Regarded as a national leader in wood-frame construction, Birmingham, AL-based Doster Multifamily celebrated 40 years in the business this year by maximizing workflow on the job site, improving on its already rigorous quality control process and saving time and money on every project.
How did they do it? By implementing rugged tablets and automating field-based processes to connect to backend systems. But, of course, it wasn't just a simple case of design and build.
Doster knew a mobile solution could help it:
- improve communications with subcontractors;
- reduce wasted paper and time spent inputting handwritten field notes;
- improve accuracy of inspection records; and
- track work flow.
The company had deployed PDAs in its Multifamily Division the previous year in an attempt to meet some of these goals. "We went the PDA route initially because it seemed simpler," explains Doster Network Support Specialist CJ Rainer, "We weren't sure if the guys in the field were going to take to using the PDAs, how well they'd grasp the technology, and how excited they'd be about it. We were pleased at how quick they did grasp it and even outgrow it. We were only up a few months before we started to realize we could do more with technology out in the field than what we were able to do with the PDAs."
The PDAs lacked processing power, the screen size was too small to easily collect data in the field, and there had been a few instances of major data loss due to the clumsy and time-consuming process of syncing the handhelds to backend systems. Due to these issues, many workers were still using pen-and-paper to track quality control inspections.
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