Digital Jobsite Management is Coming
Digital means using data and software to make better decisions faster, more efficiently, for greater profit. Other industries have shown the way, but it’s happening in construction slowly for many reasons, mostly cultural, in our opinion. The industry’s leadership is dominated by an older generation of physical building and engineering professionals with limited software or data experience. They are comfortable investing in physical assets and tools, but not software except for core financial systems. This leaves huge data gaps, especially about jobsites, with managers dependent on paper forms and memory. On the jobsite, “managing thru data” is mostly a slogan, not a daily practice.
But it’s inevitable. A generational shortage of skilled workers, inflation and increasing competition mean greater efficiency is absolutely necessary. Now, 71% of companies saying that digital transformation is a priority. A new generation of leaders who have grown up with technology are much less hesitant to digitize, and the cost of mobile cloud computing applications and ubiquitous mobile computing has reduced the entry costs dramatically.
Digital tools are springing up on construction jobsites, but mostly as point-solutions running on mobile phones. And these solutions chosen by individual project supervisors, not as part of a company-wide strategy. Only 15% of construction firms have implemented a digital transformation strategy, according to a recent survey conducted by NAWIC and Safe Site Check In. Such a strategy would begin by modeling the data flows through the organization, and then prioritize a series of projects that evaluate construction technology solutions and implement iteratively until the new digital tools become standard operating procedure.
According to Jon Broyles, corporate safety officer at AMG & Associates, “Once our digital tools [daily log automation] were in place, it made our work environments safer, allowing individuals to sign in, answer safety questions and verify manpower. We use these technologies to always know who is on site, their location, project they’re working on, and supervisor. We can easily reach them and have private, digital records that are useful for other departments including safety (meeting OSHA standards), payroll, project management, and even the CEO.”
Use Jobsite Management Data to Make More Money Now
What might speed up transformation? Whether it’s the new generation or old, greater profit and customer satisfaction is always a strong motivator. Our analysis shows that digital attendance alone can save over $2.50 per jobsite entry based on paper elimination, automation of data capture, cloud storage recordkeeping, real-time site awareness, increased collaboration, safer jobsites and risk mitigation.
What does this mean for jobsite overhead expenses, which directly affect profits? For a 5 person jobsite, it’s $12.50/day, $250/month. For a 10 person jobsite, it’s $25/day, $500/month. Our company implemented Safe Site Check In in less than a week on a 300 person jobsite saving them $750 day of field engineer salaries, or $15,000 a month! These are big bumps to the project P & L for any firm.
To get even more value from jobsite data, contractors are integrating the daily log into their project management platforms like Procore, Viewpoint and Oracle Netsuite/Primavera. The cost of eliminating data entry and screen time make those platforms even more effective and profit enhancing, streamlining processes and promoting collaboration.
Zach Hoffman, director of field operations at Prevost Construction integrates jobsite check-in data with Procore. “We rely on Safe Site Check In data and Procore to manage every aspect of a construction project. The integration was easy, saving us hours of time every day rekeying field data into the project management platform. We can improve jobsite productivity without compromising safety or quality.”
Another accelerator are project owners who want to eliminate the mountains of paper that projects require. With record retention requirements over ten years, they increasingly insist on “digital everything”, and who can blame them? Owners such as educational institutions many require comprehensive jobsite access control and attendance recordkeeping for workers and visitors. And daily logs have always been a requirement for jobsite safety, and lower insurance premiums, even though that requirement is usually not met, since inspection and enforcement is so infrequent.
The Entire Firm Needs Jobsite Management Data
Daily check in apps, our specialty, are the perhaps easiest path to digital transformation on the jobsite, and have an immediate payback. Jobsite data has uses throughout the firm in all departments as shown in the table below:
|Daily Log Data is Used Company Wide|
|Daily Log Report||E||E||E||R||R||E||R||R||R||R|
|Onboarding Video Links||E||E||E||E||R||R|
E: Essential data for their job R: Reference, reporting or sometime needed for workflows
How to Get to Digital Faster
The shift to digital transformation is iterative – it’s not a one and done project – but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Most construction companies should start small, using an app on a smartphone or tablet to automate, streamline and better document what’s happening on a jobsite. The familiarity of mobile apps in our everyday lives makes it easier for workers to adopt new tech, even on the jobsite.
As construction budgets, the labor market and competition gets tougher, construction business owners are looking into digital technologies to identify potential cost savings and productivity boosts. One of the fastest paths to realizing solid ROI through this strategy is by automating paper processes on jobsites and integrating that data with their existing investments in project management platforms.
We all know that field personnel, whether employees or subcontractors, will resist, push back or pretend to adopt. Nobody wants to change, after all, unless there’s something in it for them. Our next set of articles will discuss proven strategies for getting field operations onboard with 21st century technology.