Getting the Message:
Successfully Delivering Work Package Info to the Field
October 10, 2023
Much of what can make or break capital project success depends on accurate data being captured from site crews in the field. These granular details become part of the broader information base that project teams and stakeholders use to make the decisions and take the actions necessary to keep projects on track toward achieving established outcomes.
Of course, getting work package information to site crews keeps that cycle going so they can do their part to maintain that progress. And the way information finds its way to everyone in the field is changing.
Paper-based distribution of blueprints, drawings, markups and other supplemental information has been falling out of favor as the industry looks to move beyond such an antiquated delivery method. Instead, construction companies are increasingly choosing to go digital. This isn’t to say that printed work packages aren’t still in use. They’re just comparatively less efficient, more costly to continually produce and distribute, and far more prone to manual errors that can have their own trickle-down adverse effects.
By their nature, work packages are designed to improve efficiency. Given that information is one of the resource deliverables alongside labor, materials and equipment, the immediacy and accessibility of work package information afforded by digital methods makes sense.
A logical step to going digital is implementing documentation or project management software. Think of this software as providing a trusted location to centralize all relevant project documents, instructions, plans and work packages within it.
Replacing hard-copy paperwork with digitalized versions streamlines the time and effort involved across the access–view–input continuum. However, to take advantage of a work package’s intended efficiency, the better bet is cloud-based software that field crews can access on jobsite laptops (or companion app on mobile devices) to ensure they get the real-time specific task information and updates they need.
Mobile devices and apps
We’re all familiar with the portability and convenience of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Most of us rely on at least one of them in our personal lives, so there’s a universal familiarity with using them to access and share information.
Bringing that same functionality to the jobsite shouldn’t be any different. Using an application via a mobile device is becoming a delivery method of choice with its anywhere accessibility and ability to provide a virtual snapshot of the work package.
By providing field managers and site crews with tablets already outfitted with the necessary app software or WIFI-enabled access to cloud-based apps, they can view and interact with the various elements within a work package. So, for example, they can view the latest blueprints and other package-related documentation, complete timesheets, log completed work and equipment usage, input material quantities used, and issue approvals.
Undertaking a full digital transformation? That calls for an integrated, cloud-based platform. It offers a more robust option for contractors working with substantial capital projects.
With its flexibility and scalability, it can handle these more extensive, highly involved projects where thousands of installation work packages may be created, executed and approved at any given time. Also, consider any necessary adjustments or last-minute updates made by procurement, engineering and construction that affect information within multiple work packages. An integrated platform automatically reflects them in real time, overcoming the risk of inconsistency in data that can result from relying exclusively on siloed software.
Another bonus? This multifaceted technology acts as a hub to communicate and collaborate synchronously on task assignments and unexpected constraints or issues affecting work package completion. This back-and-forth real-time exchange of information between the office and the field ensures no lag in detail that each needs to keep the project on track.
Let’s step just outside the parameters of the work packages themselves for a moment. What about showing their progress?
That requires metrics. But rather than wading through progress and performance data, online dashboards are becoming the go-to digital method to deliver and present this metric-based information to the field and the office. These dashboards, either through cloud-based project management software or an integrated platform, show real-time updates on status and progress through graphically formatted visuals. They summarize the mass of data that site crews continually input for each work package task and present it in easy-to-understand graphics such as bar charts, line graphs, S-curves and more that convey just what needs to be understood at a glance.
Since the inherent efficiency of work packages is intended to lead to fewer delays and budget overruns, dashboards serve as a way to track how well they’re doing on those fronts and validate that the path of construction is performing as planned.
Employing any or all these digital tools ensures work package information reaches field teams where and when they need it. Want to learn more about these technologies or about work packaging? We invite you to set up a time to talk with us about them and how they can help you.
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