Many industries have benefited from mobile solutions to help streamline projects, increase efficiency and improve collaboration among teams, from the field to the office. But construction companies have been notoriously slow to adopt new approaches, in part because of the cost of sophisticated technologies, their significant learning curves and a traditional “let-someone-else-prove-it-first” attitude.
The pandemic is changing that. Now construction firms must turn to mobile technologies to help them protect employees’ health and to complete projects safely, timely and profitably in an environment that imposes unprecedented constraints on day-to-day operations.
Construction operators are beginning to appreciate the benefits of mobile technologies as they struggle to keep up to date with conflicting health and safety advisories, qualified worker shortages, growing competition, higher risks and shrinking margins.
Currently, many firms have office staff working remotely while they implement new safety measures for teams who need to be at the jobsite. We see less face-to-face interaction among teams, as many projects allow only one trade at a time on site to practice social distancing to the highest extent possible.
Using today’s mobile technology for, say, tool and equipment requisitions, a foreman can send a message to the warehouse, which pulls the item, scans it and loads it for delivery to the jobsite—all without physically interacting with another person and thereby reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission and reducing concerns about possible contamination of physical documents that move back and forth throughout a project. Modern mobile technology removes that risk while it improves efficiency.
Mobile technologies can help teams remain in sync, even while working remotely and practicing social distancing on the jobsite. Here are a few ways mobile technology can promote a safer work environment:
- Mobile systems promote a safer work environment when management and team members can communicate without face-to-face contact or moving between the office and worksite.
- Real-time inventory management equipment monitoring ensures field teams can keep track of tools and equipment as items move around a jobsite without physically walking around the site to find a missing piece—reducing potential exposure to the virus and saving time in the bargain.
- With teams largely working in silos, mobile technology allows for instantaneous, hands-off, remote information-sharing while reducing inefficiencies and minimizing the chance for exposure.
- Real-time labor management using cloud computing enables the back office to quickly redeploy people to sites experiencing downtime caused by COVID-19 absences.
- Face-to-face, onsite meetings can be temporarily replaced with FaceTime or Zoom, and field supervisors can text progress photos to managers in lieu of physical inspections.
Adopting mobile technologies to help streamline operations can help business owners succeed in this challenging environment while keeping the health and well-being of their workforce at the forefront.