The “mobile era” is in full swing, and construction companies are slowly but surely making the switch. Over 80% of construction professionals surveyed said that mobile technology is of high priority, and 4 out of 5 stated that they are currently using some form of mobile technology. And a new study by Dodge Data & Analytics shows that software, specifically mobile software, can improve many facets of business. Specifically contractors see improvement in equipment and fleet management, cost control, and accurate and timely field data collection. These facets are incredibly important to integrated labor delivery.
Integrated Labor Delivery
Integrated Labor Delivery is a form of project delivery that incorporates General Contractors, Construction Managers, Architects, Engineers, and the Owner with those that will actually construct the project, the trade contractors. Involving the trades during the design and preconstruction phase ensures that buildings are more likely to be constructible. However, for the trades to showcase the work they’re doing and prove that the method is more effective, they have to have the oversight into the field. Without field data collection and oversight it’s difficult for trade contractors to have a clear documented understanding of what goes on in the field. This information is crucial for the current project as well as all future projects.
With so many construction professionals making the switch, what exactly is mobile technology doing to shift the industry?
Getting it right the first time
Mobile technology allows for immediate communication between all stakeholders. This means that everyone will be on the same page when it comes to how a project is going to be completed. Most construction projects require constant communication between multiple parties and any lapse can be detrimental to a project’s productivity. Should any confusion occur, mobile technology allows the parties to resolve it immediately using mobile email, or submitting documents in real-time. Better communication leads to fewer reworks, which can be costly and detrimental to productivity. 65% of construction professionals surveyed said that rework is their number one cost.
Access to Real-time information
Mobile applications allow the field workers to submit all documents to a shared platform where members of the back office can view them immediately and know what is going on in the field. This allows project managers to be more informed at all times and allows them to provide direct input or correct possible problems. On top of this, mobile capabilities allow the field workers to be able to request information, maintenance, etc. from the field which saves time and money.
With mobile technology, workers in the field can submit daily reports, RFIs, emails, and any other form of communication in real-time and receive a response promptly. This means that there is no reason for the worker to leave the field to find information. If the worker doesn’t leave the field, they have more time to spend doing their job which means staying on schedule.
And with many mobile applications offering field data collection and time tracking, it’s less time that supervisors and forepersons have to spend trying to collect time cards.
Never again will you have to shuffle through your file drawers frantically searching for a document you desperately need. With mobile technology, all documents are not only easy to create, but also kept in one place where they are easily searchable in a matter of seconds. This will save you the hassle of having to re-do documents or face problems due to incomplete documentation.
More accountability in the field
Without mobile solutions, the back office has no idea what the field workers are doing, which encourages a culture of a lack of accountability. Mobile technology has GPS capabilities that allow the project manager to track time spent on-site, as well as keep better timecards that will save on labor costs.
By adding a mobile time tracking solution to all mobile project management, it’s easier for companies to be able to know their true labor hours and costs.
More accurate documentation
Creating reports in the field not only saves a drive back to the office but also ensures greater accuracy. For example, if workers are creating daily reports as they encounter things, they will create more detailed reports than if they waited to fill out a report once they left the site. Daily reports and any other documentation in the field will be automatically GPS tracked and time stamped which will save you from future disputes and possibly legal trouble.
Mobile applications can be easily integrated with many systems. Including those that your company already uses for payroll, accounting, supply chain management, etc.
The shift to mobile is happening NOW. Mobile technology has provided clear benefits that paper or desktop solutions cannot offer. And as more technology is introduced to the field, it is hard for trade contractors to justify avoiding or postponing mobile field data collection.