Improving Productivity on the Job Site
It’s no secret that construction is one of the slowest growing industries in the world. According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s 2017 study, although other sectors like manufacturing have seen a growth of 3.6%, the construction industry has suffered from a 1% growth over the past two decades. However, with the growing adoption of technology on the job site, it’s inevitable that the construction sector will experience its own boom in productivity and growth. And when productivity on the job-site increases, everyone benefits. Contractors see that projects completion time and costs decrease. And contractors can bid more competitively, due to the increase in profitability.
JBKnowledge’s Contech 2018 report said that about 65% of contractors already use tablets on the job site and a staggering 93% of contractors use smartphones. These statistics show that technology is already prevalent on site, so it’s just a matter of finding a platform that works for construction teams to move the productivity needle. Once teams take advantage of workflow technology, there is no doubt that productivity will increase in the construction industry.
Smartphones and tablets allow easy access to mobile applications. These can help streamline business and give a myriad of benefits by using that technology on the job site, such as:
- Flexibility and Mobility
- Real-time Data Collection
- Organized Digital Data and Documents
- Increased Communication
Flexibility and Mobility
Having technology on a construction site can be a valuable asset, similar to much of the other equipment used. Technology is a mobile and flexible tool that caters to the needs of the workers. One more common and extremely flexible tool is mobile time cards.
Companies benefit from flexible timekeeping solutions over traditional paper. Companies now can offer time-tracking at the foreman level, a centralized kiosk mode, and individual punch in and punch out mode. So trade contractors can take time tracking to the next level and deliver real-time labor productivity.
Real-Time Data Collection
Real-time data can make or break a project. Because of their access to real-time data, project managers and superintendents can make changes when something happens on a job site, and know when something on the job site goes wrong. It can also prevent cost overruns and many change orders when all of the appropriate people are notified of a situation.
And having a mobile module, like change orders, allows for faster-documented approvals via email. That way pivotal approvals can be rectified quickly and projects on the job site can get completed faster.
Organized Digital Documents
Construction is an administrative burden; however, having a project management software with document control eases the administrative workload of contractors. Thus allowing them more time to focus on their core tasks and less time wading through piles of change orders or RFIs. Immediate access to data with essential information in real-time puts the vital information into the right hands. A great example of documents that subcontractors must have organized to be productive is purchase orders. Trade contractors need a platform with the following document control capabilities:
— Create POs and track material costs by labor activity and even detailed progress on different phases of the project.
— Compare estimated costs to actuals produced in POs for material cost and productivity tracking.
— Update dates of entry and delivery, shipping information and line items. This includes cost codes, part numbers, list amounts, discount, and quantities.
Keeping your whole team–from your crews in the field, accounting teams, owners and key stakeholders in the loop and on the same page with prompt communication is essential to completing a project successfully. By eliminating the long hours between when a problem occurs on the job site and when it remedied by the back office, projects can move at a more effective pace. Having an application such as field works mobile app allows workers to take pictures, annotate notes with each photo and send them to the back office for review.
Utilizing a solution that allows documents to be changed and submitted in real-time eliminates delays and decreases rework. Communication on the construction site is thus, no longer constrained by the distance between the field and back office.
For the construction industry to see growth like other industries, it needs to use technology on all fronts. Through technology, communication will increase between the field and the office. Real-time data will allow documents to get submitted and approved faster. And it will give the industry the type of mobility and flexibility it needs to increase productivity.