Today, accessing contracts, invoices, orders and more while in the field is as easy as a few finger taps on a smartphone screen. The key to creating an intelligent jobsite is selecting the tools and technologies that will save time and energy. Which apps and softwares are helpful varies individually from one company to the next, as well as between types of companies. For example, a subcontractor will have different needs than a company that leases equipment, and a jobsite manager will have different needs than a surveyor. Here is a breakdown of some of the key elements of an intelligent jobsite.
Implement Cloud-Based Software
Cloud-based software is a broad category. The common thread is that data is stored in the cloud, and therefore can be accessed from anywhere. While the cloud is useful to anyone and any industry (backing up photos, storing paperwork, syncing music across devices), it is especially useful to small construction companies. For contractors, suppliers, equipment lessors and anyone else who goes back and forth from the office to the jobsite, the ability to store documents and data in the cloud is huge. There’s no need to worry about misplacing an important paper because everything is securely archived.
Implementing cloud-based software means different things to different companies. It could be a simple as creating a DropBox or Google Drive account to manually documents, or it could be subscribing to a software as a service (SaaS) provider that empowers companies to streamline and automate processes such as sending mechanics lien notices or managing invoices, all while storing information in the cloud.
Make the Most of Mobile Devices
These days, almost everyone has a smartphone. This means almost everyone has the Internet at their fingertips whenever they want it, wherever they want it. It also means that it’s possible to access millions of apps from a smartphone, tablet or laptop from the jobsite, and hundreds of these apps are directly geared toward construction companies. Apps exist to manage construction scheduling, track finances and even make the jobsite safer.
The ability to access these apps from a smartphone on the jobsite rather than exclusively from a computer in the office empowers construction professionals to manage time more efficiently, especially those that own or work for small companies. Most apps also seamlessly sync using cloud data, so when doing work from the office, everything is up to date.
Tools of the Future
Having great apps is just one piece of the puzzle. Another key element of an intelligent jobsite is having devices to access apps and information stored in the cloud. Fortunately, there are quite a few handheld and mobile devices specifically designed to withstand the typical wear and tear that occurs on a construction site.
The Cat smartphone was designed with construction jobsites in mind. Features like thermal imaging and a waterproof body make it a great choice for anyone who spends a lot of time in the field. Panasonic’s “fully rugged” Toughpad is another handheld mobile device engineered for use outdoors and in environments with extreme temperatures, vibrations, altitude and more.
Automate Grunt Work
For a really intelligent jobsite, use software to automate some of the dull day-to-day tasks that suck up time and mental energy. Consider how a lien rights management software can eliminate the necessity to research complicated lien laws and automate the sending of notices; or how payment management apps can automate billing. In addition to saving time and energy, automating these tasks reduces human error and increases accuracy and efficiency.