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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Three Ways Automating field data collection keeps your business a step ahead of your competition

In today's tough marketplace, information is the key to success.  Accurately tracking what is taking place on every job sites at all times can seem like a daunting and almost impossible task.  By automating your field data collection process, you can keep your business a step ahead of the competition.  Using technology to collect data,  document all aspects of the job, and Monitor projects in Real-Time are just 3 ways a data collection software can help  to stay ahead of your competition resulting in success for your business.

1. Using new technology to collect data

Does this sound familiar?  Every week accounting collects mounds of paper time cards, half of which are unreadable and inaccurate.  Then, they spend days fixing mistakes and entering the data.   On the side of the office manager’s desk is a stack of forms, pictures, sticky notes and more that need to be filled with different projects.  I am sure they will get to that at some point.  It’s all important information.

The task can seem daunting without using smart devices.  Collecting time and attendance on paper and then faxing it into the office takes hundreds of man-hours for filing and data entry.   That is one of the reasons companies who automate their time and attendance system see a 2%-4% higher ROI on a project than companies who don’t.    

Using smart devices automates the collection and delivery process giving you accurate, detailed, Real-Time data your foreman can use to make important decisions. Mobile devices keep getting smarter and more convenient.  Smartphones, tablets and laptops come equipped with all the tools needed to collect accurate data and deliver it to the office.

Employees can clock in and out on the job site.  Advancements in GPS Tracking and biometrics eliminates “time theft” and “buddy punching.” Businesses are saving substantial sums of money while increasing productivity.   Documenting important aspects of a project is simple with pictures that include GPS information and are automatically attached to customer documents.   Forms can be filled out in the field and sent directly to the office doing away with lost or inaccurate paperwork.  

2. Documenting all aspects of a project

Using an automated system helps you to document and organize important information from each job site.  It can help to handle “hot issues” on current projects.

Let’s say a customer wants to move a wall.  Using an automated system, the Foreman can pull up a change order form on his phone,  fill out the form, and even have the customer sign the PO.  Pictures can be taken of the wall so there is no disagreement about where it should end up.  Tasks can be assigned to employees to begin the project.  All of the information is sent, at the push of a button, to your accounting system.  Now, let's say the same customer comes back at the end of the job and asks "why was I charged extra for a wall move?"  The same foreman can download the records to his laptop and show the customer all the paperwork.  The customer is satisfied and you get paid!

Detailed documentation can help when estimating future projects as well.  Decision makers can look at past projects to see where the money was spent, how quickly crews completed projects, and if there was anything unusual, such as bad weather, that slowed the project down.  Having a clear picture of past projects makes estimating future
projects more accurate.

3.  Monitoring Projects in Real Time

The problem with collecting data the “old-fashioned way” is without accurate spreadsheets and someone manually entering the information into your system, it is hard to see where you stand on current projects.   Making critical decisions with accurate data becomes nearly impossible.  Why? Because the data is most likely not up to date.   Using mobile data collection software that integrates with payroll or job costing systems does away with these challenges. 

With On-Demand delivery options, administrators can see immediately what is happening on specific jobs in the field.   Is a job over budget?  Have they exceeded the amount of budgeted man-hours?  Did inclement weather cause damage to a project?  Was an employee injured on the job?   With this information managers can make important decisions to resolve small issues before they become big problems.   

Now comes the tough part.  Choosing a mobile data collection software that works best for your business.

Check out AboutTime's 2nd Blog Post: Choosing the Best Mobile Data Collection Software for Your Business - Coming Soon!

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