Case Study: Painting the Eads Bridge with industrial coatings software

Eads Bridge St. Louis restoration

The first major project on which our industrial painting software was used was the repainting of one of the oldest, most historic bridges in all of the United States – the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a high profile project slated to be completed in 2014 and is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Project work related to industrial painting includes abating the bridge’s lead coating, prepping its surface to SSPC SP-10 standards and applying a three-coat application comprised of zinc, epoxy and polysiloxane in order to ensure the structural integrity of the steel-based Eads Bridge. If you’d like to read more about the project, click here to read a blog post from our friends at Thomas Industrial Coatings — the painting subcontractor on the job who chose our iPad app as their means to document the job-site.

Eads Bridge restoration – job site documentation

Why TruQC for industrial painting software?

According to the painters, project managers, office admins and others at Thomas Industrial Coatings, TruQC was the right tool for the job for several key reasons. The biggest of which was that it allowed Thomas Industrial Coatings to be 100% transparent with the other partners on the job – Metro and St. Louis Bridge Construction Company.

“The capabilities for Derek Goff Thomas Industrial Coatingscollaboration of people on-site and off-site for anyone involved was very appealing,” said Derek Goff, Thomas Industrial Coatings’ Quality Systems Manager on the job. “From accounting to quality control, TruQC is helping ensure that everyone is on the same page – sometimes literally and in real-time. With TruQC, we’ve noticed improvements in General Contractor and Subcontractor correspondence, and documentation as well has improved safety documentation.”

Additionally, Thomas Industrial Coatings was intrigued by quality assurance that is better ensured through real-time monitoring capabilities by office admins, as well as cost-related documentation that is both improved and expedited.

Todd Cook - Safety Director at Thomas Industrial Coatings“The biggest time saver is when we have to reproduce a document,” said Todd Cook, Safety Director at Thomas Industrial Coatings. “Instead of having a foreman working miles away trying to find a fax, I can get the report right off the app and email it quickly to the right party. To me, the best thing about it is the speed.”

Chain of command and work flow

To understand the complexities of the Eads Bridge project, and to really understand the value that TruQC is providing Thomas Industrial Coatings, one must first understand the chain of command on the job, as well as day-to-day work flow.

Chain of command for TruQC job-site documentation app

  1. The foreman on the job is James Hays and the project superintendent is Matt Thomas. They’re using TruQC to help manage time sheets, Toolbox Talks, Take 5s, Daily Inspection Reports and overall quality control measures on the actual job-site. They fill out reports and submit them in for review.
  2. The project manager on the job, Tony Wheelock, will review submitted docs, making sure they’re complete and ready for final approval. It’s important to note that sometimes Tony is on the job-site and sometimes he’s in the job trailer. No matter where he is, thanks to TruQC, he has access to the reports he needs.
  3. Once Tony submits, the general manager on the job, who is in Pevely, Missouri, reviews overall progress and budget for the job. The general manager has final veto power. Once he approves, documents split and go to their respective departments.
  4. Thomas Industrial Coatings’ safety manager, Todd Cook, receives the Toolbox Talk, the Take 5, the Weekly Environmental and the Incidental Report.
  5. The other documents head toward Betty Wosman, the accounting manager and Dara Nausley, the office manager, who get the expense reports and the foreman’s report. Accounting data is exported to a .csv file and imported into the accounting platform of choice. Thomas uses Sage, so that’s where their reports go. There’s significant time saved in this stage.
  6. Finally, the Thomas Industrial Coatings Quality Systems Manager gets the daily inspection report for final approval. This is the same report that St. Louis Bridge Construction Company needs, as they’re the overseer of the job and final approval is theirs to make. With TruQC, approval is a simple touch of the screen away.

As you can see, the project chain of command and work flow has lots of opportunities for hiccup and delay. But, with TruQC, it’s much easier to keep the job moving, on-time and on-budget.

Return on investment

Thomas Industrial Coatings reported a 390% return on investment with TruQC for the Eads Bridge job.

Return on investment for TruQC job-site documentation app

How savings were calculated

The following figures represent TOTAL savings associated with implementing TruQC across 25 active jobs for Thomas Industrial Coatings. This paints a more accurate picture of the across-the-board financial effect the app has had on their business.

  • Administrative time: $1376/month (8 hours/week @$40/hr)
  • Accounting time: $4128/month (24 hours/week @$40/hr)
  • Printing and faxing: $1000/month
  • Safety director time: $2752/month (8 hours/week @$80/hr)
  • Audit preparation time: $1333/month (40 hours/year x 5 employees @$80/hr)
  • Field labor: $53,750/month (5 hours/week x 25 employees @$100/hr)
  • Office supplies: $100/month (pens, envelopes, binders, paper clips, paper, etc.)
  • Equipment savings: $3250/month (computer, camera, GPS savings)
  • Approval process time: $6880/month (admin 16 hours/week @$40/hr; GM/QSM 12 hours/week @$80/hr)

Total monthly savings across Thomas Industrial Coatings’ 25 active jobs: $74,569/month

Monthly savings on this Eads Bridge job alone: $2982/month

How costs were calculated

The costs of individual licenses for two foremen, one project manager and one general manager were calculated across this single job. The individual license costs for one safety director, one accounting manager and one quality control manager were divided across the 25 jobs with which they’re involved. Report license costs for seven reports were also divided across 25 jobs.

  • Individual licenses: $412/month
  • Report licenses: $28/month
  • iPads for seven team members: $86/month (assuming a 24-month hardware lifespan)
  • Wireless service on the seven iPads: $83/month

Total costs for this Eads Bridge job: $609/month

The intangible benefits of TruQC

  • Safety documentation: In the case of an incident or workman’s comp claim, employee verification for non-injury, Toolbox Talk participation and daily hazard analysis awareness are documented. All documentation is immediately accessible from both the field and the home office without concern for mismatching data.
  • Avoidance of OSHA/SSPC fines, suspensions and/or loss of QP certifications: OSHA audits and requests for pertinent safety documentation can occur anytime, announced or unannounced. SSPC audits occur at minimum once annually and can take the form of a dual audit (office and field). Fines, suspensions or in worst cases, loss of QP certifications, can be devastating. TruQC accounts for the necessary documentation to avoid these situations altogether.
  • Peace of mind: TruQC allows you to rest assured knowing all of your documentation is getting done and getting done right.

What the Thomas Industrial Coatings team had to say

Tony Wheelock - TruQC user at Thomas Industrial Coatings“I think it’s extremely easy and the foremen love it too,” said Tony Wheelock, Project Manager. “I also have all the blueprints and documents on the iPad now. We do not use paper period.”

“There are still a few people that doDara Nausley - TruQC user at Thomas Industrial Coatings paper expense reports,” said Dara Nausley, Purchasing and Logistics Coordinator. “And those five reports take 30 minutes to do compared to the 70 expense reports I do through TruQC that take me only two hours to complete. Guys who used to never turn in expense reports are now. I am getting more thorough information. They tend to put information in right away and are not missing as many receipts since it’s so easy to use.”

Betty Wosman - TruQC user at Thomas Industrial Coatings“Reports actually get signed on a daily basis and are more accurate than they were before,” said Betty Wosman, Office Manager at Thomas Industrial Coatings.

 

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