Views From the Airport Control Tower – How Speed Impacts the IN10T Team

By Josh Gwaltney, IN10T Business Analyst

If there is any part of an airport that stands out to me, it has to be the control tower. No matter where you are, or what part of airport operations you are participating in, the control tower serves as a beacon that helps keep operations running smoothly. The tower serves a very important purpose. Those who work in it are able to monitor planes taking off and landing, helping to coordinate the integral functions of the airport and respond with a bird’s eye view to rapidly changing conditions. From their vantage point they can see three primary levels of operations: Looking to the sky and seeing the planes in transit, observing the runways to see who is coming in and coming out, and viewing the rest of the airport to determine what is happening next.

In the same way, my role at IN10T has taken on support for our many operators and teams. In my position, nicknamed ‘Command Central’, I have a unique birds eye view of our trial and data programs. This position has shown the importance of speed and agility within our organization. We’ve consistently evolved our process to be more efficient, stable, and sustainable under shifting circumstances.We’ve been able to leverage our data and technology to provide our agronomists the tools to not only work faster but with precision and confidence as well. This improvement in our process has provided unmatched efficiency, which ensures our ability to scale in response to increased trial needs, additional clients, and changes in our operations.

Employing the Three Levels

From my position I start off focused on our technology. I might start the day looking through the IN10T Portal, checking on the latest data uploads from farmers and determining what work we need to complete for the day. I’ll develop a list of farmers participating in our trial programs, whether to request a file, guide them through a process, or address an issue. While I am not communicating with our farmers I am processing the data that does not require follow up. This entails cleaning and preparing it for our end of year harvest analysis. While all of this work is happening at ground level, I am also keeping track of where and when we have agronomy team members taking off, visiting, and returning from field visits. I am able to use that information to keep track of our progress and delegate resources.

There is one more level to watch beyond what is mentioned above. Every day I am also keeping an eye on the sky, preparing for the unexpected. To ensure the most efficient use of our resources I am always on call, ready to respond to changing conditions. One example of this happened over the summer, when we had our agronomy team continually deployed to farms participating in trials. One day, our agronomist Colton Mills was out in the field, ready to gather data. However because of the speed of the season, a critical map file had yet to be processed and uploaded to the IN10T app, leaving Colton with little to no indication of where our trial was located. This could have been a serious problem and impacted our ability to complete field visits that day. However, because of our focus on speed and agility, that problem became a minor inconvenience, one that could be easily addressed.While Colton was still en route I was able to retrieve the missing data we needed to determine where the trial was located, process it through our system, and upload it to the IN10T app. Colton was then able to use his GPS to walk directly to the middle of the trial without any assistance from the grower or the flag markers in the field. This process was iterative, based on improvements we’ve made throughout the years to the way we approach problems. It was within 5 minutes that Colton was able to see the locations of each trial and continue his work. 

Using Speed and Agility to Support Our Values

Thankfully the unique setup of our teams, coupled with our implementation of technology ensures that situations like what Colton encountered are easily addressed, meaning that he and the rest of the agronomy team can do their work and engage with farmers. The relationships we’ve built are central to our businesses, and I am honored to be able to ensure those relationships can take center stage. 

I’ve watched our agronomy team adapt technology and our process into making the most out of field visits. The actual onsite work is hard to make more efficient, however our team was able to use a combination of speed and expertise to work through a massive number of field visits this summer, with high levels of data collection on each site, and make it look like a breeze. 

When I was a kid I probably thought about the airport control tower as a cool location where you could see everything from one place. I didn’t really understand the purpose of having such a spot available. However, as an adult I’ve come to realize the principles behind having a version of a control tower, or command central, on every team. By being able to quickly adjust plans, processes, and resources to meet unexpected challenges, this type of position helps to increase speed & agility across an entire company. If I could, I would go back to that kid version of myself and tell him to pay attention, that tower he is looking at has some important lessons that he should learn.

Want to learn more about how IN10T structures our teams? Reach out today at info@in10t.ag | 888-848-6372

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