Streamline your management practices

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZ TRUSTY.
The Topcon handheld FC-120 is equipped with software for on-site surveying.

Software systems such as Goalline (www.goalline.ca), Soccer Scheduler (www.soccerscheduler.com), and GotSoccer (www.gotsoccer.com ) are sports-specific scheduling programs that coordinate multiple details for teams, camps, leagues and tournaments. They offer online registration for programs and events, tracking the applicants by team, league, division and seeding. They schedule practices and games, show standings and post game results. They can send scheduling information, including weather-related changes, directly to participants via e-mail, text or both, as well as posting the details on a Web site. This information can all be integrated to the referee program. Some programs can track game activity, creating an electronic scoreboard that can be broadcast on any screen.

Mark Vessell Sr., executive director and field management coordinator for the Saint Louis Youth Soccer Association, based in Des Peres, Mo., says, “Our facility uses the GotSoccer software, which gives me great data on field use. I can connect directly with the designated scheduling person on our staff to quickly broadcast any scheduling changes required because of field conditions.”

Ron Hostick, athletic field manager for San Diego State University, coordinates his program with ASTRA (www.astra-sw.com), the Web-based software used for event management and scheduling throughout the university. He says, “The athletic department develops the field and facility use schedule for each sport within ASTRA. Any use conflicts are negotiated within the department, with priority given to varsity sports according to seasonal practice and game needs. Details extend to site use, equipment needs, and student, facility and service provider participation times. Administrative personnel coordinate all the information and post it to a master schedule using the Microsoft Office Publisher software for posting on the university Web site. I review the postings related to our field and facility use to ensure it’s accurate and no changes have been made that haven’t been communicated to my staff.

“The head coach for each sport develops his or her separate field use schedule in a calendar format using the compiled information. I use those calendars to schedule our field maintenance program and post the information that pertains to that sport on the coach’s calendar. I’ve developed my own Excel format to compile and track the complete maintenance schedule for all of our fields and facilities.”

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUNDIAL TIME SYSTEMS.
PC TimeCLock Lite supports basic time clock functions, delivering data instantly to RealTime administrative software.

Grounds management

Many facilities use some version of grounds management software, such as TRIMS (www.trims.com) or CLIP (www.clip.com), that is designed more specifically for the lawn maintenance market.

CLIP and TRIMS combine the ability to route, schedule, estimate and cost site-specific work and projects, tracking crews and the time spent at each location. CLIP links with Microsoft Excel, Outlook and Word, and with financial management programs like QuickBooks and Peachtree. CLIPxe expands that to include the ability to track chemical application information and connect more closely to Microsoft MapPoint to better coordinate routing of crews and equipment. It also features a hand-held version called CLIP2Go that make information available on a Windows Mobile device while in the field. TRIMS also provides the ability to track chemical and fertilizer application records and costs from purchases and equipment repairs.

Data from these software programs can be adapted by sports field managers to develop base figures for the time required for maintenance procedures, such as mowing a defined field area with a specific make and model of mower. These tools assist in creating schedules and staffing allocations to more efficiently manage resources.

The Service Manager-Landscape Contractor Edition of Shining Brow software (www.shiningbrowsoftware.com)provides more of the service and relationship components for interaction with field users and the business analysis aspect by integrating inventory and product use data from most financial accounting software programs. It can connect with Microsoft Excel to access and analyze spreadsheets, and with Microsoft Word to produce targeted correspondence.

IBM’s Maximo Asset Management software is used by some professional-level teams to handle such issues as coordination of components for short and long-term planning, optimize resource allocation and track service-provider contacts. Some of the data can be used to more efficiently manage the field maintenance program.

Sundial time systems’ (www.sundialtime.com) PCTimeClock Lite supports basic time clock functions, delivering data instantly to the RealTime administrative software used by some facilities. This program can be installed on multiple computers, allowing crew members to punch in from a maintenance facility or other site, rather than the main office site. This software interfaces with payroll and accounting software programs such as ADP, Peachtree and QuickBooks, as well as Excel and other spreadsheet software.

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF CLIP.
This screen shot of the CLIP software in use shows the many different aspects of field management—from employee time sheets to scheduling—that can be managed with this system.

Field design and construction

Multiple versions of computer-assisted design (CAD) software programs have been developed for the landscape and design/build segments of the green industry and for architects and engineers. Some of this software adapts well to athletic field construction and renovation projects, and when combined with scheduling software, can provide an integrated project planning and management program.

Steve Bush, agronomist and owner of Bush Sports Turf, based in Milan, Ill., has incorporated software programs into nearly every aspect of his field construction and renovation projects. He says, “A combination of office and field software from Topcon (www.topconpositioning.com) is a key part of our project development. We can scan in a blueprint and build in the checks and balances with strategically located control points and take that onto the site with the Topcon 3D machine control software. The control box can be mounted on the on-site equipment, such as a John Deere 700 series dozer, to display a real-time, color-coded cut/fill map that shows precisely where material is located and where it needs to be moved. The image changes to reflect the work that takes place, guiding the operator’s actions.”

Bush uses the same software for smaller projects, such as infield renovation on a baseball field or drainage correction on a section of a football field. A smaller pocket unit is equipped with software for on-site surveying.

The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.