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How to Terra Drilling saved 30 hours per week as a family-owned drilling business

April 26, 2023

How to Terra Drilling saved 30 hours per week as a family-owned drilling business

Customer Stories
Written by
Sachee Perera

Terra Drilling Pty Ltd is a diamond drilling specialist based in Boulder, Western Australia.

Owned and operated by husband and wife team Jeremy ('Toad') and Pat Dowdall since 2008, Terra has cemented a reputation for excellence throughout the Goldfields, Yilgarn and Pilbara regions.

Fourteen years later, the Terra team has grown to a team of 45, working across eight diamond rigs.

Terra Drilling's challenge

As Toad and Pat's business grew from being a small start-up to an established name in the Goldfields, the team were outgrowing their paper plod, email and text message workflow.

Once the data arrived from the rigs, Pat's office team had to re-enter it into spreadsheets and a Microsoft Access database to be able to bill their clients and track performance. This had worked for them when they only had a handful of rigs, but it was becoming almost impossible to keep up with eight rigs drilling at capacity.

Eventually, there was no other option but to hire additional staff to help them keep pace with their operations - a significant cost for a family-owned and operated business.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a small town with low unemployment, so finding the right person can be a challenge, let alone finding additional time to run interviews, training sessions and managing performance on an ongoing basis.

Pat and Toad could clearly see the problems with using pen and paper. They were confident that their team would benefit from going digital. But they wanted more than just digital plods; they wanted a complete end-to-end digital transformation that removed double-handling for good.

Pat considered their options for a long time but couldn't find a product that felt like the right choice for her team.

Until she found CorePlan.

Pat engaged the CorePlan team to help digitise Terra's entire operations, starting with one rig and then gradually rolling out across the fleet.

A complete digital transformation

Terra's result was a complete transformation for their team and clients.

Starting at the rig, it now only takes Terra's drillers around 5 to 10 minutes to complete and upload their plods each day. All the data is automatically uploaded to the web portal, removing the need for drillers to send it back to the office manually.

"Our drillers adapted really well to the change," says Pat, "especially the young ones - they love it!"

For the office team, double-handling the data is now a thing of the past. All the drilling data arrives digitised, so the only thing left to do is review it and send it to the client.

Pat loves how easy it is to share data with clients. "Our clients ask us for a cost summary per rig report. I just select the rig and the dates and then share it with them directly from CorePlan as a PDF." Every client is different, but Pat can lean on a range of built-in flexible options to meet every client’s needs, such as .csv file exports or dedicated approval portals.

When Terra's clients sign off on the plod data, Pat can generate a proforma in seconds on the CorePlan web portal and import it directly into their accounting package for billing.

"It's great because all charges are already populated against the contract. It saves us so much time knowing that the data is accurate from day one!" - Pat

Reporting now only takes a few seconds as all of Terra's data is stored in one location.

"One of the biggest changes for us is having increased visibility across our operations," says Pat. "The reporting dashboards make it easy to see what's happening on our rigs. It's great that we can quickly look at things like our equipment, consumable usage and charges."

The massive reduction in paperwork has been a complete 180 for the office team. "All things considered, it's saved us about 30 hours of admin time per week," says Pat. "It's tough to be a small business right now. It was so hard to find staff to give us a hand when we needed it. I'm so glad we implemented CorePlan when we did!"

So, what does Pat do with her newfound free time?

"There's always something!" she laughs. "There's never a dull moment, really."

"But now, I am spending more of my time on the important day-to-day aspects of running the business that I didn't have enough time to fully focus on before."

What's next for Terra?

Now that the entire business is running on CorePlan, the Terra Drilling team are ready to take their paperless journey to the next level.

Shortly, they'll be rolling out CorePlan Forms across their entire fleet. "We want our guys to be able to access everything they need electronically," says Pat.

Using CorePlan Forms, Terra can digitise their pre-starts, take 5s, inspection and incident reports and other forms for easy data entry. Plus, they'll be able to access their lead and lag indicators from within the web portal and be automatically notified whenever an incident report is submitted.

The drilling team will be able to swap bulky paperwork folders for their phone or tablet using the CorePlan mobile app. This will give the entire team on-demand access to all the documentation they may need from wherever they're drilling, even outside mobile service.

Are you ready to stop spending time doing repetitive paperwork and start impressing your clients like Terra?

Get started with CorePlan today.

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