Supporting Innovation in the Military with MD5

Thomaspochedly round headshotThomas Pochedly
Fieldwire Marketing Associate; U.S. Navy Seaman

Editors note: Scott Capps is a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He has twelve years of service, five with the intelligence community. Thomas Pochedly is a Seaman with the U.S. Navy with two years of service. As leaders in the U.S. military’s innovation initiatives, Scott and Thomas were selected to intern with Fieldwire for six weeks. Their goal was to immerse themselves in the startup culture, and think of ways the startup culture can be used to improve the military. As their time with Fieldwire came to a close, they wrote a brief post outlining how their time with Fieldwire will benefit the U.S. military.

Turning the spotlight on innovation

Across the Department of Defense there is recognition that innovation will be key to our future success. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, at a recent briefing held in Silicon Valley, said “the impact of innovation from high-tech companies will continue to grow at the Defense Department,” and a recent Foreign Policy article points out that, “Only this summer is the U.S. Navy expected to upgrade from Windows XP, an operating system long since scrubbed from home computers.” The point is not lost on those of us in the service. The push towards innovation, and a better relationship with innovators in Silicon Valley, is long overdue.

2018-09 MD5 Military Blog Post Scott and Thomas 2

Bridging the gap

An increased focus on innovation and commitment to creating a culture of innovation within the service is working. In partnership with technology accelerators, such as MD5, the Department of Defense (DoD) is starting to see results in their efforts to build a culture of innovation.

MD5, a national security technology accelerator for defence innovation, works with branches of the U.S. military to connect service members with the tools and skills they need to bring innovation to their Command. MD5 acts as a bridge between the military and their partners in the private sector, including startups and academia. MD5 bridges a gap between the private sector and the military, and this is crucial in helping to build the innovation culture. While MD5 administers several other innovation initiatives, it was their Innovation Fellowship that brought us to Fieldwire.

Innovation Fellowship creates culture of innovation

The purpose of the Innovation Fellowship is to place service members into startup companies for a six week fellowship. Service members are immersed in the startup culture, they learn what makes a startup successful, and they can take those lessons back to their Command to grow the culture of innovation. For six weeks, Scott and I worked within the marketing department of Fieldwire. Scott, with his background in software, focused on front-end web development and content management. I focused on event marketing and content management. While we both considered ourselves innovators prior to attending the fellowship, we definitely learned new things by immersing ourselves in Fieldwire. Without a doubt, we both left the fellowship with a plethora of new ideas and best practices to take back to our Commands. In that way, MD5 brought a lot of value.

2018-09 MD5 Military Blog Post Scott and Thomas 1

Moving forward

While we are pleased with the progress the DoD has made so far in its innovation initiatives, we know that we still have a long way to go before innovation is fully ingrained in our culture. Cultural shifts take time and persistent, consistent effort from many people, but it will happen. In the Navy, one area that I am particularly interested in looking at is the Chief of Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell. At the Command level, I believe that we could make Rapid Innovation Cell a collateral duty — in other words, creating time within the work week specifically for sailors to focus on innovation . We already have collateral duties for Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), Diversity Committee, Seabee Ball Committee, and many others. Why not create a collateral to encourage innovation?

The Air Force has been extremely open-minded when it comes to considering change to existing processes or innovative ways to solve problems. I believe we need to invest more into our task management processes such as documenting and tracking what has been accomplished and items that need to be completed, similar to how Fieldwire’s platform works to streamline task management for the construction industry. Most of my mission partners are outside of my organization and I cannot simply walk to their office or drive to their building; this makes it really difficult to convey exact specifications in a timely manner. Upon returning to my unit I am going to take a look in how we share our tasks and subsequently, the thought processes that coincide with each task.

Collaboration with the Military

Fieldwire was proud to partner with MD5 on this program, and look forward to similar initiatives in the future. As always, if you’re a veteran, especially with construction or software experience, we’re always hiring, and all proceeds from the Fieldwire online store go directly to Hire Heroes, a non-profit with the mission of “Transforming Military Service into Civilian Success”.

EllisDon Brings on Fieldwire to Further Field Productivity

ZacharyroundZachary Reiss-Davis
Director of Product Marketing

We’re excited to announce that EllisDon, one of Canada’s top construction services and consulting companies, has chosen Fieldwire to drive jobsite productivity across all of their projects.

This relationship has been growing deeper and deeper over time. In fact, the $3.5 billion contractor’s decision to standardize on Fieldwire comes after more than three years of usage across hundreds of projects. EllisDon deployed and used the jobsite coordination platform on major projects including Brookfield Place in Calgary, Providence Care Hospital in Kingston, the York University Subway in Toronto, and the recently begun $9 billion Vancouver airport expansion project.

The Chief Technology Officer of EllisDon, Tom Strong, was focused on how to drive innovation across the company, saying:

“The construction industry is changing at a rapid pace. Leveraging technology allows us to further drive productivity at the project level. Fieldwire helps our project teams deliver very high quality results by connecting us seamlessly with our clients and trade partners.”

Tom Strong, Chief Technology Officer, EllisDon

For EllisDon, it’s all about collaboration, and that’s why our partnership with them covers all of their internal employees as well as trade partners, clients, architects, and consultants involved in EllisDon’s projects. Tom Strong added, “By providing Fieldwire to anyone involved on our projects, we promote transparency and ownership in our construction process”.

Read the full press release to learn more about why we are excited to enter this new phase in our partnership with EllisDon.

We also have stories of EllisDon’s success on specific projects:

At Providence Care Hospital, EllisDon Assistant Project Manager Mike Armstrong said that “Fieldwire is absolutely saving us time because we’ve got all of our contractors on it, we can assign tasks and deficiencies to them right away,” and that Fieldwire “probably saved us needing 2-3 QA/QC people, in all honesty.” On that project, EllisDon is responsible for $350 million of the overall $800 million project, including maintaining the project over the next 30 years as a part of a design-build-finance-maintain (DBFM) venture.

At Brookfield Place in Calgary, Fieldwire was used not just throughout the construction process, but also to facilitate handover from the construction team to the operations and maintenance team. This enabled EllisDon and Brookfield to work hand-in-hand to make sure construction was completed up to standard, and then smoothly transition to the operations phase. Ultimately, this enabled them to reach closeout much faster. Drew Woods, Assistant Project Manager, said “Fieldwire is really handy to have in the field not only during construction, but also during the close-out and the deficiency management phase.”

Want to use Fieldwire on your projects? Request a demo today.

2018-08 EllisDon Tom Strong Quote

Fieldwire in the news, August 2018 roundup

Thomaspochedly round headshotThomas Pochedly
Marketing Associate

We wanted to share with you coverage about Fieldwire and stories we’ve contributed to across the construction industry and trade press. Recently, Fieldwire has been featured in publications ranging from Construction Executive to Glassdoor to CommercialCafé to FitSmallBusiness. Let’s take a look at highlights from each piece:

Construction Executive: “Technology and the Labor Shortage: Automation Can Empower Workers”

While the prevailing notion is that automation will replace workers, in the construction industry the opposite is true. Writing in Construction Executive, Yves Frinault, Fieldwire co-founder and CEO, explains how technology will empower workers on the jobsite. The truth is that the construction industry is facing a serious shortage of skilled labor. This labor shortage can be overcome by empowering workers on the jobsite through smart technology. There is a great deal of fear workers will be replaced by technology and automation in the near future, but, according to Yves Frinault, that is not likely:

“While robots can be easily trained and managed, they lack one crucial quality: adaptability. Human workers can adapt to different situations and make decisions based on their critical thinking skills.”

Should we be cautious of technology, or use it to our benefit? Read Yves Frinault’s full commentary about the future of construction automation.

Glassdoor: “How to Attract Millennials & Gen Z to Blue-Collar Jobs”

Blue collar industries face a major labor shortage. Writing for Glassdoor, Yves explains his thoughts on the society’s belittling view of blue collar jobs, why we’re making a big mistake, and how we can encourage young people to pursue a blue collar career. Today, many parents push their children to pursue a college degree solely because there is a stigma attached to blue-collar careers. In some countries, craftsmen are revered. We need to follow their lead and discard the stigma against blue-collar professions. Currently, we are already facing a shortage of skilled-labor. There simply are not enough young people willing to work with their hands and learn a trade. Yves outlines five ways companies can overcome the skilled labor-shortage, and adds:

“My hope is that we can begin to appreciate our mechanics and plumbers as much as we do our doctors and lawyers. In doing so, more young people will realize blue-collar jobs offer rewarding careers that pay well and make meaningful contributions to society.”

Have you been impacted by the skilled-labor shortage? Learn five ways to overcome the labor shortage.

CommercialCafé: Expert Insights: Improving Productivity with Construction Software

Recently, author Andi Luscan at CommercialCafé sat down with our Yves Frinault to discuss how software can be used to improve jobsite productivity. Did you know that the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries in the U.S.? Only hunting and agriculture are less digitized. Construction workers spend only 30% of their time on actual construction work. The rest of their time is spent gathering resources and tools, and trying to communicate with others on the site. With the right technology, we can give that lost time back to the worker and drive productivity on the jobsite. However, adoption can be a difficult process. Software needs to be easy to use and create value for the craftsmen on the jobsite. Yves highlighted the growing adoption of technology:

“As everyone on the jobsite gets more comfortable using software on their smartphones and tablets, field adoption will also naturally increase.”

Technology needs to empower our people on the jobsite, not hold them back. Check out the interview to learn how technology will modernize the jobsite.

FitSmallBusiness: Editorial review of Fieldwire

With thousands of user reviews out there it can be tough to cut through the noise and determine true value. FitSmallBusiness’s Abigail Orencia does just that. Using customer reviews she writes an assessment of Fieldwire that is clear, thoughtful, and to the point. It includes a summary of Fieldwire user reviews, a list of useful features, and frequently asked questions. A favorite quote from the article:

“Users said that the program is intuitive and that the support team is responsive. Many users also mentioned that the rates are affordable.”

Abigail Orencia, FitSmallBusiness

Why sift through a mountain of reviews? Check out FitSmallBusiness’ overview of Fieldwire.

Learn how to streamline the handoff from construction to operations with EllisDon and Brookfield

Thomaspochedly round headshotThomas Pochedly
Marketing Associate

Earlier this summer, our VP of Construction, Marielle Price, joined Drew Woods, Assistant Project Manager at EllisDon, and Mike Simon, Operations Manager at Brookfield on stage at CanBim Calgary to talk about how field management software improves the process of project handover from construction to operations and maintenance.

While Fieldwire was also used by EllisDon in the construction phase of the project, the focus of the presentation was to show how Fieldwire is used to improve the transition to operating Phase 1 of Brookfield Place Calgary — a 60-story, 1.6 million square foot office tower.

The move from construction to operations is a difficult process, even for companies like EllisDon (a $3.5 billion construction services and consulting company) and Brookfield (an asset management company with $285+ billion under management). Traditionally, the construction team turns over binders full of documentation to the operations team and it’s the responsibility of the operations team to comb through the piles of documentation, to figure out how to operate the building. This is a major headache for the operations team.

Trying to understand how best to manage a massive project through paper documentation alone is like teaching someone to drive by having them read the car’s owner’s manual. It might work, but there must be a better way. Instead of using this antiquated method, the construction team tracked all their drawings, changes, and documentation through Fieldwire.

“The general contractor will typically hand a bunch of binders, drawings, and files over to our operations and maintenance team and just say, ‘Okay, we’re done in your building. Here you go. Have fun.’ Thankfully, [with Fieldwire] things have definitely improved.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

This enabled the two teams to work hand-in-hand to make sure construction was completed up to standard, and then smoothly transition to the operations phase. Near the end of construction, Brookfield’s operations team was on the jobsite every day inspecting the remaining work. Whenever a deficiency was found, the operations team could quickly mark it via Fieldwire’s mobile application, and task the right team on the contractor side to fix the issue. Once the task was complete, EllisDon updated the task within Fieldwire, even uploading photos so that the operations team could verify that the problem had been corrected. This process helped the two teams to communicate more effectively than was possible in the past. Ultimately, this enabled them to reach closeout much faster.

“I used the Fieldwire app as I walked around to find out a task has already been assigned to the sprinkler contractor, or to the electrician, without having to go back to the EllisDon. Having a single source of data is great.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

While communication between the two teams was important, it was not the only area that was improved with Fieldwire. Managing subcontractors and providing a “single-source of truth” for everyone involved was also very important to the project’s success. By having all of their superintendents and foreman trained on Fieldwire, EllisDon was able to ensure that everyone working on the project was looking at the same set of plans. The ability to markup drawings in the field and export their as-built drawings saved EllisDon a great deal of time and kept their team on the same page. Rework and waste are prevalent on large projects. Fielwire’s unique capabilities, including the ability to export as-built drawings, not only saved time, it also increased transparency across the whole team.

“Fieldwire is really handy to have in the field not only during construction, but also during the close-out and the deficiency management phase.”

Drew Woods, Assistant Project Manager, EllisDon

2018-08 EllisDon Brookfield Construction to Maintenance Blog Hero Quote

When construction reached completion, the management team was able to view every detail of construction in Fieldwire. As-built drawings, completed tasks, quality-assurance inspections, and documentation of every aspect of the project became available to the operations team. While this may seem like an overwhelming amount of information, as the project owners, Brookfield’s team was able to swiftly “drill down” to find historical data. Without a tagging system, electronic documentation would be no different than the antiquated stacks of binders.

Now that the building is occupied with tenants, Brookfield’s team uses Fieldwire to track maintenance and problem areas around the building. For example, issues ranging from trip hazards to HVAC calls to damage caused by local skateboarders are all tracked and documented via Fieldwire. This not only allows maintenance to remedy the issues more quickly, it enables them to keep a record of maintenance performed on the building. They are able to identify issues that keep popping up, and take the appropriate steps to remedy them.

“Brookfield is taking over EllisDon’s Fieldwire account for Brookfield Place, so all that  historical data stays live and is moved from a construction software into an inspection and documentation software for us. We’re covering all of our health and safety inspections that way.”

Mike Simon, Operations Manager, Brookfield

Whether a project is in the early stages of construction, nearing completion, or already in the operations phase, Fieldwire’s unique set of tools can come in handy. The Brookfield Place project is proof that having the right tools for the job can make all the difference.

Want to learn more? Watch the entire 30-minute discussion or request a demo of Fieldwire today to learn more about how it can help project owners seamlessly receive completed projects from General Contractors.

Built Brings on Fieldwire to Achieve Greater Field Productivity

ZacharyroundZachary Reiss-Davis
Director of Product Marketing

This week, we’re really excited to announce our new partnership with Built, one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing private construction groups, to drive productivity across all of their projects. Since being established two decades ago, Built has grown exponentially to become a $1.4 billion, tier-1 contractor. Handling everything from $400+ million construction projects, to high-end retail fit-outs for world-leading luxury brands, and even complex refurbishments of iconic buildings, Built is always looking to innovate and grow.

We’ve been working with them for quite a while — Built started trying and testing multiple platforms two years ago. They choose us for our ability to combine “plan viewing, document sharing, and labor coordination” into one easy-to-use platform. Don't take our word for it; their Managing Director said:

“Fieldwire does more than simply remove paper from our jobsites, it frees up our teams and partners to be more mobile and helps them to collaborate and problem solve together on site.”

Brett Mason, Managing Director, Built

It’s not just about Fieldwire as a single isolated platform; Built also uses our integration with Dropbox to manage all of their plans on projects such as a commercial office tower, Barrack Place, in central Sydney and Parramatta Square, one of Australia’s largest urban regeneration projects.

Our open API and integrations are really important to the partnership, as the Chief Digital Officer of Built describes:

“Fieldwire’s ability to integrate effectively with other technology partners was a critical factor in our decision. We are always looking for best-of-breed solutions that fit easily into our broader ecosystem allowing us to create a seamless experience for our team members. We see this as key to the future of building efficiency in our industry.”

Sujeet Rana, Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Built

Want to hear more about the partnership? Check out the full press release. Want to work with Fieldwire across your entire organization, or get started on one of your projects? Request a demo today!

Customer Quotes from Built about Fieldwire

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