Edge Out the Competition With HDD Productivity Tools

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Edge Out the Competition With HDD Productivity Tools

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Many utility companies and state Departments of Transportation now require horizontal directional drill contractors to provide as-built bore profiles on mid- to large-diameter utility bores or when crossing a major highway. While the bid specs on these types of projects do not dictate how as-built bore profiles need to be presented, you can bet a high level of professionalism is preferred. 

The professionalism of your company’s documentation can go a long way with customers and give you an edge over the competition. So instead of turning in handwritten rod-by-rod drilling notes like some of your competitors, be the organization delivering polished reports with integrated topography data.

Professional documentation

Delivering quality results on the projects you’re currently working on can help secure new business. However, there’s a lot more to it than just pushing pipe in the ground and cleaning up when your crew’s done. Everything from the logo on the side of your trucks to the level of care your team takes on the job can impact your reputation, so it’s important to deliver professional-looking bid proposals, planning documents and bore profiles. 

Kipp Ulferts, applications specialist for Vermeer Intelligent Worksite Solutions, has spent a lot of time working with HDD contractors looking for efficient ways to share information with customers. “Most contractors aren’t necessarily looking for a more polished way of generating reports for customers,” he explains. “Instead, they want a tool that can help them efficiently plan a job, and Vermeer Projects software excels in that area. It also has excellent reporting tools built in that make it easier to share information with customers. The ability to use the same program for planning and generating customer-facing reports is a powerful combination for the HDD industry. Vermeer Projects delivers value for a company’s internal team and its customers.”

On the job use

John Gregor, HDD manager for Miller Pipelines, says his team started using Vermeer Projects because a significant amount of their customers require them to create as-built bore profiles. “The old way of doing it with a measuring wheel and record book, and then having to input the data into a CAD program was time-consuming and not as accurate as the new technology,” he explains. “With a mobile phone or tablet running the Vermeer Projects app and Trimble R1 GNSS receiver, our guys can walk the bore path, insert tie-down points of reference, insert depth information and mark the location of other utilities in a fraction of the time. Then they can give our customers as-built information in the format requested.” 

Erik Carlson, owner of Pinnacle Construction & Directional Boring in Charleston, South Carolina, is using Vermeer Projects in a similar way. He says South Carolina’s DOT requires permits for most roadway crossings and gets very particular about bores greater than 2 inches in diameter. After walking a planned bore path, Carlson likes to review the GPS data on his computer. He labels each utility, what size it is and pertinent elevation information. Bore details are then added, including the type and size of pipe being used, what directional drill will be performing the job and setback requirements. A report is then generated and combined with other project documents and sent to the engineer on the job, who uploads everything for the DOT to review. If the DOT has any concerns, Carlson can make adjustments in Vermeer Projects and then resubmit it for approval.

“Vermeer Projects makes the whole process more efficient than doing all of that work by hand or using separate programs that don’t communicate with each other,” Carlson explains. “Plus, it’s professional looking, which has helped us get invited to bid on jobs that have strict requirements.”

Easy to use

As a contractor, you likely already incorporate many productivity tools ranging from timecard apps to accounting software. While many of those programs are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of business types, Vermeer Projects is explicitly developed to help your crews work more efficiently. 

“From developing bore plans and providing rod-by-rod drilling information for the operator to providing as-built bore profiles to the customers, contractors can do it all within the program,” Ulferts says. “The program integrates with Google Earth for topography or elevation information and contractors match that data with Google imagery to deliver relevant and visual information along with the bore profile for preplanning and as-built reporting. Also, they can overlay preplanned data points with the actual bore path information captured through the locator for comparison. Reports are easy to generate and can be printed or outputted to a PDF to easily share.”

Getting started

You’ve read how a couple HDD pros are leveraging Vermeer Projects to help their companies operate more efficiently and professionally. Perhaps a productivity tool like Vermeer Projects is what you need to gain a competitive edge on the competition in your area. If you want to find out more about all the productivity tools Vermeer offers, contact your local Vermeer dealer.


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