New Scaffold Tag Software Continues to Challenge Paper/Manual Processes

Avontus Software, used by scaffold companies worldwide in managing residential, commercial, and industrial jobs, has released Quantify 2013, the latest version of their scaffold management suite. One of the new features is the intelligent Scaffold Tag (QR code) that customers can work into their existing processes.

Ali Hajighafouri, product manager with Avontus, who has a decade of experience working with clients to leverage technology, discusses the potential impact the Scaffold Tag feature could have on scaffolding businesses’ day-to-day operations and long-term competitiveness.

SA Connection: What has been the feedback from customers incorporating the new software into their existing systems?

Hajighafouri: “Feedback on the new QR-coded scaffold tags has been positive as there’s a lot of enthusiasm to get this technology into play. Quantify itself continues to gain in popularity as clients find they save a great deal of time and cost with the system’s easy-to-use billing, asset, and project management features. Industrial customers have also reported success advertising their use of the software when bidding on projects; plant and project managers appreciate the robust reporting and improved operational efficiency gained from using Quantify.”

SA Connection: What are the standout features of the Scaffold Tag?

Hajighafouri: “Well first off, the new QR-coded scaffold tag adhesive label makes it a simple addition to existing physical tags. The QR code can be viewed by anyone using a smartphone or other mobile device with a free QR code reader installed. Along with being easily added to your existing tags, the QR code provides immediate availability of basic scaffold details including work order, tag number, project dates, and other optional data, present for reference on the physical tag without the need for an Internet connection. When you do have a connection, you can use the QR code’s built-in link to a real-time scaffold webpage showing materials and all other relevant information. Overall, the tag is an incredibly cost-effective tracking solution.”

SA Connection: What industries do you expect to benefit the most from this product?

Hajighafouri: “Any industry operating in large, complex facilities—energy, manufacturing, plant construction—will reap significant benefits from streamlining scaffold management with intelligent tags and QR codes. Mining and refining operations taking place on vast sites stand to save significant time and cost by making data available in the field, reducing the need for, and delays caused by, cross-site travel and disruptive radio chatter.”

SA Connection: In what situations are details on demand imperative?

Hajighafouri: “When a refinery vessel is down and gas stops flowing, millions of dollars can be lost with every passing hour, and nobody wants to be on the hook for a delay caused by a scaffold not being ready. Proper job and materials planning can help ensure that such an incident never occurs. It’s especially important for shutdowns and turnarounds. They can be very fast-paced and, while work may be planned extensively, unexpected issues often arise, requiring a quick and agile response from scaffold contractors. Maintenance environments of course have their fair share of sudden, critical needs. Industrial settings, particularly oil refineries, stand to make huge gains from having data available on demand.”

SA Connection: What does the Scaffold Tag do long-term for industry efficiency?

Hajighafouri: “Instead of walking around a site, relying heavily on paper forms and radio communications, teams can coordinate their efforts from anywhere with a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. Custom reports, work plans, and interactive site maps are all available for access in the field, providing real-time information from one central source. Double entry of data, confusion over outdated or conflicting information, and other pitfalls are drastically reduced. When the industry really begins utilizing Quantify features like QR codes, it will be able to shift away from the costly, inefficient paper and manual processes that it relies on today. Imagine the often chaotic industrial scaffold scene—one minute it’s hurry-up-and-wait, and the next it’s a scramble to field a last-minute request that’s in the critical path (like all scaffolds are) of essential work. Inefficiencies abound because of all the process gaps and disconnects between software systems. Quantify brings it all together, acting as the central hub for all scaffold-related work.”

SA Connection: What does utilizing software like Quantify mean for a business’ chance of getting the job?

Hajighafouri: “As is, our customers include Quantify in their presentations when bidding to demonstrate their commitment to innovation and improvements in process and quality. In certain situations we are even called in to demonstrate the system to contract managers for particularly important deals. But more to the point, Quantify is being listed as a requirement on major projects right now, including the Australian Wheatstone LNG plant project bid package that states contractors must demonstrate their use of this software.”

SA Connection: What kind of demand does Avontus expect for the upgraded software?

Hajighafouri: “Our current customers receive all the new features, so their systems are upgraded automatically. We’re experiencing significant demand from new customers wanting to incorporate us into upcoming projects, especially those who want to include us in their bids. The expectation is that demand will continue to grow as businesses realize that they will need the software to stay competitive in the marketplace. The increasing focus on scaffold safety and efficiency will only drive that need further.”