Smartsheet partner Achievan enables Mosaic Transit Group to streamline construction while protecting worker health and safety
Smartsheet partner Achievan helps Mosaic Transit Group coordinate construction and manage health and safety for a workforce that’s spread not just along an 11-kilometer light-rail track but throughout a broader geographic region following work-from-home orders during a pandemic.
"We have about 100 workers on site every day, but our peak is going to be roughly 800 to 1,000 people a day... When the Ministry of Labour comes on site, they want to know how many people you have on the whole project or throughout particular areas. That’s difficult when you have 11 kilometers and don’t have satellite offices everywhere. With the online forms, we have a daily check-in for all of our subcontractors to utilize, which spits out a dashboard that we can check to know exactly how many people we have and where they are within our five sections, or break it down further into subsections."
Health, Safety and Security Manager, Mosaic Transit Group
Mosaic Transit Group, a joint venture partnership of ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Aecon Group Inc., and CRH Canada Group Inc., needed to streamline collaboration and communication among construction teams building an 11-kilometer (6.8-mile) light-rail line in Toronto, Ontario. In the face of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, the company needed to rethink its reliance on paper and face-to-face communication while maintaining the highest quality of work and regulatory compliance. Mosaic Transit Group collaborated with Achievan, a Smartsheet Platinum Partner, to implement Smartsheet to enable real-time communication from both trackside and remote worksites while improving reporting and visibility.
“We recognized early on that Smartsheet would give us the flexibility to customize for our project, our organizational structure, our job titles — whatever workflows we have, it was able to do that,” says Ross Bain, operations planning manager for Mosaic Transit Group. “If we think of a problem, we can solve a lot of it with Smartsheet just by understanding how the different tools mesh together.”
Clear communication is a challenge when work teams are spread out along an urban light rail corridor. For the Finch West LRT project, a Metrolinx project in Northwest Toronto, Mosaic Transit Group wanted a single location for information about project status, safety and regulatory requirements, budget issues, and other developments. Although the construction work was deemed essential, the quarantine measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 required most administrative, professional and technical staff to work from home, increasing potential communications barriers.
Mosaic Transit Group and Achievan collaborated to implement Smartsheet across a wide range of departments. Achievan recognized that the challenges Mosaic Transit Group was facing included multiple communication channels, email overload, administrative burden, delayed approvals, and limited visibility into various workstreams. The partner worked with Mosaic Transit Group to improve work management across all departments with solutions such as safety opportunities and KPIs, design reviews, look-ahead scheduling, commissioning, quality and inspection, and environmental assessments, as well as digitizing paper forms and incorporating e-signatures.
“As a result of our work, the Mosaic team now gathers real-time data from construction sites stretched over 11 kilometers and then uses this data to triage, assign and take appropriate actions and decisions,” says Amin Panjwani, managing partner with Achievan. “The project has standardized tracking and reporting across the organization including dashboards that provide actionable insights and transparency.”
“Achievan has proved to be a valued partner in the implementation of Smartsheet,” Bain says. “They have provided their support to us through a combination of workshops, training sessions, remote assistance, and offsite development. We have challenged them with non-conventional requests to which they have found creative solutions, and they have excelled in solving our pain points. I could not think of anyone else to help us with our implementation.”
The platform’s flexibility has helped different teams build solutions that meet their unique needs, quickly and easily.
“The most attractive feature of Smartsheet for me is the ability to customize,” Bain says. “It allows us to set up whatever layers, structure, workflow, or buckets we need. Once you understand how the system works, you start from literally a clean sheet and can build something that can be used across the organization fairly quickly.”
Expediting meetings with real-time information
One of the most important requirements for a major construction project is regulatory compliance. Smartsheet captures project details in real time via live dashboards, so health and safety teams can confirm checklist requirements and deal with potential safety issues promptly.
“It helps us to have all that information in one area, because there are many meetings,” says Stephen Agla, health, safety and security manager for Mosaic Transit Group. “The senior management from the three respective companies want to see live information, what’s happening on the site. With the dashboards, we have that visibility. We can monitor alignment with our audit processes and see if there are any gaps. Instead of going to individual sites and looking at their safety boards — getting it archaically that way — I can see all the information as I’m sitting in one location.”
Simplifying daily check-ins to safeguard worker health
To protect workers’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mosaic Transit Group implemented an online screening system that sends onsite and remote employees a form each morning. Responses feed directly into a sheet where managers and safety staff can review the health status of each crew and remote workers.
“We need to understand who is where; is a person just working from home, or are they self-isolating because either they or someone they know has been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?” Bain says. “It’s important for us to know who is fit to work, and if they’re not fit to work, why, and what can we do to help them.”
Using the mobile app to make field work safer and more efficient
As work progresses along the light-rail track, workers need a way to get the data and resources they need without access to laptops or a central office. Health and safety managers working remotely during the pandemic must make periodic worksite visits; current information lets them spend a minimum of time in contact with colleagues. The mobile app provides all the data they need.
“When I go to sites, while I’m still in my vehicle I pull up the mobile app to see how many people are in that area,” Agla says. “I also utilize it to fill my reports for safety opportunities and things of that nature. I think that’s the biggest benefit, and everyone can do that right in the field.”
Smartsheet also streamlines new-hire safety and process training. Sheets track who’s completed the trainings and certifications required for their individual roles, and streamline scheduling of the company’s limited classroom space.
Saving time and effort for the work that matters most
Agla says Smartsheet has helped improve near-miss reporting and aggregation of data from multiple worksites to spot issues that call for retraining, new processes, or other strategic solutions. Add-ins like the Pivot app simplify data capture from the records of thousands of inspections to enable analysis and strategic planning. And the comprehensive documentation ensures that Mosaic Transit Group is fully prepared for regulatory inspections and audits.
“Smartsheet has freed up my time so I may focus on my priorities by reducing the time required for administrative functions within health and safety,” Agla says. “The safety and health of our workforce is top priority, and having these documentations in the background is added due diligence for our supervision staff, executive teams and partner companies.”
As the project progresses, Smartsheet can lighten the workload for construction teams that prefer to focus on concrete and rebar, not charts and reports. Agla says it could lead to process improvements and efficiencies well after the LRT work is completed.
“The construction industry doesn’t just start trusting things; you need to prove that it works,” Agla says. “With this project, major construction general contractors are being exposed to Smartsheet right now. Hopefully people can take that back to their own groups and say, maybe we don’t have to have executives traveling every week because they can see live information at their desk.”