Daily Field Reports – How to Turn a Lemon Into an Arnold Palmer

Daily Field Reports (DFR) are the bane of many organizations. These compulsory reports have been collected by inspectors and contractors for years – often on paper and delivered to the office in a file folder at the end of the week. In many cases they are only retrieved when a problem occurs.

Although necessary, Daily Field Reports often become expensive, filing cabinet filling lemons.

P&R Renovations(P&R) in Clearwater Florida is a typical medium sized painting and restoration contractor. As the business expanded geographically, Robert Leslie, the owner was looking for a solution that:

  • Provided immediate access to documentation on a problem
  • Automatically distributed the daily reports as PDF’s via email
  • Captured approvals directly in the field
  • Calculated production rates to improve the corporate estimating process

He wanted to turn his daily field report  lemon into an Arnold Palmer which could be enjoyed by both his clients and his staff.

When Leslie approach ChasmTech with his DFR objectives, a mobile application was recommended.  A pilot project was initiated using the default ChasmTech Canvas DFR template. This free download includes a 30 day Canvas trial.

With no training P&R staff were able to quickly configure and deploy a prototype application the field. This process engaged staff and made them active supporters of the application while identifying issues and requirements.

ChasmTech staff examined the prototype application and made modifications using the advanced features of Canvas to optimize data input and to organize the information for future Excel reports.

Sample mobile user interface screens for the daily field report application

Mobile user interface for the daily field report application

This image show the mobile user interface including the mani menu, work activities, photo capture and materials screens. Field staff appreciated the simple navigation using the main screen, pre-populated lists and grid forms that simplified data input and allowed for easy data editing.

PDF file of the daily field report.

PDF file of the daily field report.

Equally important is the daily report PDF file which is automatically emailed to Leslie and to the client.  This concise report documents activities, progress, issues and sign offs directly from the field and is automatically filed in the project folder.

So what was accomplished?

  1. P&R had a Daily Field Report tailored to their specific needs.
  2. A template was provided to allow staff to configure applications for future projects.
  3. The owner and client automatically receive an email containing a PDF file every day.
  4. Information on materials used, productivity and client signoffs is collected automatically.
  5. Office staff can download an Excel file that integrates directly into internal processes:
    • Billing is simplified and fully documented
    • Productivity reports are generated weekly
    • Project summary reports are generated to update the company’s estimating system.

“We have always struggled with Daily Field Reports particularly at remote sites” said Robert Leslie, P&R’s President. “ChasmTech’s experience in providing an integrated solution providing opportunities I did not see initially. When combined with the low cost of the Canvas platform, the solution allows me to stay on top of every project at a low  monthly cost.  Our clients are often Condominium Associations.  The DFR allows us to keep all board members informed on progress regardless of location, simplifying overall project management.  They love the solution!”

When all was said and done, P&R not only turned this lemon into an Arnold Palmer, their return on investment allowed them to share a few John Daly’s.

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About Lance Maidlow

A professional engineer and solution architect with direct experience in a wide range of industries including GIS, water, sewer, power, transportation and oil and gas. Currently focusing on the optimization of design software and field data collection for utilities, local governments and their supporting organizations.
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