I’m about to make a statement you already know to be true: We are in the midst of the largest technological shift the construction industry has ever seen.
Over the past six months, the implementation of innovative construction technology has moved at lightning speed. COVID-19 was the catalyst for some of the shift to a completely paperless job site and office. And with so many firms up-leveling their tech capabilities to collect, share and analyze data, one thing has become clear: it will be impossible to succeed in the field of construction without getting on board with the tech revolution.
Live field data in particular gives construction leaders and contractors unprecedented access to information and control of their projects like never before. That’s why it’s no surprise they’re embracing new technology –– it allows contractors to sidestep budget, workforce and equipment-based issues while increasing accuracy, profitability and site safety.
But there’s more to the story. How is the shift to live field data going? What is the consensus around implementing new technology? And what impact is it having with workers on job sites? To get a full understanding, WorkMax went straight to the source, surveying 134 construction leaders this summer to learn about their direct experiences related to this topic. The result? The Live Field Data Usage Report.
What Construction Leaders Are Saying About Live Field Data
New technologies are capable of significantly overhauling the results a business can attain, but if it’s not being embraced by the employees with the boots on the ground, the potential benefits may never be enjoyed. Fortunately, the Live Field Data Usage Report shows that new technology is being embraced more than ever in construction, but there is still room for great improvement across the sector.
Read on for the key behaviors and gaps in data collection the report revealed that, if corrected, promise a high return on investment:
A Majority of Contractors Still Use Paper Tracking: There is no doubt that data is a core element of any construction business today. The more accurate and current information is, the more efficient and productive the company can be at leveraging it. Despite this, 66 percent of contractors are still using paper and spreadsheets for field data collection.
Multiple Systems Hinder Digital Tracking: The number of pieces of software and hardware needed to run the business is known as its tech stack. The modern contractor aims to simplify their tech stack, eliminating confusion and errors while minimizing the resistance received from the workforce. There is a lot of ground to make up for here as well, with 53 percent of contractors still using three or more apps and of those contractors, more than half of them are still using paper alongside those apps. Those contractors are completely overwhelmed with keeping track of their business. It is time to simplify the process of collecting data by using one inclusive mobile workforce management platform.
Labor Is Not Tracked at a Sufficient Speed: Labor costs are the single most expensive part of any given project. Small errors in productivity or labor cost tracking can quickly snowball out of control and make even the best-laid budget wildly inaccurate. Yet, 49 percent of all contractors currently wait a week or longer to see labor hours broken out by cost code. This unnecessary delay allows small errors to potentially grow into costly trends or mistakes.
Safety Reports Are Not Being Tracked or Analyzed: The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of safety procedures and tracking. More companies have moved to completely paperless job sites. Speedy safety reporting has always been the goal, but the improved safety norms have taken it to a whole new level, requiring each worker on the job site to be actively tracked with safety infractions being reported immediately to keep the job site safe. Even with these improvements in play, 66 percent of safety managers still don’t receive instant safety reports for their job sites and workers.
Equipment Tracking Is Underutilized: Efficiency is the hallmark of success on any job site and there is no better way to increase efficiency than by managing the proper placement, usage and maintenance of equipment. The report found that 52 percent of contractors don’t track their equipment at all, causing them to miss out on all equipment tracking benefits. Without accurate real-time equipment inventory, contractors run the risk of unnecessary or surprise equipment rentals and procurements that artificially drive up necessary operating costs and while decreasing productivity. For businesses without an equipment tracking solution, there’s another hidden cost to be aware of. Without accurate equipment inventory, contractors continue to pay insurance premiums for lost or stolen equipment.
My Analysis: Live Field Data Is a Solution for Each Gap
The good news is that a mobile workforce platform with live field data can close each of these gaps. Live field data’s ability to tighten processes, manage budgets, and reveal potential issues before they occur, exposes a clear difference between projects that use live field data and those that don’t. The productivity and reliability that live field data affords contractors is going to increase their competitive edge and help improve client satisfaction, which pays much larger dividends in the long run.
As live field data increasingly becomes the norm, clients will expect the use of the data to keep them abreast of the project’s status without requiring them to be physically on-site so much. For contractors to be as effective as possible, they need to move away from analog collection methods as quickly as possible toward live field data collection systems. Today’s job site requires the speed and efficiency that can only be achieved with instant feedback from the field. Live field data provides accurate man-hours and production that can be used to bid for future projects. This opens the door for contractors to bid more aggressively on similar future projects based on accurate historical data. Don’t lose bids based on technological shortcomings and compromised information.
An integrated all-in-one platform is the most effective solution any contractor can use. Connecting everyone in the organization with the same information visibility is necessary for the ongoing success in today’s climate. Using an all-in-one platform to simplify data collection that allows each employee their own appropriate system access, centralizes everyone’s efforts and unique reporting requirements into one place. With one app, user adoption, efficiency and productivity increase. When data collection is a priority, each employee needs to be enabled by and responsible for their own data submissions. Empowering all employees with accurate shared data keeps projects on time and within budget, while in turn providing increased efficiency and productivity. Which means increased project control and ultimately increased profits.
A majority of contractors are still leaving tools and processes on the table, even though they are proven to dramatically increase their productivity while decreasing their risk. It is time to take the steps to create and embrace a culture of technology and efficiency where all employees are involved in the company’s overall success. Explore the options for an inclusive, integrated, mobile workforce platform with live field data before the competition does.