The construction industry is notorious for not fully utilizing new technology, even if that technology means safer job sites and fewer accidents. If there is one industry that could benefit significantly from new technology, it is construction. As time has gone by, more companies are adopting ideas that can save them time and money.
The idea that mobile apps could be powerful construction tools has still been a hard sell. But in recent years, app developers have created a series of new apps that have made new technology impossible for the industry to avoid. Not only can these mobile apps make job sites safer, but they can also increase profitability for even the smallest construction firm.
Six Reasons To Use Mobile Apps On Construction Sites
1. Giving Power To The Workers
One way that mobile apps improve working conditions is to give some power to workers when it comes to job site conditions and working processes. There are mobile apps that allow workers to report any kind of issue that affects production, and apps that allow workers to report hazardous conditions.
It is the workers who are doing the actual work on every job site, yet getting worker input on reducing costs and improving safety has been extremely difficult. With the apps that are available, workers can use information such as pictures and videos to outline areas that can be improved and point out potential job site accident spots. It all happens in real-time, which allows construction companies to act immediately on any new information.
2. Reduction In Paperwork
One of the most frustrating parts of running a construction company is the incredible amount of paperwork required to meet legal standards, along with the paperwork needed to simply run a company. There are apps available that can reduce both types of paperwork and allow construction companies to focus more resources on their business processes.
For example, there is an app being developed that will help companies to meet all safety standards without having to file hard copy versions of all of the necessary paperwork. Safety supervisors would be able to do field audits, meet OSHA paperwork requirements, and submit completed accident reports without having to print out and sign everything in triplicate. Of course, the speed of accepting these kinds of apps depends on how quickly state and federal government agencies are willing to accept electronic forms. The government at any level rivals the construction industry in its reluctance to take on new technology, especially when it comes to compliance forms.
3. Real-Time Safety Information
Mobile apps, when used in conjunction with other equipment, can be excellent tools for giving immediate safety information that keeps workers safe. There are apps that allow workers to share any job site issues immediately to prevent anyone from getting hurt, and then there are apps that workers can use to access security cameras to see hazardous areas and avoid them.
Workers can also access the job site safety checklist at any time to see if anything about the site will affect their own safety. It is also possible for workers to check weather conditions throughout the site to see if there will be any rain or snow in the forecast that could create slip and fall situations. Mobile apps bring together a wide variety of information that workers could never really access before and now makes that information readily available.
4. Truck Maintenance And Supply Deliveries
Construction companies and job site supervisors can use mobile apps to access important vehicle and delivery information. For example, new online construction equipment rental marketplaces are springing up that give site supervisors immediate access to available equipment and their rental rates. Site supervisors can use apps to arrange deliveries more efficiently, and even give drivers specific instructions on where and how to complete a delivery.
Maintenance managers can track the wear and tear on every vehicle and determine how routine maintenance can reduce operating costs. Delivery companies and construction companies that own their own delivery trucks can use routing apps to find the best routes to job sites and reduce the amount of fuel used, and the amount of wear and tear that goes onto tires and other parts of the vehicles. Companies can even use employment apps to post immediate job openings for drivers who have any special type of commercial class license that would be needed.
5. Tracking Productivity And Expenses
One of the most significant ways that construction companies are saving money with mobile apps is by using apps to streamline personnel and expense reporting operations. Many companies are using apps that automatically clock in workers when they arrive at the job site. Such apps are designed to cut down on any kind of fraud that may cost the company money. Companies can also track workers to see if they leave work before their scheduled quitting time and if they are off-site too long for breaks.
When it comes to field expenses, newly developed accounting apps are helping construction companies to keep track of everything easily. There are accounting apps that force field workers to generate field purchase orders that must be approved by the office before they can be used. In most instances, this type of app is used to prevent workers from buying supplies from vendors that are not the lowest price. A worker can use the app to find the best price in the area, and get a purchase order immediately approved.
Other field expenses such as mileage and tolls are also easier for companies to track. A mobile app can easily track how many miles a field worker actually drove, and how much in tolls that worker paid. In many instances, workers no longer need to submit expense reports as it is all done automatically through the mobile apps.
6. Project Management
Remote project management using specialized apps is one of the most significant changes in new technology to hit the construction industry in a very long time. Site supervisors can now communicate with project managers remotely and send vital information that allows project managers to make more informed decisions immediately. Instead of having to wait for a project manager to get on the site, the decision can be made using apps designed specifically for that purpose.
Project managers can also send all of the details regarding any changes to a project immediately to field personnel. This cuts down on a lot of money lost to waiting for project managers to get on the site to relay the information, or for site supervisors to go to the office. Project managers can also review and react to any important documents or subcontractor issues that may have been delivered or occurred on the job site. Time is money in the construction industry, and mobile apps cut way down on the amount of time lost in the communication between a project manager and the job site.
When new technology saves the construction industry money and saves lives, it usually attracts the attention of project managers and company owners. Mobile technology is already deeply entrenched in industries such as retail and banking, but it has taken time to become a part of the construction industry. With the development of new technology such as more durable phones and mobile apps designed specifically for the construction industry, it is now more common than ever to see workers, site supervisors, and project managers utilizing apps to make the workplace safer and streamline the entire construction process.