Technology is not just for offices — advancements in technology are ready to help you in your construction business. Look at some of these top technology improvements that will increase your productivity and profits.
Planning and scheduling
Creating a schedule and maintaining it is one of the biggest headaches you face in the construction industry. If the weather is not interfering with your project, a sudden loss of labor and equipment will be. A white paper by Intergraph goes into great detail in how productivity is measured and how it can be improved.
Using the right software programs will greatly simplify your scheduling and allow you to make immediate adjustments when things do go wrong. Some of the available technologies allow you to factor in extremes in hot or cold weather to calculate the true productivity of your employees.
By having labor and equipment resources at your fingertips, you can also avoid a major productivity hazard that comes from change orders. Change orders happen — that is part of the construction business. The problem occurs when you have to make the changes and stay on the same deadline. By having a database available, you can increase your workforce without running into the major expenses of overtime.
Where is it?
How much time do your workers spend each day trying to round up the materials they need to get a day’s work done? Which trailer was it stored in? Do you even have it on the site? While some of your crew members are scrambling around trying to find materials, the rest of the crew is waiting for the materials to arrive. In one survey, productivity improved by 6 to 8 percent when required materials were readily available.
Material tracking software puts you in control of your inventory and even its location. Instead of a delivery that gets randomly checked off and received, you can have the delivery recorded and shortages noted. Delivery information can be sent from a smartphone or tablet to keep all parties informed. If a shortage does occur, you know right away and can request replacements.
If your suppliers use RFID, materials can be scanned and immediately stored in your database. Now simply add the storage location and your workers will not have to search through three trailers to find one box of conduit straps.
Where are you?
On large sites, you may have one backhoe operating constantly. Two hours ago it was digging trenches for the electricians to lay pipe. The plumbers want to know when their trenches will be ready. You cannot find your backhoe operator. A GPS device could solve this problem.
You can also use GPS to determine where the critical delivery is. If the truck is stuck in traffic, your crew can work on something else. You can even provide the driver with an alternate route to speed up the process. GPS tracking will also help you monitor what your driver is doing and prevent one-hour coffee breaks.
Excavation work depends on getting the right depth and keeping the depth level across the area. The traditional method of excavation meant you had one individual spending their day in the trenches holding a grading rod. Touch-screen computerized systems are now available that allow your operator to check and even set depths right from the cab.
Some of the available systems provide 3D technology with monitor displays of the plan and cross-section views. Additional features can improve safety with obstacle avoidance. These extras allow for digging underwater while maintaining visibility.
Robert Hall is the President of Track Your Truck, the leading provider of equipment and vehicle tracking solutions for the construction industry.