If you had to find one word to describe the team at Tri State General Contractors it would have to be experienced. Don Mason, VP of Construction at Tri State, talks about how he learned the trade from his father who learned it from his. Mason has been in and around construction all of his life, and their entirely family owned and operated business is proof that their experience has paid off in satisfying customers like Walmart, Albertsons, and Auto Zone. But just because you are experienced in the business doesn't mean that you can't learn something new. Mason and his team discovered that they could be doing things better than their fathers and grandfathers did, and they ran with it.
Throughout our careers, we have always been looking for better ways to do our daily logs," says Mason, "when I was a kid out in the field with my Dad when he would take us to work he would walk around with his notepad and write his notes down every day, and I thought that was pretty cool because he looked important.
And it's not just Mason's Dad that did it that way. The pencil and pad method of doing daily logs has been plaguing job sites for too long. We say plaguing because that's exactly what it is- it hangs around sucking time and resources.
Tim Burton, Safety Compliance Officer at Tri-State, says "back when I was a superintendent the daily reports were done on pencil and paper. Photos we had to take, and at the end of the day we had to go into the trailer, create the daily report from scanned paperwork, to a photo, to an attachment, to make an email to send to the office."
Mason confirms it, saying that doing the daily reports "At the end of the day they would have to take all their notes and gather all the information that they had been supervising all day and condense it down to a daily log. It was very cumbersome to take pictures and download them into the file, then to go to the NOAA website to gather what the weather data was for the day, then combine those pieces together."
Luckily, Mason's Dad gave him one more lesson. "He taught us that we really need to embrace technology, not run from it. Use it to benefit our personal time that we have away from work but how it can make us more efficient at work." It was that idea of efficiency on the job that led them to investigate Raken.
At the end of the day they would have to take all their notes and gather all the information that they had been supervising all day and condense it down to a daily log. It was very cumbersome to take pictures and donwload them into the file, then to go to the NOAA website to gather what the weather data was for the day, then combine those pieces together. It really took them hours a day at the end of their day.
— Don Mason, VP of Construction
When Tri State decided to turn to Raken for their daily reporting they immediately saw tremendous time savings in the field, especially when it came to days when the site gets complicated. DJ Mason, General Superintendent at Tri State, says "Raken has saved an incredible amount of time... there are those very rough days when you encounter a challenge or change that comes in and you have to coordinate all the documents and send them off efficiently at the end of the day: it saves us countless hours. Countless hours."
How exactly has Raken saved them those countless hours? "It's a one-step process," says Burton, "as you walk the site you're creating your daily report. You don't have to go sit in your trailer at the end of your day. By the time your day is done you save the report, send it off, and it's all there."
And that's the key that Tri State discovered: if you give the superintendents a tool they can use as they walk the site they can create their dailies as they go about their day instead of trying to remember everything that happened as they sit in a trailer.
You would think that saving "countless hours" on a jobsite through a daily reporting app would come with major pushback from the guys in the field who have been using the same methods for years, or that they would balk at having to figure out some new piece of technology. Tri State anticipated that problem and that's why they went with Raken: it's field-first design meant that it would be easy to use in the field. All that was left to do was try it out.
The immediate test we used with Raken was that we gave it to one of our technologically challenged superintendents," says DJ Mason, "and within five minutes he was excited about his day again. He felt like this was a tool that would make him look more professional, increase his ability to communicate well, and not take as much time for him to do that. He was rejuvenated about his day, and that was pretty cool to see."
That's what you get with a field-first design: superintendents that actually use the tool to help them communicate what they're doing.
In the end, Tri State's choice to implement Raken on their job sites comes back to the priorities that they had as a company: caring about their employees.
I saw that Raken would add an hour to an hour and a half a day to our superintendent's life at home away from work," says Mason, "it really took them hours out of their day at the end of their day, and what I was really intrigued with Raken was that throughout their day that info can be gathered in real time, and we could give them that hour and a half back to their life at the end of the day. I wanted to invest in our employee's personal life, and Raken did that for us."
Raken is proud to be associated with a company that cares so much about their employees, and we're excited to see what they'll do going forward.
Click here to find out more about Tri State General Contractors, or explore more about construction daily reporting.