Mobile technology is a concept that some may fear, but when used correctly it has the potential to bring your business to the next level. You can use a hammer to frame a house, but a nail gun will make it easier and faster. Likewise, learning to digitize workflows that are currently paper based can save you time and improve your daily routines.
Imagine being automatically notified when a piece of equipment is due for inspection or maintenance. How about having the ability to collaborate, finalize, and sign contracts on the go, submitting accident information with pictures or videos in real-time, and keeping track of time sheets and scheduling jobs from anywhere. When done right, using mobile technology can improve nearly every aspect of your job. Here are some specific ways you can incorporate mobile technology into your daily routine:
1. Improve the Bid Process
By capturing key information such as labor hours, payroll rates, and the cost of materials in one system, you can quickly and accurately bid projects with confidence.
2. Cut Office and Administrative Costs
Creating, editing, and organizing forms can be cumbersome and costly when you use paper. Digitizing your paperwork can save both time and money. Form filing can be automated by using data already in your system and standardized forms can be pre-filled for easy and accurate reuse.
3. Improve Accountability
Real-time logging of hours by specific job allows for both instant review as well as long-term analysis using data from many employees and sites. Injury reports can be completed on the job site, including pictures or videos, and sent in real-time to supervisors, general contractors, and the necessary reporting bureaus.
4. Improve Communication
Communication is the key to getting jobs done right and on time. Being able to communicate anywhere, anytime removes many of the barriers that stand in the way of getting things done. Plan specifications, addendums, notes, and previous conversations can all be saved and accessed by authorized parties so everyone is on the same page and has the same information.
Brian Cooney, who recently retired as executive vice president of finance and administration at Barriere Construction, spoke about the benefits of implementing mobile technology at this year’s 2016 CFMA’s Annual Convention. Barriere Construction is a heavy/highway contractor in Louisiana that utilizes mobile technology throughout different aspects of their business, ensuring they capture multiple data points to allow for complete analysis. Their system has improved safety, increased production, and helped boost the morale of their employees. By reducing duplicate work, their bids are more accurate and profitability continues to improve. It gives them a competitive advantage at a time when margins can be tough. They are turning data into business intelligence.
Of course, the key to successful implementation of any technology is up-front analysis. It’s important to consider both initial and ongoing costs. You may need to make a large initial investment in hardware, such as additional servers and equipping field staff with smart devices. Ongoing costs may include in-office Internet access, data plans for mobile devices, and subscription-based software, such as the platform that helps centralize and combine the data to provide useful information on an easy-to-use dashboard. Lastly, be sure to factor in time for initial and continual training of everyone involved in the processes to ensure your investment is used to its fullest extent.