By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Smartphones and tablets have transformed our lives in the past few years, but they’re also transforming the construction industry. According to a report from Sage Construction and Real Estate, a growing number of construction companies now use mobile technology in the field. Here’s what they’re using it for:
- 76 percent: Daily field reports
- 68 percent: Customer and job information
- 67 percent: Drawings, photos, and documents
- 61 percent: Job costing and project reports
- 47 percent: Scheduling
If you’re not fully exploiting the power of mobile technology, your construction business could get left behind. Here are eight ways smartphones and tablets can make your construction business more profitable in 2017 and beyond.
1. Simpler scheduling.
Idle workers on a job site mean time wasted — and time is money. When you use employee scheduling software with a mobile app, it’s easy to make quick changes to your crews. Add GPS tracking capabilities and you can see where workers are at any given time. This makes it simple to create shifts at multiple job sites, as needed. Then alert them via text, push notification, or email to their smartphones.
2. Less paperwork for supervisors.
Collecting and deciphering written time cards from the whole crew is a pain for your supervisors. Apps that offer time tracking for crews enable supervisors to clock in the whole crew or one person at a time. They can also adjust crew schedules on the fly or move crews from one site to another.
3. Better collaboration through real-time information.
Delays, reworks, and missing information all lead to cost overruns — something neither you nor your clients want. With mobile tools, your field team can share real-time information with staff back at the office, so you can make smart decisions. Store permits, photos, plan changes, and other critical information in the cloud, and everyone will always have the most up-to-date information.
4. Keep clients happy.
Use tablets to show clients renderings, blueprints, or photos on the job site, which speeds up approval processes and saves time. There’s no need for clients to travel to the office or set up time-consuming meetings when they can see visuals on-screen, right in the field.
5. Track and maintain equipment.
Mobile apps that track the location and status of equipment mean you always have the right tools in the right place at the right time. If something breaks down or additional equipment is needed, supervisors at the job site can alert you immediately, eliminating project delays and keeping equipment in good condition.
6. Streamline back office operations.
Entering data into smartphones and tablets, instead of filling out paper forms or creating spreadsheets to track projects, saves your back office staff tons of time. They don’t have to input data, file papers, or dig around in file cabinets for records. Since no one has to re-input data from paper, you also lessen the risks of human error that arise from typos or deciphering poor handwriting.
7. Make your team more productive.
When you use mobile devices and time tracking apps to monitor your workers’ whereabouts and what they’re doing, you get a bird’s eye view of how everyone is spending their time. You can see more clearly where time is wasted, how long projects take, and how many workers are needed. Armed with this information, you can spot problem areas and efficiently staff future projects, saving your construction business money.
8. Keep employees accountable.
Clocking construction workers in via mobile devices keeps employees honest. There’s no more risk of people clocking each other in or fudging their hours. For best results, choose a time tracking app that works with multiple mobile platforms, so employees can use their own devices.
Using mobile devices in the field has many advantages for your construction business, but above all, it saves you time. The less time you spend on communicating, tracking workers, creating schedules, and documenting data, the more time you’ll have to take on new projects and boost your bottom line.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.