Planate Management Group: A Seamless Transition to Operating in the COVID-19 World

Planate Management Group (Planate or PMG) is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) engineering firm delivering comprehensive architectural and engineering design solutions, construction management support, and facility planning and programming in complex, difficult, or geographically remote locations worldwide. Our team of highly qualified engineering and infrastructure professionals is located across the globe allowing us to respond rapidly to the needs of our clients.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading across the world, many organizations had to adapt quickly to conducting business in a virtual environment. For PMG, a pandemic lockdown had little impact on day-to-day operations. Planate has been using technology to operate in a virtual environment since its inception in 2007.

In all of our projects, PMG uses advanced technology to connect the on-site field team with a physical engineering design center located in the Subic Bay Free Trade Zone. Referred to as the Global Technical Support Center (GTSC), this physical office is capable of engineering design, detail drawing development in AutoCAD, as well as performing human resources (HR) and finance functions. Our virtual subject matter experts (SMEs), staged around the world, augment this capability by providing expertise in regional engineering and geographic issues.

Considering Planate is mostly a virtual company, the pandemic lockdown affected only our personnel at the GTSC, who quickly transitioned to the same virtual platform used by the rest of the company. Workflows and field support functions kept running without missing a beat.

Our experience using engineering reach back technology while serving on active duty laid the foundation for this unique business model, which allows Planate to perform engineering design around the clock, providing timely solutions to our clients – despite the pandemic lockdowns. For example, during the establishment of Planate, we supported an Engineers Without Borders water filtration project in a remote location of Southeast Asia. The deployed team used satellite communication to send detailed information and photographs of the site to the GTSC in Subic Bay, PH. Engineers from the design center put together design and AutoCAD drawings and material take off lists allowing the field team to help the villagers build and commission the project. Throughout the process, the project manager kept track of progress and engaged specific SMEs as needed, all while traveling on another mission from the US to Germany, in one case using the airplane’s Wi-Fi to stay connected.

From traditional on-site engineering or facility planning support to truly remote deployment locations, our field construction management group performs the daily requirements of the project as well as collecting data, measurements, and photographs. We use state-of-the-art construction management (CM) software, PROCORE, to communicate design requirements to the team at GTSC who, in turn, helps to create the AutoCAD or Revit design drawings – sometimes the drawings are even available by the following morning.

Some projects require additional subject matter expertise. The virtual engineering team gets involved in project team meetings and design collaboration conducted live and on-screen using the collaboration tools of Microsoft Teams.

The program manager utilizes the embedded PROCORE tools to monitor progress and performance metrics, including drawing revisions, submittals, specification development, daily reports, and financials.

For truly remote locations, we have a deployable field office and field engineering kit staged and ready for immediate deployment to the contingency. The deployable field office has the embedded capability to connect the field team via cellular or satellite-based internet links with both voice and data. Our dedicated engineers use ingenuity and technology to help people in remote places around the world improve the health and welfare of their communities.

We are currently experimenting with technology solutions that extend this mobile support concept all the way down the “last tactical mile.” This setup includes a backpackable arrangement that consists of an individual level solar panel to keep the connection live.

PMG provides innovative solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing clients in developed and developing nations worldwide. To learn more about how our team of highly qualified professionals can help you find the right technical solutions to your organization’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.planate.com.

Featured at Small Business for International Companies (SBAIC) http://sbaic.org/planate-management-group-a-seamless-transition-to-operating-in-the-covid-19-world/

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