of information. Project leaders hold daily 15-minute huddles with the field crew to discuss the day’s objectives. On larger projects, they pull up drawings and FieldLens on a large screen TV in the trailer; on smaller projects, they utilize a portable case with a screen, computer, and printer so they can do the same thing. The idea is to keep everyone informed about what’s happening and encourage information sharing.
“Traditionally, GCs hold too much information close to their chest. I’m of the opinion it should be just the opposite,” Zandy says. “Communication is part of our culture, and so many of our processes center around how efficiently and effectively we’ll communicate with our project team members. That’s why FieldLens has been an excellent fit.”
Images courtesy of Skiles Group
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