Improving field productivity is a buzz phrase in construction software and construction project management. When someone says they want to improve field productivity or increase field productivity it isn’t always clear what they mean. They could mean reducing the number of delays in a project, to reporting on field productivity. To understand how to improve field productivity, you have to understand what is causing the lack of field productivity.
Understanding Field Productivity
The biggest block to field productivity in construction is communication. The lack of communication between the field and the back office can cripple the productivity between the two. Communication breakdowns can cause rework and distrust between the departments. When the back office doesn’t relay information to the field they aren’t able to make adjustments to ensure the project runs smoothly. These cause unnecessary delays that create bigger issues within the project and for the company.
Field productivity and profit protection go hand in hand. When the field can document their day accurately in the field then the office can follow up on issues and requests and make sure everything is in order.
Importance of Reporting from the Field
There is a trend of risk shifting in construction. The owner shifts risk onto the general contractor and the general contractor shifts risk ono their subcontractors. While this ensures that the owner and general contractor will have more of a profit, it can leave the subcontractor making pennies on their dollar. Profit protection is a must in construction, and there are ways for companies to get visibility into the field and protect their profits.
Daily Reporting Applications
Daily reporting applications can be a great way to ensure that there is visibility into the field and that there is profit protection. While much of it comes down to the application the company uses, the right daily reports application can make or break your field productivity.
What Your Daily Reporting Application Needs
Great daily report applications will improve field productivity, while bad ones can cause serious issues in the business. Check to make sure that your daily reporting app has these features.
- Field Note Attachments
- Email Integration
Comments are a necessary feature in any daily report and field productivity application. Foreman can document what happens in the field over the course of the day or at the end of the day while their memory is fresh. Documenting in the moment is extraordinarily important because it human memory isn’t always able to recall with great accuracy events that happened the week before or month before. And research currently underway suggests that the act of remembering can change the memory, so it is imperative to record during the day in the field.
The crew feature ensures the daily report looks at the people who were on the site, hours worked, cost codes, and even Hours Lost. If a report can’t general Lost Hours than the subcontractor is losing money on their software. Lost hours can track unproductive hours due to reasons out of the subcontractor’s control. Tracking lost hours can help subcontractors prove any delay isn’t their fault and better ensure payment.
Subcontractors is necessary because it can track the other subcontractors on the site. These are other people that might be able to corroborate your daily reports and could have caused issues for you on the site.
Equipment and Materials
Equipment and materials is necessary because this documents the materials and equipment used on a site. It can even be used to make requests for purchasing more of a material or ensuring that the equipment stays on site for a longer period of time.
Field Note Attachments
Supervisors should be filling out field notes throughout the day when anything happens. Whether it is a cost code change, change in work location, or an issue in the field, it should be documented at the time it happens. It’s also important for field notes to have annotated photos when necessary. If there was a bad site condition, like fire or trade interruption, it helps to have annotated photographic evidence with the field notes.
For more tips and tricks for field productivity, check out our webinar Field Productivity on the Job Site.