Supporting Your Field Team with Purpose-Built Construction
July 05, 2023
Every jobsite task has a tool or piece of equipment specifically designed for it. Equipping field teams with the hand tools, power tools and heavy machinery they need ensures they can do the work correctly, accurately, efficiently and safely.
There’s one more thing they need to do their jobs more effectively: data. With data being a critical resource on par with labor, materials and equipment, having tech tools in place alongside those physical ones is a must.
Construction companies have been adopting such technology in the form of computer-based business software programs that perform a particular function. But as data has steadily become more sophisticated — with contractors, construction managers and owners alike relying on and requiring it for real-time decision-making and forecasting purposes — those programs can no longer support these demands. They simply weren’t designed to handle the processing, volume or types of data being generated by modern capital projects.
So what do you do when a tool no longer does what you need it to? You get one that does.
With so much data constantly being generated and used on the jobsite, field teams must be able to access, input and receive the project- and task-specific data they need. Only purpose-built software technology — construction tech tools — can do this.
These tools support your field teams in more effectively doing their jobs with that data, and they do it in several ways.
Open up access to data — when and where field teams need it
Consider the kinds of information field teams need each day: job tasks and schedules, the latest versions of blueprints, change orders, material handling information, reports, etc. What matters to them is easy access to timely information and the speed at which to access it.
Contractors are finding that cloud-based construction tech tools fundamentally change how field teams access this information. Using internet-connected mobile devices, whether a smartphone or jobsite tablet, bypasses the delays that inevitably happen when digging through and verifying data and documentation stored in job trailers, filing cabinets, and disconnected computer programs and hard drives. Having just one virtual location for all project information introduces certainty that the document someone on the jobsite needs is the most current one.
The information that field teams enter processes and updates automatically throughout the system, whether using connected construction tech tools or an integrated platform. Transparency into and interaction with real-time project data from one centralized virtual location empowers your field team to become part of a continuous give-and-take of information that benefits all parties throughout the execution phase.
Enable collaboration among field teams
Transparency into project data and documentation is also necessary for collaboration. Collaborating using the same real-time data that everyone else can access means all those on-site decisions and challenges to address — involving risks, course corrections, staffing and schedule adjustments, etc. — are better informed with less bias finding its way into them.
Construction tech tools not only connect project data to field teams but connect field teams to each other. These tools become conduits for enhanced teamwork, enabling faster exchange of information and feedback no matter where they are on the jobsite. Just as importantly, empowering field teams with data-backed decision-making and problem-solving allows them to exert some control over project costs and schedules.
Empower real-time data sharing to reduce risk
Last Monday’s data won’t help you solve Friday’s developing problem out in the field. For any construction project to meet its required outcomes, the right people must have the right information at the right time. And your field teams need to be keenly aware of details about risks impacting costs, schedules, quality, scope, and safety. Again, transparency into evolving project information is key.
Construction technology tools that deliver real-time data in the form of earned value management (EVM) metrics can give them, and you, a heads up. These are performance metrics that measure how cost- and schedule-efficient your project is. Proactively monitoring them through online dashboards provides an objective way to show how a project is meeting outcome targets. Pro tip: Set up alerts to be distributed to the right field and project teams when EVM metrics veer outside their acceptable operating ranges; this can provide everyone the opportunity to collaborate on experimenting with risk-adjusted forecasts to create the most appropriate contingency plans.
Traditional computer programs are unable to do this. They’ll leave field teams high and dry, with no way to determine how to best respond with the least impact on cost, schedule and safety. Connected single-vendor tech tools or an integrated platform can deliver this level of just-in-time insight.
Maintain workflow where construction is actually being done
One of the most important things to keep in mind when assessing construction tech tools for your field teams? Make sure they can use those tools where they do the work. Those tools must be mobile-friendly so your teams, anywhere on the jobsite, can capture the data that will be used throughout the execution phase.
Besides automating the manual tasks and data entry that consumes so much stop-and-go time and effort, these tools keep the continuum of jobsite tasks moving more smoothly. Together, the centralized information access, progress tracking and collaboration help create a more streamlined work process. Connected tech tools plus connected field teams plus connected data equal improved project outcomes for your client and profitability for you.
How will you support your field teams?
Embracing construction tech tools to support your field teams ultimately can do something more: better support achieving project outcomes — a feat that’s been elusive for far too many capital projects. The idea is that improved efficiency in the field will naturally lead to improved cost and schedule performance efficiency.
Construction tech tools go a long way toward this. Still, they can go further when part of a single-vendor integrated platform that can deliver greater certainty and confidence in achieving those outcomes.
What construction software solutions can best serve your field teams’ jobsite needs and productivity goals? How can an integrated platform further amplify them? As you consider your options, feel free to set up a brief chat with us to see how we can help you.