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Increasing Project Productivity With Location Aware Technology

Posted by Dan Dolinar on Thu, May 21, 2015 @ 15:05 PM
Dan Dolinar
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Do you ever wonder how to get more out of your project resources?  The hustle bustle of an active worksite, ebb-and-flow of resources, the need for critical information, and unpredictably of weather conditions make it really difficult to solve the project productivity puzzle. However, with the advent of location aware technologies, solutions for construction operations productivity seem to be bit clearer.

Construction Productivity

Determining Project Productivity

One of the critical factors to construction project success is productivity, which is measured by the per unit output to resource input.  In effect, if a project is experiencing a greater rate of productivity, there is a lower cost associated with the work performed. Evaluating construction productivity is not easy because field conditions are unpredictable and complex. However, a lot of time is spent to collect information to determine a project’s work plan.  By the time the required information is collected, a new site condition may be discovered that will render the analysis obsolete. To really be effective at evaluating a project’s productivity, field data needs to be regularly captured and applied in real-time. 

Project-Critical Data + Analysis to Demystify Project Productivity

In an exciting turn of events, location aware technologies can provide help; the once manual process of collecting field data is now captured to make timely, project-critical decisions.  While there are tech tools able to capture construction operation field data, it still does not completely demystify the productivity conundrum. It requires transmitting the location and time data into a format that can effectively evaluate resource interdependencies within a given construction project. When these factors are successfully brought together, a project will experience improved productivity, shortened work schedules, and reduced project costs. 

Three Qualities of A Productive Project Site 

  • The Environment: The ideal jobsite environment is proactive as opposed to being reactive to challenges. Let’s face it – it is better to avoid the problem before it actually comes to fruition. No one likes to be on a project that is always putting out fires. It is much better to direct manpower to progressively meet project milestones.
  • Field Data Capture and Communications:  Project superintendents evaluate and enter task status into a project schedule app on a mobile device. The location and start and end dates are captured.  The app needs to reference the project’s productivity baseline. This activity will help to determine whether the project is ahead or behind schedule. In addition, mobile technologies and apps allow for real-time decision-making by harnessing the ability to capture an existing condition via photo or photo. These conditions can then be addressed by the design and management team in a more expeditious manner.
  • Field Data Capture for Comparisons and Trending: When data is entered into a project schedule app via mobile device, project stakeholders are able to compare the actual to baseline, as well as identify trends and forecast. This predictive information allows you to modify the project’s trajectory. A decision may be made to increase manpower, increase shifts, change logistics, or breakdown tasks. Whatever the case, instead of reacting to a problem, project teams are able to develop creative solutions allowing for continued productivity.

Construction operations will always be dynamic. Technology is merely changing the environment in which we build.  Location aware technologies offer up a way to transfer jobsite data to construction software that allows us to make timely, mission critical decisions that allow for greater project productivity. It is a great time to be a builder.

How do you see the construction delivery changing over time? Are you using location aware technologies on your active jobsites? Please share your insights and experiences with us in the comments section.

Topics: Construction, Best Practice, Construction Technology