We just can’t get enough of our new Phantom 4 drone. As we explained in our last post, we purchased it as a safety and efficiency solution for a commercial construction project. And it is proving to be an absolute workhorse on commercial construction and civil engineering jobs.
But that’s turning out to be just the tip of the iceberg. We’re finding that the drone has applications for virtually everything we do here at T.Lake. Today, let’s take a look at what a drone can bring to commercial landscape maintenance projects.
4 Top Drone Applications For Commercial Landscape Maintenance
As you can imagine, there are plenty of challenges involved in inspecting large, multi-acre commercial properties. Many of them feature areas that prove difficult to access: fenced areas, detention ponds, steep slopes, overgrown areas full of stickers and chiggers, and so on.
Traditionally, we would have to send someone out to drive and/or walk around on the property to inspect—a process that can take hours. Now, we just deploy the drone. It flies up and around virtually any obstacle and takes ultra high resolution footage that lets us see exactly what is going on with the property, often in better detail than we could see from the ground. And it does it in minutes.
The drone is especially handy when it comes to inspecting high places like trees, roofs and buildings. In fact, we often have clients ask, “Hey, as long as you’ve got that thing up there, can you take a look at my roof?” And it's just as useful around those boggy, snaky detention ponds too.
In our last post, I talked about how the drone expedites mapping for commercial construction projects. But there are mapping applications for commercial landscape maintenance, as well.
For instance, this winter we are sending our drone out to many of the properties we manage now that the leaves are off the trees. We will use the data to create sequence maps for our crews to identify which areas get certain treatments at certain times. The drone’s clear, detailed mapping capabilities are ideal for this and other service management uses, and will help us provide better, more efficient grounds management services.
3. Work flow management.
If you’re familiar with the term, “going to gemba,” you will realize why I’m so excited about the Phantom’s potential to improve work flow. “Gemba” is a Japanese word that basically means “the real place.” In Lean manufacturing, leaders go to gemba by observing first-hand how work takes place—for example, by visiting the factory floor. This gives them insights into the work process that they would never see from the office or boardroom, so that they can better plan for efficiency.
As you can imagine, going to gemba on a commercial landscape maintenance project presents certain challenges. How do you observe the dynamics of a crew that is spread out over acres?
Our drone has proven to be the ideal solution. It allows us to quietly observe our crews at work from above, so we can literally see the work flow patterns as they unfold, even on large properties. We have on more than one occasion videoed our crews covertly and shared the footage with them afterwards. That way we can point out to them, “OK, we’re crossing traffic here, that’s not very efficient. Why don’t we do it this way instead?” Drone feedback is extremely useful in improving efficiency and is helping us to improve the service we deliver to our clients.
Another way we use the drone for commercial grounds maintenance that many of our clients really appreciate is in documenting how the service is performed.
For instance, say a client has a property manager in Palm Beach managing a property in Atlanta. They may not be able to get to the site more than once a quarter. Now, we can send them drone footage that lets them get up close and personal with the property and really see how things look no matter where they happen to be. It’s very helpful for the remote property manager.
This is actually a construction site photo, but it gives you an idea of the possibilities; a drone can easily zoom low and capture high-resolution stills and/or footage of landscape details as well as panoramic shots.
Want To Know More?
If you have a specific commercial landscape maintenance issue that you think a drone could help with, or if you’d simply like to learn more about T. Lake’s grounds maintenance services, call us today at 478-272-3878 or contact us here. We’ll be glad to help.