How Live Field Data Can Inform Construction Project Managers

The U.S. construction industry’s outlook is positive for the remainder of 2022. Yet, while an influx in government spending is expected to drive construction activity, companies still face a number of the same obstacles they overcame in 2021.

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The U.S. construction industry’s outlook is positive for the remainder of 2022. Yet, while an influx in government spending is expected to drive construction activity, companies still face a number of the same obstacles they overcame in 2021. These include mounting jobsite safety risks, rising material prices, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. The time is now for firms and their teams to work smarter.

This starts with deriving more value from your digital tools, primarily where productivity measuring is concerned. If your company is skipping productivity tracking, you are missing out on insights into your operational efficiency and the opportunity to capture a clear picture of your workforce’s impact. High- and granular-level performance views are achievable with a mobile workforce platform—platforms that enable project managers to track labor hours, manage their team and improve a company’s economic outlook. Moreover, they can actually use such mobile technologies to boost productivity. Here’s how: 

Shine a Light on Employee Activity and Productivity

Project managers often rely on outdated and unscalable processes that are time consuming and produce inaccurate data, meaning their teams and projects are destined to be inefficient. With the right technology investment, firms can right their course by placing the data and tools company leaders need to ensure their teams and projects run smoothly. This is where the simple task of tracking employee time and tasks in real time comes into play. With this live field data, managers can eliminate project inefficiencies. 

“Data is king,” said Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, executive vice president of products and CSO at the cloud ERP provider Acumatica. “We all are exposed to a lot of data, but what do we do with that data? How do you separate the signal from the noise?”

It’s about gaining insights and taking action, he says. 

Mobile workforce platforms allow employees and supervisors to enter hours and production in real time. By tracking production units alongside employee hours, project managers gain the ability to see employee output on an individual level and specifically track where crews are ahead or behind on a project. This ability to capture and analyze project data as it’s happening ensures accuracy, increases accountability and allows project managers to confidently take action to keep projects running on time and under budget. Streamlining the field-data collection process to eliminate time-consuming tasks means project managers have more time to focus on the issues and situations that will benefit the most from their involvement.

Sync Project, Worker Insights Across Departments

With construction workforces scattered across jobsites and centralized or remote offices, any disconnect between the field and back office can lead to communication failures, delays in  reporting, inaccuracies and ultimately a loss of company productivity. Mobile workforce platforms unite dispersed teams, giving employees across departments the ability to engage and access live-field data anywhere and at any time. 

Available on the tablets and smartphones most workers already carry, mobile workforce platforms automate the data-collection process for field workers and project managers. Their ability to instantly input labor hours, tasks, job completion rates, equipment usage and track project progress leads to fewer mistakes and eliminates data reporting delays. This data, collected in real time, can automatically be synced with a company’s other software and across departments, giving every team member, be they in accounting, project management or human resources, access to timely, accurate and actionable data. 

Using a mobile workforce platform integrated with facial recognition and GPS tracking technology, entire teams become more efficient and more productive. When field workers clock in, advanced-yet-simple platforms can capture their image and location to deter buddy punching and ensure employees are logging hours to the right project. With workers accurately entering their time and allocating it to the right cost code or project in real time, project managers have a live overview of a project’s daily workings. The ability to easily collect, analyze and share data across departments keeps field workers, project managers, leaders and administrators connected and doing their job with the same data and information. Absent this trustworthy data and timely reporting, decentralized construction workforces are unable to collaborate and take advantage of different perspectives, which can lead to a loss in productivity across the organization. 

Empower Team Collaboration and Productivity 

Engagement plays a critical role in determining employee performance and productivity. If workers are driven toward their work, empowered by a common goal and engaged in the process, they are more likely to remain productive. With the help of a mobile workforce platform, construction companies can create a culture of continuous productivity improvement by tracking and analyzing its data to optimize operations.

Mobile technology can give project managers across various job sites a live view into what’s happening across a company’s entire project portfolio. This transparency can lead to collaboration that sees workers and equipment shifted quickly from one job site to another to help each project meet its goals. 

Live field data can inform project managers of the progress made by an individual worker or crew and of the tasks they worked on and for what length of time. Project managers can then determine if their productivity pace puts them ahead or behind on planned quantities per labor hour. This insight into project progress and worker productivity can inform decisions and also be used to inspire crews to level up their performance. Progress and best practices can be easily shared from site to site to drive productivity. 

Mobile workforce platforms give project managers all the actionable data they need to make informed decisions about individual workers, crews and projects. With increased visibility into the workings of their teams and the ability to easily collaborate across projects and departments, project managers can drive productivity and more efficiently guide their workforce, projects and company to continued success.

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