SLATE is a platform that includes a powerful set of big data processes, custom and evolving field inspections, remote supervision (EPS Control Center), and a web portal for all participants to view communications and intuitive data widgets. The SLATE platform is managed by EPS as a back-office experience where only the personalized web-based dashboard is needed by participants to maintain rich feedback of project field performance.
To mobilize the SLATE platform, there are three considerations. The makeup of site network infrastructure, personnel selection/mobilization, and detail regarding site specifications and the construct of the inspection regime inside SLATE.
For most sites, even in remote locations, network connectivity is sufficient to run the SLATE communications systems, especially since they tend to be reasonably “thin” in terms of bandwidth requirements for the client(s). Another part of the communications package is to determine the needed support in terms of mesh networking that needs to be mobilized by EPS.
Personnel selection is performed by EPR, Inc. from a "rolodex" of known very seasoned field construction professionals that are selected specifically for the challenges of a particular site. Mobilizing individuals can usually be accomplished quickly.
Adapting the SLATE inspection content to fit a site is usually the shortest lead-time item. SLATE is exceedingly easy to setup and adapt to site specific information. Another nice feature is that very little effort/time is needed by a site to gather the initial information package, subsequently EPS handles the setup.
Overall, mobilization to an international location can usually be accomplished in three to four weeks, while domestically two weeks is typical.
Once mobilization is complete, inspections can start immediately. There is a short period, usually one day, where the EPS Control Center Supervisor reviews the content of the inspections for quality/completeness and affirms the data structure and widgets are working as intended. From that point, SLATE is “live” and all participants can see the results of the ongoing field inspections.
Not only is SLATE designed to be a feedback cycle in terms of field performance, each inspector is selected to be a mentor to field personnel. The idea is to help crews struggling to accomplish acceptable work with some ideas for better outcomes. Simply suggesting work is incorrect and documenting in-process errors is less effective than cooperating to help achieve the requirements.
Regardless, improvement is usually noticeable once field personnel understand they are being observed and mentored according to the contracted requirements, while transparent in real-time to all stakeholders. This is the SLATE process…
As above, SLATE is several moving pieces assembled into a process. To suggest the software and database processes are complex, is a serious understatement. However, the best software and process design necessarily burdens the designer with complexity, so the user may have simplistic and elegant tools. Such is SLATE...
For SLATE, it is essential clean data underlies the widgets that reveal the business intelligence perspective to the users. EPS has spent a considerable amount of time assuring the processes yield clean, robust data so simple, yet uncluttered insight can be quickly garnered by the users.
The objective is to have users check in with their dashboard perhaps twice a day for not more than 15 minutes to get the needed information to stay current with field priorities. As individual problems are resolved, other concerns will take priority over time.
If a client needs a different data view or information not initially shown, EPS can add information to the inspection process on-the-fly or perhaps reveal data being collected but not shown in as little as a few hours.
Multi-altitude Data View
Since SLATE is used by many different managerial levels of participants, the design accommodates the needs of everyone. For an executive, only acute matters and overall snapshot of site conditions may be useful. While a superintendent that is tasked with details of field performance may want something much more specific.
The dashboard tools allow a high-level view with drill down capability to bore into and view the underlying data. The Dashboard is also a communication tool for tracking in a rich and transparent fashion, focused toward resolving issues, for any in-process inspection campaign.
With SLATE, the entire organization can get useful information to improve the overall understanding of field performance. Perhaps the most valuable characteristic of SLATE is that all participants start to view the project from the same “basis”, which cuts out typical communication discords and disagreements about “facts”.