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Learn an Easier Way To Plan and Execute Work

In this webinar, InEight Director of Industry Solutions A.J. Waters provides an innovative journey into the benefits of integrating scheduling and planning with the installation of work to provide a more proactive look at execution.

A.J. will explain how an intuitive digital toolset makes this possible by dramatically simplifying project scheduling, as well as daily work planning and time collection.

 

Originally aired on 3/5/20

30 Minutes

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Transcript

John Klobucar:

Hello, I’m John Klobucar with InEight. I’d like to welcome you to the latest webcast in our Construction Tools series. Today’s webcast is titled, Learn an Easier Way to Plan and Execute Work.

John Klobucar:

Our presenter today is AJ Waters who is a director of industry solutions at InEight. In this role, AJ leads a team of engineers who engage with InEight customers to help them find innovative ways technology can be used to achieve predictable outcomes, improve project performance, and minimize risks.

John Klobucar:

Now, if you have any questions as you watch the webcast, please email them to webcasts@ineight.com and AJ will do his best to answer them. Also, this presentation is being recorded and we’ll be sending you a link to the video in about a week’s time. Once again, we’re glad you’ve joined us today and now let me introduce, AJ Waters.

AJ Waters:

Thank you, John. As John mentioned, we’re going to be looking at today an easier way to plan and execute the work, but really we’re going to take even one step deeper than that because we’ve all been there. Right?

AJ Waters:

We’ve all been on projects where somewhere in the office an estimator is putting together the scope of work. We’re trying to determine what it’s going to cost, how it’s going to be broken apart, and they’re doing that based on the drawings. Wow! Somewhere else, there is a scheduler putting together the schedule and that could be the next project manager, that could be the estimator trying to piece both things together at the same time. Depending on the size of your company, this, these could be two completely different departments.

AJ Waters:

What happens is the project gets awarded and that goes out to the field and the field team goes, “What on earth did we just get ourselves involved in?” Right? They’re trying to figure out how does this over here relate to that over there? How does this critical path get broken into these cost buckets and what do I need to account for as I begin to plan out this work and what do I have budget for to go get it done?

AJ Waters:

But, there is a flip side to that. Right? We’ve probably been on the other side of the fence. A field team out executing the work, we’re capturing our hours, we’re capturing our quantities, we’re putting that all together on this piece of paper and we’re sending that piece of paper back into the office and now it’s going to start routing through multiple departments. Right?

AJ Waters:

The engineers are going to track their quantities. The safety guy needs hours to know how many days we’ve worked without an incident. The payroll clerk wants to know how to pay these people. And again, they go, “What on earth are we looking at? I can’t even read this.” Right? And so the question that we really want to answer today is, who is to blame?

AJ Waters:

I’m sure many of you are chuckling right now because it’s a finger pointing act. Right? There is really no one to blame in this scenario. It’s where we coined the phrase, “So-and-so threw it over the fence.” Right? It’s not really that there is necessarily someone to blame. It’s really that construction to date has not really caught up with this concept of being able to collaborate, being able to communicate across these different silos in the way the projects are set up.

AJ Waters:

And so really what we want to focus on today is not who’s to blame, but how can we simplify collaboration? How can we as a team work better to put those silos together and communicate our plan all the way through to execution and really close that loop, so the next time we do it, it isn’t as difficult as it was last time. So today, we’re going to focus on how InEight’s set of construction tool solutions simplify those things.

AJ Waters:

First and foremost, we’re going to look at simplifying collaborations from estimating to execution in the scheduling process. It’s a very important piece of the project that the data and the information that you start with and we want to simplify that collaboration. And then how we take that and we streamline it into a short interval plan. So all that information is very, very beneficial in the upfront planning phase. But, now we got to go build it. How do we put that into a plan to get done?

AJ Waters:

And then as we’re getting that plan done, we’ve got to capture what’s happening. And so integrating that with on the move to capture the work progress. And really, the fundamental goal of all this big data, right, is to foster a proactive culture through realtime feedback. Not just how can we fix this problem in the future, but how can we fix this problem now as it’s happening on the job site as we’re falling behind?

AJ Waters:

So first and foremost, what’s it take to ensure collaboration in the scheduling process? Again, that’s really about simplifying the schedule. Traditionally, what’s happening with schedules is a scheduler puts it together. Again, that scheduler could be the project manager for that upcoming project, that scheduler could be a superintendent. It could be any number of people that are assisting in planning that next project, and maybe your company is fortunate enough, they have dedicated schedulers. But, they put together that schedule and they print it out and they walk around the office or try to meet with key stakeholders from the project to get some feedback on that schedule. They take a red pen, they mark it up and they work through it.

AJ Waters:

The problem happens though when those people aren’t available because usually your project teams are busy building projects. On the next upcoming project, that that team is not free yet. And so there is really minimal field involvement in that traditional process.

AJ Waters:

What InEight’s schedule has set out to do is instead of starting from scratch and trying to come up with a plan and then get feedback, let’s start from our history. What have we done in the past? Let’s take that history and then let’s collaborate online. Let’s not try to chase people down, but let’s write in the schedule online and have people give their feedback where we can quickly review and accept it and also integrate all of that with the cost and risk portions of our planning.

AJ Waters:

What does that really look like? What does benchmarking from history look like? Well, I’m sure many of you are familiar with this screen here. It’s a blank schedule, right? This is our starting point. We’ve got a new project. Let’s go out and let’s build this schedule. But, how great would it be if you’re first starting point was here? You got a high level association of a work breakdown structure and a sequence. That’s what InEight’s Schedule is set out to do, AI assisted planning that accelerates the schedule creation.

AJ Waters:

As you continue to add more and more context, it continues to add more and more suggestions based on that project scope or phase. It doesn’t do it from industry standards, but it focuses on your history and your experience, your Knowledge Library based on past work that you have done. What all this does is it offers an environment where you can improve the quality and more importantly, the realism of your schedule because it’s truly based on what you’ve done before.

AJ Waters:

Now, along with that, you need to get some real feedback. The AI algorithms, they’re only as good as your experience can train them to be, but human intelligence is still needed to augment that AI assistance. And so once the schedule is put together, you utilize a simplified score card to leverage feedback from that field team. Again, this is online in the schedule. You don’t have to track these people down, you send them a link, they log in and here it is. Then you get to selectively incorporate the right adjustments, not only to duration, but to sequencing and to risk with transparency on who said that and why they said that.

AJ Waters:

Of course with all these different suggestions, you’ve got to be able to look at those and review them quickly. An InEight Schedule takes a look at multiple metrics, including the realism of the plan based on your past history, the plan buy-in based on the differentiations between different stakeholder’s comments, the plan continuity based on how they’ve adjusted the sequencing and the plan detail based on who may have added additional tasks. You visualize all of that consensus in real time. You can choose to then commit and incorporate team back, team member feedback or not. Right? That’s the key, the expertise from others who are out there doing the work and getting that pulled in.

AJ Waters:

But, all of this so far is about scheduling. We talked about collaborating with estimating and when it comes to collaborating with estimating, that means bringing in cost and risk. Risk events are created in the system, whether by you or by someone providing feedback. Those risk events include probability, schedule adjustments and costs to impact scores, not just what it’s going to do to the time.

AJ Waters:

Additional feedback on those risks is easily captured in the review cycle, so it’s not just about you again, it’s everybody involved. And then you can quickly analyze those effects through multi Monte Carlo simulations to provide any acceptable adjustments both to those costs and those risks. So, that’s collaborating everything across the planning and the estimating phase. But, then we’ve got to take that and we’ve got to go build it. That’s where we start to streamline the short interval planning discussion.

AJ Waters:

Some of you may be saying, “Well what exactly do you mean? What is short interval planning or SIP?” Well, it’s really one of many ways to say the exact same thing. Right? It’s field execution, planning, it’s SIP, as we mentioned. It’s short interval scheduling. It’s look ahead scheduling. It’s your three week plan, or your five week plan, or your 90 day plan or some folks even call it last planner. Right? All of these different phraseologies kind of relate to the concept that we are calling a short interval planning in the system.

AJ Waters:

But what it really is, is it’s taking that CPM schedule and it is breaking it down into the work that we’re going to go do. The traditional process that we’ve done that with, well typically, the field team comes into the office trailer. They get around a whiteboard in a conference room. That whiteboard has sticky notes or magnets on it and they move those around and they determine where crews are going to be, what equipment is going to be doing and how many days are needed to do an operation.

AJ Waters:

The problem with that whiteboard is it has no integration to that CPM schedule, so you’re not entirely sure if all those purple sticky notes are falling within the band that the CPM schedule offers. So, what does the innate scheduled process do for us? Well, it takes that short interval plan and it integrates it in to the CPM schedule. It details those items down to the daily task level while keeping those guardrails of what your schedule is going to allow.

AJ Waters:

In other words, the blue bar across the top here, that’s the CPM schedule bar, but each one of those green boxes are the daily tasks that need to happen and we align the planning of execution within a single system. Each row of those green boxes is a different crew, which allows you to plan out the work based on different groupings.

AJ Waters:

And then as you make those plans, the Knowledge Library is automatically capturing that data and enriching your benchmarking for future projects. As mentioned, those CPM schedule guardrails are there the whole way through to help boil down what needs to happen on the daily crew level. But, we take it one step further, not just to breaking up the operation over a week, or five weeks or 90 days, but down to the daily task. It allows you to build in capacity and productivity rates for certain crews.

AJ Waters:

In other words, you’re going to auto calculate how much work can actually be done, not what the schedule says you’re supposed to go do, but based on the crews and the capacities that we have, what can we actually do? Those numbers of what you can actually do, that gives you a whole new look at if I need to increase my throughput, my capacity, if I need to add another crew. Do I need to work another shift? What can actually be done with the guardrails of the CPM schedule to give you that insight immediately.

AJ Waters:

It also allows for outside interferences such as weather. Here is the forecast for the next 10 days, 15 days, depending on the weather app you’re using. Right? What does that mean? How does that affect your capacity on each one of those items?

AJ Waters:

When we break that down to the daily task level and we’ve got that plan in place, now it’s time, let’s go execute it. When we’re executing the work, we need to know what’s happening. It’s not just good to go do it and have a plan, but it’s also good to know how that plan is coming back to us. Again, the traditional process has always been this piece of paper.

AJ Waters:

What happens with that piece of paper? Well first off, it tends to get lost. The time card had a problem keeping up with all the departments it had to get passed to. And then of course, there is the whether or not it’s legible. A foreman out in the field trying to write on their leg or on somebody’s back as they’re filling out this timecard, it makes it a little bit harder to read. Again, it had to be passed from department to department, so even if it didn’t get lost, there were multiple systems it was getting entered into whether it’s accounting, whether we’re tracking the quantities in a quantity book, whether we’re pulling the hours into our safety metrics, they all were disparate departments and systems.

AJ Waters:

What we’ve tried to do with the InEight build solution is, again to simplify that process using a unified mobile application for all of the things that you used to use that piece of paper for, including the all-in-one capture and sharing of time, quantities and your daily field log.

AJ Waters:

What’s the point of a mobile application? Well first and foremost, mobile means where the work is. You now have the ability to take that plan with you and go capture it right where the work is taking place. Again, it supports from that planning phase all the way through to the approval of your hours and your quantities, so no longer does an engineer, or a superintendent, or even a project manager who is signing off on quantities in place, no longer do they have to take a look at all those on a computer screen and then try to walk the job and remember what they saw, they can do that with that mobile app.

AJ Waters:

It creates that one source of truth that’s integrated to all those back office systems. No longer are you passing around a piece of paper and hoping that it hits every one of those different places, but with the approval of that one unified time card, it is shared throughout all of the different systems, reports, dashboards, whatever metrics need to be checked based on those items. It gets that share in one push of a button.

AJ Waters:

That mobile application then allows for all-in-one time tracking and it gives you a familiar view for tracking it for what it’s like. It’s not like we tried to reinvent the time card. We’ve got the employees down on the left, the cost codes across the top and the ability to easily allocate those hours in the appropriate boxes.

AJ Waters:

But, something that digital applications [inaudible 00:21:12] that may be a piece of paper couldn’t is the ability to track multiple reason codes, multiple premium types. You can add additional costs to the hours based on what the workers were doing that day, or based on where they were doing it, or based on what payroll rules have been set up and the foreman doesn’t have to write a certain code or a letter or something next to half the hours and then write another set of hours and another letter and try to fit that all into that little box on the piece of paper. Of course, when it comes to time, the most important part is let’s pay these people and so direct integration through workflow, through approval to go into that payroll system.

AJ Waters:

But, one of the steps that we wanted to take and go another step further, that the time card had those hours in those cost codes, the cost codes are already there, so let’s get the quantities. And not just the cost code level quantities, but let’s break these down into component level quantities that are at a more granular level. So, instead of a cost code for foundations and trying to track some sort of productivity or quantity against all bound foundations, I’m on this spread footing or I’m on this grade beam and having that component level breakdown.

AJ Waters:

And then breaking those components down to detailed rules of credit aligning to the exact steps the crews are completing. When I’m looking at a code that says form pour or strip, I’m not trying to determine how much percentage I get to claim for just forming. I got forming done. Does that mean I claim a third of the quantity because it’s form pour or strip? Well, not necessarily because typically it strips pretty easy, so it’s not worth a whole third. So, what’s form worth pouter to pour or compared to… The foreman is trying to do these items in their head and no longer do they have to.

AJ Waters:

Again, built in approval for all of that tracking, right. I know we trust our people, but we want to make sure that what they submitted is accurate and correct even to the extent where we can allow the client to sign off on it, specifically for that time and material work. These are the hours, these are the quantities, yes, I will pay you for that. Let’s invoice it.

AJ Waters:

But, there is a third aspect that happens in the field, not just the tracking of the hours and the tracking of the quantities, but there is that daily field log. This often gets overlooked by digital applications. This typically is a log of what happened that day. Were there any issues? What was the weather like? Integrating the daily field log provides detailed notes on the operation every single day. There is natural tagging involved for transparent reporting, so you can go back and search for every day that rain appears in the detailed field log and know how many rain days you actually had.

AJ Waters:

Most importantly, with mobile devices come mobile cameras for quick attachment of photo evidence. We ran into this issue. This pipe wasn’t supposed to be here. It’s underground, we need to remove it. Let’s take a picture. Let’s send that in. Because at the end of the day, we want to simplify the capturing of issues that could be possible changes to the work and let’s kick that off and let’s have all that information in a single location.

AJ Waters:

We talked about collaborating on the schedule and the estimate. We talked about breaking that out into a short interval plan and we talked about capturing all of that at the work. But one of the best things about having all these things digitally, all these pieces and parts together in one electronic system is the ability to be proactive with real time feedback.

AJ Waters:

What do we mean by simplifying feedback? Well, again, I’m sure many of you are familiar with reports and graphs that look like this, but traditionally these reports and graphs required analyzing a paper time card, finding the quantities from the engineers in a separate system and then somehow trying to aggregate that data back together. Even if we were able to aggregate it back together, it usually was a week or two later. Right? You had to wait for payroll to run to get those costs.

AJ Waters:

What InEight has set out to do with our suite of construction tools is to collaborate and allow for analysis in the pre-planning of the operation, we saw a little bit of that, allow for in-app feedback at the work, all of which leads to informed and proactive decisions.

AJ Waters:

We’ve seen some of these products in a work as we worked through and talked about how they work as individual pieces, but let’s talk about how they work together in analyzing the operation in the preplanning phase. Again, integrating the schedule and the budget provides for immediate analysis of the plan. Do all of these items align within the budgeted timeframe? Do I have enough capacity to actually get that work done? We get some red versus green color coding to point out the projected outcomes of an operation. We do all of that without ever leaving the application. You don’t have to run a report, you don’t have to run a formula in Excel, it’s all done right in application.

AJ Waters:

And then as you stay in the application to capture the work, you get productivity feedback as the work is complete. So, integration of the time and the quantities on that single mobile application allows for immediate analysis of what’s happening. We’ve got people and hours, those have costs. We’ve got quantities. Those are up against some sort of budget and unit rate. What’s our gain loss look like as we’re doing the work? So, we can make real time decisions right there at the operation to try to speed things up. Again, the red versus green color coding quickly points out the achieved outcomes and most importantly, it’s available at the work where the operation is happening on that mobile device.

AJ Waters:

All this leads to, again informed proactive decisions. When you’ve got color coding pulled up saying, hey, you’re outside of your bands, there is no more waiting for a report to aggregate all this data. You see it right there. You make daily reviews of the progress and you make immediate changes to the action or the operation instead of waiting for that report to run and waiting for an operation to fall behind. All of that creates an automatic closed loop to feedback to that original planning, that Knowledge Library. So the next time you do this work, the next time you do this operation, the next time you do a project like this, you are better informed to do it in a more productive and efficient way.

AJ Waters:

Let’s take a minute and let’s recap what we just breezed through in the last 20-some minutes. InEight’s construction tools are a suite of solutions that are set out to be a simplified and intuitive way to, A. ensure collaboration from estimating to execution. On that scheduling process, it’s no longer their own set of people doing things their own way. We want to work together to streamline the short interval planning discussions down to that daily task level and keep yourself within the boundaries of the CPM schedule.

AJ Waters:

And then of course, to take that plan and let’s go execute on it. Let’s simplify how we integrate the time and quantity capture against that plan. All of this leading again, to that proactive culture through real time operational feedback. The end goal of big data is to be better the next time or to be better faster, and that’s being proactive. So with that, I thank you for your time today and I turn it back over to John.

John Klobucar:

Thank you, AJ. Again, if you have any questions, please email them to webcasts@ineight.com. To learn more about InEight as well as our digital tools that ensure you build your best work every time, visit ineight.com and click on the Request a Demo button. And if you’d like to see a schedule of upcoming webcasts, visit ineight.com/webcasts. Thank you for watching. This concludes our presentation.