In May, B2W Software and Dodge Data & Analytics joined forces to survey 153 construction companies involved in heavy civil construction in the US and Canada working on projects ranging from road and bridge building to sitework/land development to airports and rail. All survey participants were asked questions of which they had relevant experience, such as project cost management, field data collection and intelligence, use of mobile technology, safety management, and fleet (equipment) management.
The survey findings revealed that mobile technologies are being widely used by contractors. The devices being used are smartphones, tablets, laptops, and GPS devices. Contractors shared that mobile technologies are positively impacting many project processes, such as:
- Facilitating collaboration between team members located in the office and in the field
- Understanding what is happening across projects
- Making decisions in the field
- Collecting performance data in the field
- Controlling project costs
- Improving the data, quality, and speed at which information is input into your ERP or
- Scheduling and dispatching resources
- Managing equipment, including maintenance process, efficiency, costs, and uptime
- Improving safety and inspection processes
The survey also revealed that mobile technologies are providing a wide variety of important benefits for contractors, such as:
- Increased access to data for those who need it
- Improved coordination across team members
- Real-time performance data
- Increased field staff productivity
- Increased volume of quality data to make decisions
- Structured data that can drive data analytics
Overall finding indicate mobile technologies will have major impact on the following workflows in 2 years:
- Project controls/project management
- Field performance tracking
- Cost management and accounting
- Scheduling and resource dispatching
- Fleet/maintenance scheduling and tracking
- Pre-construction planning
- Fleet/equipment maintenance
EXPLORING THE FINDINGS
When looking at the survey findings, the biggest cost management problems centered on information currency, poor utilization, and lack of visibility in office of cost issues in the field. When the survey participates were asked what would help with management cost, the answers ranged from mobile applications and devices with good connectivity to better data analytics and drones.
BARRIERS TO ADOPTING
Survey participants openly stated the reasons why their companies have been slow to adopt technologies they know would benefit their operations. Some of the reasons are below:
- Concerns about getting workers to use new technologies
- Concerns about how well the tools will work with existing systems
- Concerns about reliability of data gathered
- Cost of tools
Information currency, poor utilization of resources, and lack of visibility in the office of cost issues from the field are the top cost management problems. Only 14 percent are satisfied with current approach.
Mobile applications and devices, equipped with good connectivity, are the most important technology-related solutions to improve cost management.
Getting workers to use new technology solutions and integrating them effectively with existing systems are top challenges to adoption. Not much concern about data reliability.
Mobile apps/devices with good connectivity will still be highly impactful 2 years from now, along with telematics, big data analysis, machine automation, and drones.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Information in this trend report was gathered via a webinar “Field-Centric Cost Management:
Managing Project Costs in Real-Time, Not Accounting-Time,” produced by Dodge Data & Analytics and B2W software, based on new research.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2018
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