Construction industry – We have a problem. Over the years, you have been responsible for some amazing feats from super skinny skyscrapers to massive infrastructure updates. The problem is that these mega projects are frequently millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. While the majority of commercial construction projects are not megaprojects with capital investment in excess of $1B, they still come in over budget and behind schedule. In KPMG’s Global Construction Survey, owners indicate that only 25% of projects came within 10% of original deadline within the past three years. Similarly, only 31% of projects came within 10% of budget within the past three years.
Understandably, there are factors (such as weather or funding) that are just beyond your control. However, the productivity of your team is something that you can control. And the good news is that there are ways to improve construction productivity rates.
Mobile technology to improve construction productivity rates
Digitization has made dramatic improvements in productivity in other industries. McKinsey Global Institute states that productivity in manufacturing and retail has grown as much as 1500%, while construction productivity rates have stayed the same. The introduction of technology, including mobile technology, is one way that construction firms can improve productivity rates.
Mobile technology and cloud-based software improves collaboration and communication. When workers collaborate better, the chances for mistakes and rework are reduced. With less rework then construction team are more productive to increase the chances of meeting delivery schedules.
Many construction technology providers introduced mobile applications over 10 years ago when the smartphone hit the market. Over the years, technology has improved and functionality has deepened to make many of the administrative and time intensive functions of construction available via mobile apps. When the employees complete these functions digitally on a mobile device, the productivity of the project team increases considerably. Let’s take a look at how this can happen today.
Mobile apps for daily reports and photos
Mobile apps for daily reports improve construction productivity rates for the entire project team (including Accounting!) tremendously. From a mobile device, the foreman captures detailed information on jobsite activity including photos to document issues and progress on the jobsites. Drop down menus and talk-to-text features enable the foreman to complete their daily reports in minutes.
The daily reports and photos uploaded in the mobile app empower project managers with jobsite activity updates without having to physically go to the jobsite. The project manager’s productivity improves as well, as they can take immediate action and communicate with the general contractor, architect, or owner regarding any issues. When accounting has access to the system, their productivity improves as well. Photos of receipts are uploaded and associated with the project, so accounting can process expenses immediately.
Mobile apps for time tracking
Time tracking is at the core of measuring construction productivity rates. Naturally, mobile apps for time tracking is another important tool that increases construction productivity rates for the entire project team (including Accounting)! Employees spend countless hours completing, collecting, verifying and processing paper time cards. Mobile apps for time tracking streamline the entire process to minutes.
Employees complete time cards from their mobile device. The information is available for the foreman and project manager to review and approve. The foreman no longer needs to spend time or energy collecting and transporting (or scanning and emailing for the more advanced teams) time cards to the office. The information is digitized and pushed to the accounting system to eliminate any time spent re-entering the information. The newfound time savings frees up employees to work on more productive tasks.
Mobile apps for project files and drawings
When drawings and plans change, the foreman must receive the updates immediately. Working off outdated plans can be a very expensive and a time waster. Additionally, approvals on RFIs, Submittals, and Change Orders must be sent to the team immediately in order to move projects forward and process any billings.
Applications that allow project managers to push updated project files and drawings to the field team increases construction productivity rates. From their mobile devices, the foreman can view approved plans to direct their teams on how to proceed. Receiving updates on approved specs ensures the team poured the right concrete. Receiving updates on drawings ensures that the team is aware that the location of bathroom has changed. When project managers send updated files and plans to the field team, there is no confusion on how to proceed. With this information accessible from mobile apps, employees spend less time searching. The information is available at their fingertips.
Ready to watch your construction productivity rates rise?
With the majority of construction still occurring at the jobsite, the introduction of mobile technology improves productivity for the project team in the field and the office. Capturing jobsite activity, tracking time, and opening up access to project files and drawings digitally from mobile devices, improves collaboration between project stakeholders. Everyone has the information they need to complete their tasks and move projects forward.
Mobile apps provide small changes in your workflow to make noteable improvements in productivity. Implementing technology and change in your organization can be overwhelming. However, with change comes tremendous opportunity to improve workflows, productivity, and, ultimately, profits. When looking for a construction mobile app, look for a partner not a just vendor. A technology partner should examine your workflows and establish benchmarks for measuring productivity. Most of all, construction firms should seek a technology partner who is committed to working alongside your team to ensure adoption and long-term success.