Can You Hear Me Now?
How Modern Technology Is Changing The Way We Communicate
April 1, 2014

Over the last decade, communication technologies have evolved at an increasing rate. This has influenced businesses and industries to grow and adapt to the new means of communication. One industry that has seen significant technological improvements is the construction industry. With the use of mobile technologies (such as tablets and smartphones), clients can now use pictures and videos to improve the efficiency of communication without having to be at the office. At times it can be difficult to receive internet or cellular reception on a construction site, but mobile technologies can allow project personnel to record information independently, and then upload it to a network at a later time. The coordination of meetings has also been greatly improved with the development of modern technologies. Companies with employees dispatched out to different locations are now holding online meetings with the utilization of mobile technologies and online screen sharing services.

On construction projects, information needs to be relayed to multiple parties in an effective and timely manner; however, many projects use multiple resources to track their information. This can become a cumbersome task and it can also present the opportunity for information to be lost in translation. Through the use of software that offers a package of services, information can be tracked, coordinated, and distributed efficiently and with ease. This has been beneficial for many projects in regard to inspections, punch listing, issue management and resolution. Through the use of software solutions like FreightTrain®, cloud-based technologies allow users to access information for multiple projects from any location via the internet. This results in the effective organization of communication, coordination and implementation of work.

With the use of modern communication technologies users can now stay better informed, maintain better contact in the field, and help conserve the environment by reducing the amount of paper used. This is ideal for any project as it helps in streamlining communication and reducing the cost of documentation resources. As mobile technologies continue to be implemented more frequently, communication methods will continue to evolve and further support the distribution and reception of information. Soon the question of “Can you hear me now?” will become obsolete since we all know the answer will be “yes”!

-Einar Lono, Senior Operator, FreightTrain
Marissa Silvas, Operator, FreightTrain



Let's Talk - Communication!
December 31, 2013

With the dawning of the new age of construction, there are many challenges that can impact the success of your project. The most monumental and yet simplest of these challenges is communication! When dealing with a large project the amount of personnel and coordination can be cumbersome. So how can we communicate clearly to the team what needs to be done? What tools and strategies are there to help support this endeavor? By utilizing web based forums and databases (such as FreightTrain™) that track all of the key components, any member of the team can easily access and understand what has been discussed and agreed upon at any given point. By using tools such as FeightTrains Visual Fragnet Maps, project members can clearly identify and understand where issues are, or where the next phase of construction will start. This has provided a profound experience that continues to be highly successful on many projects when concerning inspections and scheduling. In addition to FreightTrain, there are other helpful tools that can help strengthen a projects correspondence. By designing a systematic approach that identifies who has control of specific scopes of work, understanding what milestones need to be achieved and their durations, and taking in consideration for unpredictable labor support (i.e. holidays). The project will be better prepared for success.

In short, the project will strongly benefit and will certainly support a highly successful completion by the scheduled date when implementing a systematic approach, using FreightTrain CM Solutions, and planning for the uncertain. So remember to plan ahead, communicate effectively and be successful! 

-Einar Lono, Senior Operator, FreightTrain



Introducing Einar & Byron!
October 15, 2013

Meet the Oakland FreightTrain Dream Team! (Byron Muller on left; Einar Lono on right) Something of a dynamic duo, Einar Lono and Byron Muller work with HTS’s FreightTrain Division, where they take up the roles of FreightTrain Administrator and FreightTrain Operator, respectively. With FreightTrain, Einar and Byron have worked in the Kaiser Oakland Medical Center Project. 

Since beginning work at Oakland in 2010, Byron and Einar have successfully implemented FreightTrain into the project, through effective implementation of our punch list modules and creation of several new reports and Visual Fragnet maps which have improved the quality of the FreightTrain system. Byron and Einar have been an invaluable asset to the project. 

But Byron and Einar are not just content with doing their jobs right; instead, the two have been known to commit well above and beyond the requirements. Throughout the project, Byron and Einar would show up to work everyday from 6 in the morning to about 6 in the evening, amounting to the average 10-12 hour workday. Not afraid of working over-time, the duo would sometimes come in even on Saturdays, rarely, if ever, calling in sick. The two are known for their extreme professionalism and amazing dedication. 

Still, it isn’t just us who praise their work. According to reports from fellow coworkers, Byron and Einar are constantly being lauded by clients, some demanding that work on their project be managed specifically by the team. FreightTrain is proud of Byron and Einar for their superb work ethic and teamsmanship!


Why does the "Fit-UP" period take so long?!

What are the 
October 2, 2013

There are many activities that need to be coordinated, and many cannot occur concurrently. When there are complex areas such as Imaging, OR suites, Lab, and Pharmacy involved, the coordination and preparation requirements are greater than for spaces without large, complex equipment.

* Many activities cannot begin until Building Turnover: The various teams need time to prepare, deploy, and test their systems before integrated testing can occur. These activities cannot always happen at the same time and are often dependent on work by other teams. Typically this takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks prior to the first recommended “Day in the Life – dress rehearsal” for all impacted staff (which can be at least 4 weeks before move day) and is dependent on the transition budget resources allocation.

*Go/No-Go issue resolution: The hospital must review and prioritize issues identified during the Fit-Up period. Usually issues are prioritized in the following categories: (E)Emergent- must be resolved immediately (water leak), (1) must be resolved before licensing visit (regulatory requirement), (2) must be resolved before operations (organizational preference), (3) evaluate and resolve post-move (convenience item/nice to have). Unresolved items may become deal-breakers. 


Fit-Up FAQ
October 2, 2013

Here are some things you may want to know about FreightTrains’ Fit-Up process:

What is the average time to complete the “Fit-Up” period?

The minimum required time between building turnover and day 1 of operations is typically 90 days (3 months) but may need to be longer in states with stricter regulatory requirements or for very large and complex projects.

What is the Transition/Activation Budget? What should my organization expect to spend?

a. All ONE-TIME expenses that are a direct result of the activation of the new facility (i.e., if the new facility was not being built, this cost would not be necessary)

b. Costs that are neither accounted for in the project’s construction/equipment budgets, nor in the hospital’s operating/capital budgets.

c. Staff resource requirements are quantified by headcount and by hours (not by FTE).

d. A separate cost center(s) should be created and closed shortly after Day 1 of operations.

e. The transition budget is typically 1-2% of the total project budget. (i.e. $300M project will have a $3M-$6M transition budget).

f. The costs can be assigned to one of the five transition budget categories below.

What are the main components of the Transition/Activation budget? [% of Budget] 

a. Pre-Fit up activities: hospital resources required prior to building turnover [10%]

b. Fit-Up activities: resources required to secure, manage and set up the new facility [30%]

c. Training: Fire and Life safety, general orientation, equipment and systems training and DitL [35%]

d. Move/Activation: resources for licensing prep and department/patient move activities [20%]

e. Consolidation/Decommissioning: issue follow-up and post-move support in the vacated facility [5%]


New Facility Fit-Up: 4 Tips to

September 5, 2013

Essential to any Transition Planning effort is the Fit-Up process. Fit-Up is the process of ordering, installing, calibrating, testing and training of staff on furniture, equipment and medical supplies in preparation for Day 1 of operations in a new medical facility. The Fit-Up phase of a healthcare construction project is notorious for costly delays and project-endangering complications, especially if proper precautions are not taken. However, under proper guidance, the Fit-Up phase can represent a seamless transition and a bright future in a new facility. David Watters, Transition Planning Project Coordinator for HTS, Inc., offers project owners four tips on how to ensure your Fit-Up Process ends in success.

1. Coordinate Your Resources

To guarantee that a Fit-Up process starts off just right it is necessary to coordinate your resources first. This means establishing and organizing the core groups (Security, EVS, Facilities, Biomed, IT/IS, Equipment, Furniture and other) that will be essential to the Fit-Up process, including a task force and command, or help, centers. “Implementing a general command center, where anyone can call-in for help, meeting with facility managers to ascertain their support and technical assistance, and other services and resources, will ensure that your Fit-Up process is on the right track,” David explains. A lack of coordination from the upstart can lead to problems in organization later on. The Fit-Up phase should start at least four months prior to the opening day to account for any potential roadblocks.

2. Ensure Proper Facility Orientation

A project is only as good as its project members. To guarantee a proper Fit-Up, it is of utmost importance to engage in proper facility orientation, preferably before any project-related work begins. Because of the large amount of people a transition planning project demands, the Fit-Up process often requires a large-scale education program. This program should include training on various systems, equipment usage, and department-specific particularities. Due to the complexity of some of these processes, such as those involving expensive equipment, orientation should be thorough and a prioritized part of the process. The importance of proper facility orientation simply cannot be understated; a well-trained staff means a successful transition in the long-run.

3. Establish Safety and Security 

Safety comes first. This should be obvious, but what we mean by safety is not only that of the individual, which is already very important, but also the safety of the facility itself. As part of the Fit-Up process, this is crucial for the well-being of your project. To ensure facility safety, orient your team on disaster preparedness, with various worst-case scenarios mapped out. Ensure that staff are prepared to respond to the various alarms and scenarios by providing training on the protocols and cheat sheets as easy reference. Moreover, preparing the new building for use requires dealing with specialized and expensive equipment. It is imperative that the facility be secured with staff, processes and equipment to support the process. Risking theft can ruin an otherwise problem-free project. A thorough coordination of security to ensure a successful process, including high-defense measures such as bag/backpacks checks when entering or exiting the building, use of Badged IDs, and a good equipment-tracking system.

4. Incorporate Technology 

Incorporating technology into the Fit-Up Process is a requirement for a successful project. In today’s world, technology reigns as vital to any project’s success. You cannot afford to be left behind. Specifically, the use of tracking software for materials and supplies can aid in the procurement process by ordering the right materials at the right time as well as reducing the risk of theft and loss. Software ably equipped to aid in mapping out the Fit-Up process, can be an invaluable asset to the organization of the project. Whether you’re the Project Owner or the Clinical Lead, creating a solid Fit-Up plan that incorporates these four principles will safeguard your project from any delays and ensure the highest standards of patient safety and satisfaction from the moment the first patient is admitted.

-David Watters, Project Coordinator, HTS, Inc.



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