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Getting Down to Business: Mike Merrill, Turbine Masters

January 20, 2016

This month in our continuing series of customer interviews, we talked with one of our long-time customers in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing companies are a growing user base for mobile data collection applications, and Fulcrum is a great match for manufacturers because it offers an integrated mobile solution that speeds up quotes, customer service, and order management. Real-time data capture is what differentiates the leaders from the rest.

Consulting projects with Fulcrum

Mike Merrill is the NDE Coordinator & Field Service Tech at Turbine Master. He has worked there since 2000 and has seen many changes that technology offers to workflows. Our team sat down with Mike and asked him about his data collection methods, the turbine industry, and the future of data collection technologies.

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Our interviewee, Mike Merrill

What do you and your company do? Turbine Master provides contained abrasive blast cleaning and Non-Destructive Testing primarily in power generation industry.

Who hires you to fix their turbines? Our customer base ranges from the OEM’s of the steam turbines to several turn key specialty organizations.

Walk me through your workflow, from phone call to completed inspection. It typically starts with a phone call or email requesting a quote for our services. Once we’ve been awarded the project we add it to our schedule and follow up as the project start date nears. From there we mobilize our techs to the site and depending on the size of the unit/project our crews will be on site for 2-3 days up to 2-3 weeks.

Your headquarters are in Oklahoma. Do you work all over the USA? We do. We’ve also provided support on projects in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba and the Bahamas.

What technologies in the last five years have made your workflows simplifier? From the inspection side of our work I would have to say Fulcrum. It has tremendously improved our reporting process.

Tell us a little bit about the history between your company and Fulcrum? When I began as a tech we were actually still putting pen to paper. We would perform our inspections, take notes and occasionally photographs, then when the work day was finished we would go back to the motel and get out the white out and begin filling out report forms. From there we evolved to laptops and the blank inspection forms being in Microsoft Word, the workflow was the same only now we had a backspace button instead of whiteout, and the finished product was a little neater. From there we evolved a little more with a Windows-based program that gave the finished product a much improved look, but the process was still the same. And then came Fulcrum. With the explosion of apps and tablets we began looking at ways to integrate them to our process. Initially we thought it was something that we would have to have someone develop for us, which would’ve been frustrating as we learned with the Windows-based report due to our lack of knowledge in software design and the designer’s lack of knowledge in steam turbine nomenclature. Then we found Fulcrum and found out that it wasn’t that complicated at all. Within a couple of months of partnering with Fulcrum we had a workable app that allowed our techs to collect data on a tablet immediately after they completed their inspection eliminating the need to take notes and spend hours working on a report after the work day was finished.

What information do you provide for your clients? Our techs document the type of inspection performed, the parameters of the inspection, and the results of the inspection.

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An example page of Turbine Masters’ custom report

You have used Fulcrum services for a custom report. Who uses those reports you generate with Fulcrum? Everyone involved in the project. The tech will submit the report to the project manager and from there it is shared with the utility as well as with auditors, insurance companies, and repair facilities if repairs are needed.

Mobile apps are forcing manufacturers to compete in their customers’ timeframes. Fulcrum provides the ability to deliver greater value in less time than before.

Thanks to Mike Merrill and Turbine Masters for the excellent interview! If you are currently using Fulcrum in your business and would like to be featured in our next Getting Down to Business segment, reach out to us at info@fulcrumapp.com