The moment of digital transformation is now. The first step, digitalization of existing processes is becoming a must for most environmental consultants, field engineers and laboratories. Besides the fact that having your data digital means it would be ‘more convenient’ or that it is harder to lose important data, why is digitalization so important? And what benefits does digitalization and automation of your soil survey processes bring you?
Increased process efficiency
The easiest impact you can make from digitalization is higher efficiency of basic work processes. For most people it is quicker to type a letter or e-mail than to write it by hand. Choosing an item in a select box is usually faster than writing down every choice. A digital file is more readily available than scanning a paper report to create a copy.
As a field engineer, working analogue ensures a lot of paper in the field and that brings certain risks. Filling out the paper forms with all the necessary data is an error prone and time-consuming task. Additionally, due to weather circumstances the paper might get wet or dirty, the handwriting of your colleague might not be legible for others, papers can get lost easily and you lose a lot of time returning your paper fieldwork back to the office.
All these risks are a thing of the past when you digitize your fieldwork. A field engineer can use his telephone or tablet to input the needed data in the right application. Inputted data will be saved securely and directly visible for a consultant at the office. The consultant can make quick decisions based on initial field data and steer the data collection in the field from the office, to prevent someone from having to revisit the location at a later date to collect additional field data.
Because all the data is digital and centralized in one application, the making of result tables, assessments and reports will become a lot faster and more convenient for the consultant. Manually typing data and fiddling with word or excel layouts will be unnecessary and outdated. The making of tables can be automated by having software fill in the fieldwork results, data can be assessed to the correct norms and legislations and visualised in standardised reports. This way the time of the expert is used much more efficiently and can be spent on further enriching the research data, analysing the results, and giving fitting environmental advice.
Unified dataset and professional representation:
An additional benefit of digitalization is a standardised dataset and a more professional appearance. When we are not tied to a set input structure or when the dataset is limited by space on paper such as fieldwork forms, the descriptions will be much less standardised and less uniform. As a result, it happens that the description of an experienced field engineer on paper differs compared to a field engineer that started recently and therefore important data could be missed.
Digitalization offers you the possibility to provide choices for a specific description norm instead of a free format. When required data is still missing, it will show immediately. And when certain data is filled in, you have the option to zoom in on that aspect and request additional information. This way it will be easier to stick to protocols and description norms and everyone’s description will look more structured and uniform. As a company, you can represent yourself more professionally and automatically supports you to adhere to certain protocols such as the ISO14688 for geotechnical fieldwork. This international geotechnical standard offers field engineers clear choices and structure to best describe soil, which also translates to data that can be easily digitised.
Stay ahead of the competition
Many companies see digitalization as an opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. By working faster and smarter, projects can often be completed with larger profit margins. And by using the flexibility of digital data, one can get insights to create new products and services to better meet the customer’s needs. This all can positively influence the growth of a company.
But the effects of digitisation can go much further. When many companies within the sector digitalize their processes, additional benefit starts to materialize: All data is digitally available, which makes it more easily exchangeable. Projects can be shared more easily, and collaborations are more efficient. Within your industry this means that a fieldwork engineer can collect data digitally and automatically delivers it to an environmental consultancy bureau. The consultant makes an analysis plan based on this data and sends it to the laboratory in the same digital environment. The laboratory receives the analysis request, executes the analysis and sends the results back to the consultancy bureau. Finally, the consultant will combine all the collected data and make a solid report to hand over to the client who imports the results back into his system. This whole process is digital, without error-prone data inputs and wasting time on manual tasks.
Get started with digitalization!
Digitalization of soil survey processes will bring a lot of benefits and if you want to stay ahead of the competition the best time to start is now. TerraIndex has over 25 years of experience with improving and safeguarding the quality of soil surveys through digitalization and optimization of research processes and integrating the sector as a whole. Our software helps environmental consultancy bureaus, field engineers and laboratories to perform their duties with great precision and speed.
Do you want to know more on what we can do for your organisation? Request a free consultation for more information.