The construction industry is learning the importance of real-time data in the field. Real-time data in construction gives project managers consistent, accurate data, and reduces the guesswork typically involved. That same guesswork leads to poor decision-making entirely based on outdated information, further setting back construction projects. When project managers don’t have the most accurate information they can make mistakes that dramatically reduce a project’s profit. Hence real-time data is a crucial step for all companies to make. Adding real-time data to the management mix ensures the management team makes efficient and productive decisions that will benefit every project.
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What is Real-Time Data?
Real-time data is data that is up-to-date and viewable the moment it’s available. There are many common uses for real-time data. Material and fleet tracking are two of the most common types. Real-time data on fleet movements lets managers see exactly where the vehicles are, which is convenient for expensive equipment or vehicles. Since it can be used to determine if something is in transit from one site to the next, or stolen. It’s also helpful for materials tracking since project managers can use it to determine when the materials will make it to the site.
A new area where real-time data is making an impact is with drawing tools and building information modeling. Managers can immediately access and mark on plans and drawings. So subcontractors can easily communicate with structural engineers and key holders. This communication creates a more integrated project and an integrated labor delivery.
Real-time data impacts more than just material tracking now. Real-time data can be used to determine when someone clocked in and took their breaks if they need breaks, and how productive the site was. The number of uses for real-time data especially in construction is endless.
Why Real-Time Data is Essential in the Field
Some might say that real-time data isn’t that important. But it can positively impact so many areas of construction. Real-time data has the ability to create more productive and profitable projects. Here are some areas where real-time data is essential in the field.
The immediacy of real-time information reduces turnover and bottlenecks in production that comes from slow information flow or decision-making. A construction team will have more productive workdays when they cut out unproductive time. And they’ll be able to discover productivity patterns which can help other projects down the road be more productive.
Firms that use pen and paper must hire someone to specifically record and type up those answers. By switching to a real-time information technology solution, the firm will not only save on employee wages, but also on lowering travel needs and reducing the need for rework. Real-time information will also allow the project manager to more accurately track ROI by enabling the project manager to follow project costs and flow of resources. This transparency of information causes fewer miscommunications and oversights. Real-time information also means improved communication. This communication will create a better understanding of each project as a whole, which will lead to better decisions made by all stakeholders.
Inaccurate data can lead to bottlenecks in production and lurking mistakes that hurt the bottom line. Construction firms can avoid this inevitable human error by implementing a technology that allows information to be automatically created, or inputted and shared in real-time. Construction technology prevents inevitable human errors from manually entered information that is passed throughout the system.
Not only does construction technology provide everyone with real-time information, but it saves firms time by keeping the worker on the job site to record data. It also saves the subcontractor from having to redo tasks that were based on inaccurate historical data (or old plans). Subcontractors can access the newest models and drawings in order to ensure their work is accurate. Which in turn prevents rework and other expenses.
Improves decision-making and crisis management
When something goes wrong on the construction site, workers want immediate information from supervisors and managers. This immediate flow of communication and information is not possible without a mobile technology in place.
Once the communication reaches the construction manager, real-time data will allow him or her to make an informed decision. Plus it offers helpful insights to the team members based on the most accurate and up-to-date data. Therefore, these decisions are more precise and result in less rework and fewer mistakes.
Immediate resolution of problems
Real-time information is of particular importance for the monitoring of construction projects. Control mechanisms occur at every step of the process and require having the most updated information to be useful. By having real-time information at your fingertips, the project manager will be able to notice mistakes and fix them before they cause catastrophic issues.
The construction firm must function like a well-oiled machine. This means that everybody must be on the same page at any given time, and be ready to react to unanticipated events. Real-time information makes this possible by making it accessible to all team members at any given time while also expediting the flow of communication.