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The Future of the Connected Jobsite
Marcum’s Chuck Schwartz highlights the benefits and challenges of connected construction jobsites
“We’ve all heard the old saying that money is made in the field, and it’s very much the truth,” Schwartz says. “Money is made and lost in the field and at the jobsite.”
In a recent Viewpoint podcast, The Future of the Connected Jobsite, Chuck Schwartz, Director of Business Development at Marcum LLC, discusses how getting accurate, real-time data to and from the field offers construction organizations a valuable future by connecting jobsites.
So, getting new technologies to better connect the field and the office in an effort to improve collaboration becomes paramount. But it isn’t about shiny new technology, it has to be about real-use adoption so that the technology can transform business operations, improving an organization’s practices and efficiencies. A big return on investment can be seen, he says, with full and proper implementation.
“The ones who are successful have done their homework and standardized the tools they are using,” Schwartz says. “They are doing it differently.”
The use of technology — now and in the future — starts from the top, with management investing the time and resources to implement fresh ideas with the full understanding of those using them. Maybe that means taking an entire day to train superintendents on how to use a connected tablet and then giving them a dedicated support person for future questions.
“I believe a big part starts with establishing the commitment to use the available technology and creating an open and transparent discussion with staff on how they are going to use it,” he says. “Once communicated and people understand, it is establishing policies, guidelines and standardization and then furnishing the tools to establish buy-in and create a win-win.”
The first step in getting to a technology-filled future, he says, is integration. And the lowest-hanging fruit can be in construction payroll. Instead of antiquated ways of sending in timecards — he’s seen site managers turn in time information via a 2x4 board — organizations can cut a massive amount of time by using connected devices that send payroll information to a central database.
From there, it becomes much easier to step up to the next big wins in terms of materials, production wins and losses, equipment used and job costs. “To capture this information quickly and easily and get it back to the office is only going to create a win for the organization,” Schwartz says. “It will help you have better projections and better visibility on what it is really costing you do to work. You know where you have gaps, issues and where you are performing well. It makes for a more profitable business.”
“All the folks being interviewed today were all born and raised with technology in their hands and expecting technology to be part of what they are doing at the jobsite and the office,” he says.
Having a culture of technology adoption makes it easier to welcome new technologies. Schwartz sites examples of site managers using Google Translator as a simple way to help everyone understand information on a jobsite, no matter their native language. Having the tools already in hand for connectivity allows for quick additions in the future.
A forward-thinking connected organization breeds future progression. Schwartz says that the new hires of the age have grown up always using technology and an organization’s adoption of technology will help attract the best, young talent.
The construction industry has already proven the fastest-growing commercial adopter of drone use, skyrocketing use over 200 percent in the last year as a way to collect real-time data to track jobs, create accurate estimation and help with preconstruction and site planning.
Robotics is the next step, he says, as contractors now use robotics to improve and replace conventional layout tools to reduce the number of people and time needed to measure distances. Using almost completely automated site layout processes not only vastly cuts time spent in the process, but also feeds information into a single database to help inform the project moving forward.
The future of the connected jobsite, Schwartz says, embraces integration. As contractors adopt new technology, it must work to assist every area of the organization, with departments working together for the good of creating crucial advantages. A well-connected jobsite provides advantages for the now and positions itself for easy change in the future.
For more information on how construction software can help your organization create connected jobsites, please contact us. We are happy to share how our software can help you and your unique needs.
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