POWER — Turner Industries looking ahead with tracking app

Published 12:10 am Saturday, April 11, 2020

The business of building industrial scaffolding is especially dependent on data, according to Jonathan Guidry.

Jonathan, the Continuous Improvement Manager at Turner Industries said keeping track of the scaffolding built at worksites, and how long that scaffolding is left in place, is part of the way Turner Industries bills for the service.

“We may have half a million pieces of scaffolding inventory at a particular site that we’re continuously using to build,” Guidry said. “We modify those erected scaffolds and then we demolish them. Tracking all of that is very important, because that’s actually how we get the revenue. That’s how we bill our clients and go from there.”

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What clients don’t want, nor Turner Industries, is for scaffolding to be forgotten about or for managers and clients to wait too long for information on projects.

To help streamline the process, Turner Industries developed the scaffold tracking application, which solves multiple issues at once, including furthering Turner’s business philosophy of lowering clients’ cost of ownership.

“The app is an innovative tool offering to add value and save cost for our customers,” said Jason W. Apodaca of business development. “Our goal is to find ways to save our customers money and time, safely.”

Part of a larger suite of proprietary digital tools operated from a tablet, the app allows for on-site, real-time tracking of the scaffolding process. Each piece is catalogued, each worksite identified through GPS and costs are calculated for immediate reference for Turner and the client.

Both can now know just what’s being built, where it’s built, how long it’s been there and what it’s costing, all through the app.

“One of my favorite statements that I like to make a lot is: ‘You can only manage what you know,’” said Colby Plaia, regional operations manager in Southeast Texas. “If you don’t know something, or what you know is incorrect, you can’t manage properly. By moving into this application and innovating the whole industry with that, we’re allowing real-time data to be present for our supervisors and management teams to make real-time decisions that are more impactful from a productivity, cost and safety standpoint.”

Frontline supervisors are able to input the data for the project on-site, scanning the scaffolding material as the Turner team works while tagging the location through GPS. The process is specifically designed to be user-friendly for Turner’s employees.

“This is something that I’m really proud of because part of our process is designing our applications for our people. We try to give a user experience that intuitively leads them to the right answers,” he said.

The data is updated in real time to a dashboard that organizes and calculates the data for Turner managers and clients to quickly and easily review.

Maps use GPS to help find scaffolding sites without the need to take walking tours of entire facilities.

“The clients are excited to be able to access a dashboard that’s going to show them all the data instantly, where their scaffolds are, how many scaffolds they have, how much money each scaffold is costing them each month, each week, each day,” said Jace Guidry, regional soft-craft manager. “It’s going to be a lot of data at their fingertips and at our fingertips.
Jace Guidry says Turner workers are already training to use the app, and the company is in the process of rolling out the service. Jace and Turner’s clients love the access to up-to-date information the app allows.

“It’s just going to streamline the whole process, take some unneeded steps out, make us more efficient and let us operate more cost effectively.”

The client will no longer have to wonder where their scaffolding was, or whether they still need to be paying to have it in place. This will allow clients to save money to reinvest back into their own businesses.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the clients, a lot of eye-opening awareness,” Plaia said. “Having that data that’s constantly refreshing in front of them with running totals and metrics has really allowed them to reevaluate and refocus on what their needs are. We’ve had some very good feedback from the clients in being very receptive to the data that they’re receiving on a daily and hourly basis.”

The app is only one of many steps Turner is taking to streamline many of the services it provides.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to apply the same methodology to other service offerings we provide for the needs of our clients,” Plaia said. “We’re in an industry that relies heavily on pen and paper, and we are aware of that. We need to be actively looking on how to remain in front of that and how to continue to be proactive.”