Construction Mobile Apps: How Your Competitors are Cutting Cost and Saving Time

By katie simpson on March 18, 2014

Love it or hate, competition is part of the construction industry. Victor Kiam, former owner of the New England Patriots, sums it up perfectly: “the competition will bite you if you keep running, if you stand still, they will swallow you.” 

There's a change happening to the construction industry. This change gives construction companies better information in real time. They're saving hundreds of man hours and getting more done in the same amount of time. Your competitors are dumping paper forms for mobile apps. Here's why:

It's not luck that's letting your competitors get ahead. Photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc 

Faster Information   

Businesses with mobile apps get information faster than those that rely on paper. Inspections and checklists are quicker due to auto-populated fields, checkboxes, or barcode scanning to make filling the form faster. One company found their inspections went from 30 minutes to just 15 by using tablets instead of paper forms. With less time spent on inspections, workers can focus more of their time on actual construction.

Mobile apps also allow construction companies to get information in real time. With paper forms, it can be days or even a week for forms to return from the field. This creates delays in purchasing supplies, paying subcontractors, and getting paid. 

With mobile apps, every submission is available in the cloud immediately. Whether the worksite is in Kalamazoo or in Manhattan, the central office can see the information as soon as it is finished. Real time access to information strengths communication between work site and the central office. One Australian contractor has found they no longer need to send people out to each job site for time consuming and costly audits. They receive timely and accurate information in their mobile apps. 

Less Work

Mobile apps also reduce the workload for construction companies. With paper forms it's necessary to enter the information twice: once on paper, and once more into your database. Do your site managers have to spend an hour or two a week entering this information into your system? Perhaps you have a part time or full time person devoted to entering the information. No matter what, this is a waste of both time and money.

Construction companies with mobile apps no longer do data entry. Every submission can be downloaded in multiple formats, such as an excel file or csv. Construction companies with mobile apps can easily upload this information into Salesforce, Quickbooks, or other software. Data entry just isn't needed with mobile apps. The information is ready and easy to use, whenever they want it. 

Studies show you can be more productive, if you stick to a 40 hour work week. Photo credit: Ant Jackson via photopin cc 

Also, going mobile removes the need to search high and low for information. With paper documents, it takes, on average, 18 minutes to find a document. Often, it can take longer, 11% of documents are either misfiled or lost, making them impossible to find. Having to search for documents puts an unnecessary drain on businesses.

Construction companies that switch to mobile apps don't have this hassle. All submissions are safe in the cloud, where they can easily be searched. Companies can name their files based on entries, such as date, location, or work site name. This makes it even easier to search documents and find the necessary submission. 

More Space

Beyond these earlier costs, the space paper forms take up add additional burden on construction companies. One four drawer file cabinet can cost you to $1,500 a year. With just three file cabinets, the cost adds up to $4,500 in just one year. 

Keeping important information on paper can also leave a construction firm at risk. More than 70% of companies would fail in three weeks if there was a loss of paper based records. If your business were a victim of a fire or a flood, would your data be at risk?  

Switching to mobile apps frees construction companies from having to store documents as well as protects them from fire or flood. All that information is in the cloud. Whether the company has a 1,000 submissions or 1 million, there's no difference in cost for digital storage. Construction company owners can sleep soundly at night knowing their information is safe. 

Companies are saving thousands of dollars by switching to mobile apps. They're finding it easier to communicate with their workers in the field, and have to do less work to maintain and use their information. Mobile makes it safer so that these companies can focus on creating great work. 

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