On an American tunnel project with over 60 suppliers and subcontractors, McKinsey & Company reported that by digitizing its content sharing, “the team saved up to 20 hours of staff time (per week).” McKinsey’s report also cited a $5.1 billion rail project that saved over $110 million by coordinating between the field and office through digital means.
As technology improves and regulatory requirements increase, projects are becoming more complex than ever. Review and approval processes can bog down a project in a sea of red tape and paperwork. Tighter budgets, faster timelines, and larger teams beg for greater collaboration and communication across all facets of business operations, but often communication becomes sluggish due to outdated methods.
Decreasing Time by Going Digital
In the past, a notepad, paper forms and pencil often sufficed in the field. Time cards were collected by the foreman. Written weekly from daily field notes, compiling reports was a cumbersome task. Design changes were only updated when new blueprints were delivered, often resulting in rework of changes that had already been planned weeks past. Plan documents took up every available flat surface on the job site.
The costs that these manual processes created could be significant. For instance, working off old plans produced errors and delayed projects. Disconnects between the field and office caused bottlenecks, doubling or tripling the time it took to get approvals. However, the most immediate hidden cost was, and remains the amount of time these processes take away from actual work being put in place in the field (not to mention getting billing submitted to get paid faster, because nobody likes financing a project except for the banks).
Of course, getting workers to adopt new methods has its own challenges. In our post, “3 Tips to Increase Efficiency in Field Operations by Going Digital ,” we address the main issues facing construction companies as they transition their field operations from paper to digital. A critical component to success is making sure that tech is easily adoptable by as many players as possible.
Managing Changes in One Place Makes New Technology More Appealing
Giving workers too many different apps or forcing them to use apps with a confusing user interface will cause them to fall back on paper-based methods. There is little time to adopt new or confusing technology in the field with the many demands that must be met. Technology is more accessible if contractors can manage project changes in one place, that is intuitive, affordable and shareable across teams.
PeerAssist’s portal, mypeerassist.com, was envisioned by construction owners and executives who understand these challenges. Designed for construction owners, executives, office staff and field employee’s, it is straightforward to use and simple to adopt (and cost effective for contractors of all sizes).
Going digital on the construction site centralizes workflow and enables workers to capture data that paper never could in a fraction of the time. Photos and annotations can be inputted as they happen. Digital blueprints can be tagged, keeping the team constantly up-to-date on design changes, change orders, potential change orders (PCO’s), updates to specs, RFIs, RFPs, and more.
PeerAssist applications have been created to eliminate the extraneous costs of manual methods by fostering collaboration and communication in real time, with the understanding that reducing the bottom line drives transformation and innovation.
Immediate and Long-term Benefits of Digital Workflows
The most immediate savings will come from reduced staff time for compiling and sharing data. With better communication between the owners, architects, engineers, GC’s, subcontractors, suppliers and others, there’s an additional benefit: more accurate and efficient project workflows. Companies whose teams are adept at technology can expect a combination of benefits over time, including greater accuracy, improved production planning, as well as increased opportunities to capture extra revenue.