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Industry in Focus: Mobility in the Construction Industry

Note: This is part of a new monthly series that will highlight the importance of mobility in different industries.

The global construction industry is growing steadily according to Accenture. Fueling this growth are urbanization, globalization, and the development of megacities. The “Global Construction 2020” report by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics predicts construction to grow into a $6.7 trillion business by 2020. With so much potential, members of the industry are searching for strategies and new technologies to better position themselves in the market.

More recently, information and communication technology (ICT) has become a focus for the industry. A reason for this is ICT offers a comprehensive solution to many issues plaguing the construction industry.  This includes low productivity, insufficient risk management, and lack of communication. One solution that effectively implements ICT is mobility.

Why Construction Firms Embraced Mobility

According to a report from JBKnowledge, 72% of construction workers use smartphones and 50% use tablets for their work. Over 79% of firms reported mobility has proven to be “important” or “very important”. Fueling this shift is the benefits that mobility equips the industry, including the following:

Real Time Communication

Communication is much easier with mobility. Therefore, everyone will be up-to-date with what’s happening on and off site – in real time. This allows decisions to be made promptly and ensures quicker execution. Communication through app notifications is also less intrusive and quicker than email. This makes this mode of communication safer around a busy worksite.

Effective Project Management

When integrated in the life cycle of a construction project, mobility solutions add ample value by assisting project managers, architects, and engineers. These professionals spend most of their time on different construction sites each day. With work-related mobile apps, they can reduce their traveling time. Processing information on projects and managing employees are also more effective. Jobsites are connected with offices with mobility, ensuring better scheduling and prompt responses.

Better Workflow Automation

Mobile solutions for construction firms can automate workflows. This improves the overall running of the business. The adoption of mobile apps, which can be created for a range of purposes, can also result in these additional project and company benefits: 

  • Sending and Receiving Permits – On-site teams can communicate with managers easily from their mobile devices. As a result, getting started on tasks takes minutes rather than days.
  • Managing Resources and Stock – Mobility solutions are very useful in managing resources. Apps allow organizations to keep a record of staff, check stock availability, and much more on the fly. This, in turn, allows construction firms to remain within their set budgets.
  • Inducting New Workers – To remain ethical and compliant, construction firms provide workers with instructions and information that allow them to complete their work without risking their health or safety. A dedicated mobile app can help in this regard.
  • Reporting Issues – The results of an inspection can easily be sent to and from construction sites with mobile solutions. As a result, on-site employees can identify problems quickly and have them resolved before they escalate.

Fewer Losses Due to Mishandling on Jobsites

One of the common ways construction firms incur losses is mishandling or theft of materials on work sites. The latter is more likely where sites rely on paper records or are located remotely, beyond city limits. Having a mobile solution on hand allows managers to effectively control inventory, deterring theft in the first place. This can complement the site’s security measures, preventing losses due to mishandling.

Increased Productivity

By effectively combining communication, project management, and workflow automation, mobility solutions have the power to boost productivity. Moreover, workers are free from data entry and similar mundane tasks. Therefore, time and effort are saved and redirected to focus on other tasks or activities.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Environmental deterioration is one of the concerns of the construction industry. While many firms take steps such as using sustainably sourced building materials, they still waste a lot of paper. Mobile solutions can take care of this. Instead of using paper for forms and documents, firms can embrace apps with capabilities like eForms and scanning via camera. This will provide a better level of sustainability and prove a company’s commitment to the environment.

Is Your Construction Firm Ready for the Future?

Mobile has become a critical factor in the success of today’s construction industry leaders. Take, for instance, Georgiou. The national construction, engineering, and property development company boasts 35 years of experience, 800 employees, and 40 sites across Australia. After embracing mobility, it was able to improve organizational processes, keep track of progress on-site, and send and receive reports in real time. The added transparency allowed personnel to capture data, assess trends, and make important changes to their strategy.

If you too are ready to follow Georgiou’s lead, use these steps to make your firm mobile-ready.

#1) Set a Course, Analyze Risks, and Plan a Roadmap

Planning is crucial to help establish goals, pinpoint stakeholder and end-user needs, and assess mobility and security demands. During this stage, evaluate your IT department’s capabilities to get a clear idea of the effect of mobility on corporate information assets. If it’s up to the mark, entrust its personnel with the task of creating mobile standards that support organization policies and best practices.

#2) Assess Your Infrastructure’s Mobile-Readiness

An IBM study states 91% of mobile users keep their mobile devices within reachable distances. This way, they can quickly access applications and services. However, this demand can put pressure on an organization’s infrastructure when it comes to availability, performance, and responsiveness. Moreover, some services may not be suitable for mobile, forcing you to reassess their use at your firm.

#3) Analyze the Security Measures Currently Used

Security is a major concern for any enterprise stepping into the world of mobility regardless of its industry. Controlling the security for mobile is a challenge due to the portability of the mobile environment and the ever-growing list of threats and unsecured apps. Therefore, before launching your app, have a detailed mobile security policy in hand. To create one, you’ll need to have clearly defined mobile use cases covering each aspect you intend to mobilize. You can also get help from the vendor you intend to hire for creating your app or whose platform you’ll be using.

#4) Start Designing the App and its Concept

There are many factors to take into consideration while designing an app for your construction firm.

  • Mobile devices have smaller screens and less powerful computing resources in comparison with desktop computers.
  • The activities you intend to mobilize should be tactical in nature and have a sense of immediacy in order to be selected.
  • The data presented in the app needs to be contextualized and condensed in order to convey as much information as possible without burdening network and hardware resources.
  • The app’s features and information shouldn’t be redundant. Instead, they should be progressively displayed.

#5) Select an Application Development Process

Mobile solutions should be able to evolve rapidly and adapt quickly to changes in order to deliver the benefits mentioned above. Therefore, you need to ensure the app is written, used, and replaced quickly as per your firm’s needs. That’s why opting for enterprise mobile app development platforms has become the best choice for many in this industry.

Once you have the app in hand, make sure to have user guides and training sessions to get everyone on the same page. Doing so will also ensure everyone’s loyalty to the app and guarantees they use it.

Final Words

Mobility is transforming the construction industry. Don’t lag behind while your competitors thrive with mobile apps. Boost your firm and team’s efficiency with the right app and you’ll successfully convert downtime into productive time.

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