Want to streamline management? Consider mobile apps
Mobile apps can make your business more efficient
Mobile apps are available for nearly every aspect of a construction project. They are handy, readily available, and give you power to increase processes and productivity.
Numerous tasks can be done and large amounts of data can be recorded with mobile apps—from planning and bidding to project management. They allow you to track data, keep a digital record of progress, more easily communicate between the office and the field, update digital plans without traveling to the job site, and much more.
“Mobile apps are becoming a significant solution for the construction industry as it not only increases efficiency, but also saves time,” notes the article “Importance of a Mobile App for the Construction Business & Its Productivity.” “Eighty percent of professionals use mobile devices for project management. With devices like tablets or maybe just a phone, supervisors can register all the data of their project, and upload it to their respective corporate systems. This allows team members on the field and the members at the office to be on the same page and keeps both of them updated.”
There are significant benefits to using apps for construction processes including improved efficiency and the ability to gather and transfer data faster.
“Apps can help construction companies improve their communication and reduce costly mistakes,” said Bryce Satterly, Komatsu Smart Construction solutions manager. “For instance, I have seen many times where an old set of plans was being used because no one sent the updated paper plans to the job site. With an app, you can update electronically without having to leave the office. Everything is integrated, and you can push information out to multiple people at once, so there is less chance of someone missing a key piece of information. They provide near instantaneous information, so you can track progress and make decisions that affect scheduling and profitability faster.”
Plus, you can lower costs with less paper usage, which also decreases your environmental impact.
“The average value of paper per employee is $80,” wrote Louise. “It takes an average of 20 minutes to find a paper document. Furthermore, if there is any loss of paper due to fire or flood, 70% of businesses will fail in three weeks. Paper increases liability, decreases productivity and efficiency. If you replace paper with a mobile app, you can save money, speed up the process to search any record on the fly, and all your data is safe on some cloud server.”
Choosing the right apps
According to the article “Tips and Benefits of Using Mobile Apps in the Construction Site” choosing the right app comes down to a few factors.
Determine your needs. Every construction firm has its own unique needs, so you will want to use the mobile app that benefits you the most. Start with defining your project, then figure out what you might need when it comes to collaboration, messaging, scheduling, monitoring and planning.
Test out the apps. Settling with the first app you see isn’t always the best practice. Most apps come with a free version, so take advantage of the opportunity to test out several apps, and confer with your team to get their opinion on which app they think is best. However, don’t use the free apps over the long term because their features are typically limited.
Smartphone or tablet? Smartphones are convenient, but tablets are also mobile — and many people prefer to view schedules or documents from a bigger screen. When you choose a construction management app, check that it can be installed on both devices.
Other considerations include connectivity, device storage, and Apple versus Android.
For your Komatsu machinery, the My Komatsu mobile app provides true on-the-go fleet management capabilities. You can see how equipment is being used; view machine health; order parts and have them delivered to the job site; set alerts to be notified of order status, excessive engine hours, idle time and fuel consumption; look at factory campaigns; and much more.
“Mobile apps such as My Komatsu have many of the same features as our web-based solution,” said Michael Carranza, manager, digital support solutions, Komatsu. “For example, the ability to see key metrics used to drive fleet management decisions. However, the My Komatsu app has some unique differentiators, including offline capabilities and driving directions that take you to a registered machine that you may need to visit. It has an optimized view and online parts ordering experience for mobile devices.”
Satterly recommends considering mobile apps, such as Smart Construction Field that can help manage your equipment inspections.
“In the past, it would involve filling out an inspection form and dropping that off to an equipment manager who would then assign the task to someone else, which is time consuming and inefficient,” said Satterly. “With an inspection app, you can punch in the information, including pictures, and send it out instantly to whoever needs to see it. Issues get resolved faster, and downtime is reduced.”
Do your due diligence. Research apps to discover the right one(s) for you and your business.