In days of yore I’ve worked on some pretty big construction sites. I can think of one that was 96 acres, then there have been roads and railways stretching for miles. All these make communication with anyone who needs up-dating, telling off, or anything else, a pretty time-consuming and energetic process. Just remembered another weird one: a long-sea outfall where the guys were stuck a mile and a quarter away in a long tunnel under the sea-bed!
However we are now in the second decade of the 21st. Century and some things have changed, not all changed for the good, either. The old-fashioned way of communicating information between construction, engineering companies and the client-side people, was by post. It used to be that if a letter was in the post by the last collection it was delivered by 8.30 the next morning. Not nowadays: it usually takes about 3 days to arrive! That 3 days can mean a lot of work has been done that has to be undone due to changes that have taken their time to arrive by post!
Another thing that has changed relates to the paperwork which I have mentioned often before in these Blogs. The cost of the storage for it, along with the payment for the man-hours to handle it, has gone up pretty dramatically due to the annual inflation figures. Eliminate paperwork and site overhead costs go down and profit goes up.
On one occasion I was working on the fit-out of a call centre for an internet credit card company. Can’t remember why it was but a desperate situation arose regarding the Server Room. I had 3 days to get 11 trades in and out of there! I came up with the bright idea of compiling a Programme of Works on a scrappy bit of paper and sticking it up on the Server Room door. That did the trick! The lads ticked off their Tasks as they walked out and it was all done and dusted in 2½ days! That taught me a lesson: the lads love having a Programme they can see and being able to tick off their Tasks as they have completed them! Posers want to show how clever they are! On all my following contracts for fit-outs what I did was to stick up Programmes all over the place so the lads could see what they were supposed to be doing – (in my expert opinion. Lol) Used to have to do all these by hand on paper, but then I got MS Project and could just print them off on a plotter. See? An advantage of technological progress!
Another reality is that the Architects and Engineers have moved on to other jobs of theirs once we get going on our project. We move down their list of priorities! What so often used to happen is that we would put in a Request for Information and get no reply! That meant that either work stopped or it continued, but doing it all wrong!. Now, RFI’s are supposed to be responded to within 7 days, but we rarely had the time to check up on that and pester for it! The worst case scenario was that this ended up causing Delay and we, the contractor, being threatened by LAD! To try and place the blame where it belonged, with the Architects, would require a Forensic Delay Analysis; not a cheap deal! Reckon one costs about £60,000 for the expert’s wages!
Another change we’ve seen is advances in PC’s, Tablets and smart phones. I started using an old Amstrad Word Processor and was amazed on one fit-out job that a tradesman used a laptop! He actually had his drawings on it, although I never found out how he managed that! Easy today, isn’t it? The first compute I ever saw occupied a building 120m x 30m. It took about 3 days for that to add 2 and 2 together! Now my smart phone has far greater capacity than that did – even more than the computers which ran the early space programmes! (Speaking of which, I think I’m going to go all American and make those “programs”, not “programmes”!)
On to the next change we’ve seen. Time was when only ladies who were secretaries used typewriters and could use a keyboard! Nowadays everyone can – including me. I have a young lady mentee who types at 200 words a minute! Hate her – and tell her so frequently, but she just laughs at me!
So there you have it: use a mobile business app and everyone who needs, or just wants, to know, everything has it immediately to hand. Fast responses to RFI’s because they know they’ll be caught out in case of delay! The trades know what they are supposed to be doing, where and when. Saves on paperwork costs. There are loads of other benefits, too, but not going to list them all now.
Now you know Why Engineering and Construction Companies Need Mobile Business Apps!
It all comes down to TIME and TIME equals MONEY!!!!
Take also a glance at this list of productive mobile business apps.