The construction industry is a rapidly changing environment, the processes companies use to do their work and what they utilize in doing it have to continually evolve to maintain profits. As technology becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, the construction industry will have to embrace this culture and find new ways to implement technology to its advantage. Outlined below are 3 big construction trends that with the aid of technology will help cut costs and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Companies will continue to eliminate their costly paper processes.
Paper is being used less and less as a way to communicate information. Companies are starting to realize the cost savings of mobile cloud based software to share data while minimizing errors and accelerating processes. Document management specifically is now one of the largest costs in organizations.
The Staggering Costs of Paper Documents
- 4 trillion documents are stored in U.S. files
- Paper files are doubling every 3.5 years
- The average document is copied 19 times
- Each day, nearly one billion photocopies are made
- The average worker has a 34-hour paper backlog
- Half of a worker’s time is spent handling paper or data entry
- 50% of all projects are behind schedule
Additional Document Management Costs
- Filing a document costs 25-30 cents per sheet
- 3-5% of an organization’s documents are lost or misfiled
- Cost to recreate a misfiled document is $120 – $250
- 7.4% of an executive’s time is spent looking for lost or misfiled documents
- Counting lost and misfiled documents the average costs rise to $20.00 per document
Sources: Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), Forrester, Star Securities and Computer World
Companies of all sizes have been making the switch to digital data collection to reduce their paper forms, and with the costs laid out above, it?s not hard to see why.
2. Mobile devices will increase in popularity, especially phablets
Mobile devices are becoming a staple on the jobsite, but it can be a struggle for an organization trying to choose between deploying iPads for their workers because of the large screen size and readability, or choosing smartphones that are more economical and practical for the everyday mobile worker. As phones have become more and more capable, screen sizes have had to increase to accommodate, resulting in the growing popularity of the phablet.
Having the functionality of a smartphone yet the comparable size of a tablet, phablets are the perfect combination to provide your field workers on the jobsite with the ability to enter data and easily view documents, all while always have the device on person. Most field workers cover a lot of ground on a jobsite and transporting a tablet with them everywhere can be cumbersome, and easy to misplace.
The emergence of phablets has cut drastically into the tablet market share. The growth rate of tablet sales may already be leveling off, according data from IDC. Tablet makers shipped 50.4 million devices, a drop of 35.7% compared to the holiday quarter meager increase of just 3.9% from the year-ago period. As smartphone sales slowly begin to level off, phablet sales are expected to grow to as many as 1.4 billion units by 2018. IDC projects estimate phablets will make up almost 25% of all connected devices sold by 2018. These stats give a very telling look into the future of phablets and the importance of the perfect size for handheld devices.
3. Safety will remain a big concern with an increasing focus on record keeping
Safety already is a concern for most companies and project managers, but new technology that emphasizes worker protection will earn time in the limelight this year. As it has been in the past, expect this to be a monumental theme. After all, without your labor force, you won’t be able to accomplish anything, so you need to be sure they’re protected properly each time they come on the job.
Record keeping has become a requirement for OSHA and other worker?s safety associations. Recordable injuries and illnesses must be entered on an OSHA log within six workdays of being reported by the employee. A supplemental record of recordable cases must be maintained on either an OSHA log or a substantially similar document.
A summary of all injuries and illnesses reported in a year must be posted no later than February 1 of the next year, and it must remain posted until April 30. All injury reports must be maintained for at least 5 years, plus the current year’s report. (Five years is the minimum retention time.) Other records, such as employee exposures to toxic materials or medical surveillance, must be kept for length of employment plus 30 years.
Tying into the above trends of eliminating paper and bringing mobile devices on-site, this can be an easy requirement to handle by recording all safety documentation electronically and collaborating instantly from the site to the office.This can be a great opportunity for you, as a safety or project manager, to analyze your equipment and re-vamp your safety program and workforce for a successful 2015.