It's no surprise that the construction industry can resist change. Successful construction crews know what works for them and what doesn’t. They’ve come to count on the approaches that get the job done. As the saying goes, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”
This mindset is especially obvious with technology. Consider, for instance, the findings of a 2014 survey of more than 2,000 builders by JBKnowledge and Texas A&M:
- Technology budgets are lower in construction than any other industry.
- Only 4.1 percent of construction professionals use cloud-based platforms during project phases like bidding and estimating.
While the construction industry lags behind other industries in using technology, emerging tools on the market give builders plenty of reason to catch up. These tools include mobile apps and cloud-based systems — and they’re helping companies complete projects in better, faster, and less costly ways.
Do you find yourself or your crew grimacing at the thought of technology? Here are some tips to help you and your construction company change that mentality — and embrace new ways of working that really help your bottom line.
Convince your team of the benefits
You and your crew are probably focused on what matters most: constructing solid, functional structures in a safe, timely, and cost-efficient manner. But, technology can actually make these parts of your job easier. How?
Smartphones and tablets running mobile apps can trim the time it takes you and your team to stay on top of your responsibilities and conduct routine tasks. Today’s apps can help everything from project management and coordination to logging hours on work sites, tracking equipment, managing supply deliveries, and adhering to safety regulations.
This safety and inspection report app, for example, helps builders track and stay in compliance with the evolving regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — and ultimately ensure a safer workplace. Given today’s tightened OSHA regulations, apps like these are a smart investment that can save your company from racking up penalty fees and costly workers’ compensation claims.
How else can apps help? Consider these other kinds of mobile apps that can lighten the workload of you fand your crew and bring better results:
- Daily job report apps are a huge improvement over trying to access and organize paper-based worksite data documentation. They can be used for things like tracking time spent on a task or at the worksite and managing material deliveries.
- Apps can help you develop accurate job estimates, a process that can become painstaking when even one aspect is overlooked. A reliable estimate sheet app, for instance, takes every prospective cost into account so nothing is left out.
- Wrangling change orders, an inevitability in just about every project, is much faster and easier when managed with apps.
- Working up a professional caliber proposal can ensure you will stand out when compared to that of your competitors. It’s easier to make with the right mobile app.
Mobile apps like these can benefit every member of your team — your construction crews in the field, the administrators in your office, your sales professionals focused on winning new business, and others. The advantages extend to every phase of your operation, from the first pitch and project estimate to your compliance with regulations and change order control.
Traditional processes like paper forms and filing systems really can’t compare. With mobile apps, your team can communicate and share information in seconds. As an owner or operator, you can better track projects, identify problems as they happen, and intervene when something isn’t quite right. All of this cuts costs and boosts productivity.
Even the simple reduction in paperwork can have a profound effect, adding efficiency, eliminating expenses, and improving peace of mind. Businesses spend $80 a year on paper per worker, according to an article from TechRadar. “The sheer volume of paper not only costs your business money, but it also grinds productivity to a halt,” the article reports. “It takes 18 minutes on average to find a paper document, and a whopping 70 percent of businesses would fail in three weeks if they had a catastrophic loss of paper due to a fire or flood.”
Sure, old habits die hard, especially in an industry where experts have spent a long time perfecting their methods. But even the most skeptical jobsite vets are recognizing that mobile technology offers big benefits.
Plus, it's becoming easier and more affordable to implement. To learn how to get started, read our recent blog post, “Move Your Business Information to Mobile.”