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Going Mobile: 4 Ways Apps Benefit Your Construction Business

Last year, global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company released data showing that construction productivity has been relatively flat for decades while manufacturing productivity has nearly doubled. The findings shook up many in the construction industry, including Brendan Bechtel, president and future CEO of the eponymous construction giant, who exclaimed he is “haunted at night” by the data. He said the imperative is clear: The industry must accelerate the pace of innovation in order to remain competitive.

While there are many ways the industry can rise to the occasion, most experts and analysts agree that leveraging technology is critical. With the U.S. construction sector expected to keep growing this year, business is good, but the consensus is that technology can make it even better.

Construction firms have long recognized the value of software solutions that streamline accounting, supplier prequalification, safety reporting and overall project management. But when it comes to implementing mobile technology, construction lags behind other industries. Why? Many companies say they simply don’t have the budget or staff resources to research and implement such solutions. 

According to Red Hat’s 2016 mobile measurement survey, 83 percent of respondents in the construction industry using key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure mobile application success achieved a positive return on investment (ROI). Mobile apps are a great fit for a collaborative industry like construction, allowing users to store, view, track and share data showing labor hours, vehicle and equipment use and daily jobsite production. Managers can use this valuable data to identify and solve inefficiencies.

The key is to build mobile technology into the overall strategic plan instead of taking a reactionary approach. That means considering all the ways technology can generate revenue rather than increasing expenses.

Here are four of the many ways mobile apps can make a positive impact on your business:

1. Access information on-the-go and in real-time – Mobile apps put essential electronic files, such as blueprints, plans and contracts, right at your fingertips. Whether in the field or in the office, mobile apps can provide real-time updates and reduce errors to keep you and your entire team informed and productive.

2. Minimize disruption – Being able to share information in real-time across the entire team – supervisors, foremen, trades, vendors and sub-contractors – helps keep projects on schedule by immediately revealing any problems that might delay construction progress and lead to significant delays.  

3. Automate administrative tasks – Mobile apps can increase back-office efficiency by streamlining time-consuming tasks like job costing, crew allocation, scheduling, invoicing, daily progress reporting and timesheet processing. Overall organization and productivity will improve when your staff spends less time on data entry or tracking down lost paperwork. 

4. Mitigate disputes – A myriad of issues can arise from traditional project documentation – indecipherable notes and inconsistent records, to name a few. Mobile apps can help ensure better accuracy and accountability through time stamps, electronic signatures, GPS tracking and photographic or video recordings.

Whether you’re working out of a construction trailer or mobile office onsite or from your company’s main office, mobile apps can streamline processes so your business stays aligned with its overall KPIs. To learn more about mobile app and other technology trends in the construction industry, read the JBKnowledge 2015 Construction Tech Report.

How can mobile apps help you streamline your business? Leave your comments below...

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