Jobsite Automation Has a Great Business Case

by | Aug 8, 2023

Most contractors find adopting new technology hard. Why? Because every project can feel unique even though you’ve built dozens of similar structures before. Convincing your team to adopt new tech can seem risky.

But you can’t let your feelings get the best of your business sense. Digital jobsite automation saves you money by substituting technology for human labor. And digital adoption leads to many strategic improvements in any contractor’s business.

Automation of daily log data is far easier and less costly than BIM, VDC, VR or AR. While all these have a place in your digital strategy, why not start with the easiest and fastest pay back? Jobsite automation has so many benefits!

“Hard” Benefits #1 – Direct Cost Savings

Eliminates Paper from Field

Obvious, but worth repeating: Jobsites are no place for paper forms, whether in the open or a trailer. Paper data is only usable where the paper is present, and carrying paper around is a huge time waste.

Eliminates Data Entry in Field

Keying in data from paper forms is hugely expensive no matter where you do it. Even without paper, keying in data is error prone and expensive. Most people are lousy typists. Onboarding and capturing critical identity data needs to be one-and-done. Then, arriving and exiting a site must be as fast and easy as possible. That’s what Safe Site Check In is all about.

Faster Worker Onboarding

One and done project onboarding at one location is faster than sending workers to multiple locations for identity data capture and viewing project and safety orientation documents or videos. 

Faster Worker Check In and Out

Mobile phones and tablets allow workers to check in and out in parallel vs sequentially. Shift changes can occur faster both coming and going. The process is just as fast as boarding an airplane.

Reduces Compliance Record Archive & Retrieval Costs

Cloud storage is way cheaper than paper, and with digital cloud technology, compliance data storage is immediate, permanent, secure and private.

More Workers Means More Savings

Over the past three years, we’ve validated these hard cost savings with multiple customers and project types. Projects of any size will see savings of over $2 per worker check in, so the savings increase linearly with the number of workers. The bigger the better.

“Hard” Benefits #2: Indirect Cost Savings

Automation direct savings frees up resources and raises their productivity. What they use that productivity for leads to Indirect cost savings. These are harder to measure, but no less real.

Better Identity Data

 Don’t fool yourself: If you don’t confirm the identity of workers or visitors who arrive at a jobsite, you are only pretending to care about jobsite safety and security, risk and compliance.

Better Jobsite Safety

Our digital check-in can be configured to advise workers and visitors of each project’s safety requirements, from PPE to current jobsite conditions, such as an open trench/fall risk, or imminent heat wave. Safety managers get an important tool for making their project safety plans a reality.

Improving safety over time requires repetition of training, techniques and monitoring. A digital check in requires a worker’s attention; they cannot just walk by a poster or signage. Acknowledging safety advice before checking in can be standard practice. Attendance at tool or safety talks can be digitally recorded as well.

Digital communications makes safety documentation, such as hazmat data sheets or project safety plans, accessible to anyone with a mobile device. No more binders in the trailers that have to be customized for each project.

And worker profile data collected during onboarding – their certs, training history, etc. – is invaluable to safety managers and the site supervisors who must enforce safety standards. 

Better Jobsite Security

As with checking into a plane for air travel, check-ins can be used for access control. Workers and visitors who haven’t been onboarded can be refused approval, shunted aside and site supervisors notified. Problematic resources can be denied entry. Supervisors (and HQ) can see who is or was on site anytime, anywhere.

Better Project Management Data Quality and Timeliness

Automation of daily logs meets basic compliance requirements, but when integrated with project management software, project managers can more quickly see if a project is meeting its planned effort and schedule. Project managers can more easily monitor multiple projects. And project management platforms like Procore become a “source of truth” for all stakeholders.

Better Accounting Data Quality and Timeliness

Good identity and onsite duration data is key to any hourly compensation plan, whether hourly employee payroll, or vendor time and materials charges. Given strict labor compensation laws, this data is invaluable to prevent overcharging and resolving disputes quickly. Jobsite data also makes invoice validation for A/P easier, and for preparing t&m invoices by 

Better HR Data Quality and Timeliness

More and more states are requiring validation of the legal right to work for all jobsite workers. Union shops have specific rights and responsibilities as well that HR needs to enforce. And this is a global trend, not just in the USA. (In fact, the USA is behind in such requirements owing to its dependence on undocumented laborers.)

Better Compliance Data & Risk Management

Attendance identity with check-in/out timestamps is the most basic, fine-grained data for compliance and risk management. Eventually, AI and other algorithms will “mine” this data to avoid surprises and expensive claims.

Reduced Claims 

Attendance identity with check-in/out timestamp data will immediately reduce the number of bogus hourly compensation claims. In fact, such data will immediately reduce the number of any type of claim based on unvalidated observations, because you’ll now know everyone who was present, and individuals will be less able to make stuff up.

Reduced Cost of Claims

The cost of claim handling is often more than the settlement fee. Digital data records expedites the entire process and drives down legal costs.

“Soft” Benefits: Strategic Intangibles

Productivity of Superintendents & Field Managers

The attention of everyone on jobsites should be on the building, not a computer screen. By reducing the number of phone or laptop looks, you raise the productivity of your most expensive resources – experienced field managers. And for smaller jobs, digital allows a supervisor to monitor more than one site at a time without traveling to and from.

Owners Want a Single Source of Project “Truth”

Owners want a single source of project “truth” in digital data form. Data maturity model scores are still quite low across the industry. Most observers believe owners will drive contractors to digitize and will leave behind the contractors who won’t.

Productivity of Subcontractors and Trade Workers

The historic shortage of experienced trades and managers means firms just adopt multi-dimensional labor acquisition strategies. The productivity of subcontractors is just as important as employees because hiring everyone yourself just doesn’t make sense. GCs can drive down subcontractor costs via digital as well.

Better Jobsite Communications and Collaboration

It’s common sense that better digital data and communications will encourage a GC culture to embrace digital. Field/HQ alignment will improve, data will standardize decision making and estimates, AI and advanced analytics will eventually make big impacts, and construction management platforms will continue to be a source of competitive advantage.

Jobsite Automation Pays Back On Every Project

The pandemic and mobile phone have made QR codes a commonplace in everyday life. You now order food and board an airplane using QR codes. There’s no complex training required for adopting this technology. No good excuse for not using Safe Site Check In on your next project.

And our jobsite automation does not require an expensive enterprise license. Every project except the smallest can realize more profit and a positive ROI by by adopting Safe Site Check In. Check out our calculator for yourself. Our Calculator for a quick ROI calculation based on your labor costs  can be found here: