In a world with squeezing margins and workforce scarcity, who can afford a field that doesn’t have the tools to make quick decisions based on real-time data?
Twenty years ago, it was the norm to live in a non-real-time world. Fill out time cards and wait 2 weeks to get job cost reports back to see how we performed? Wait until we get invoices from our subs and truckers to know their cost impact? Do we have the updated plan sheets? Do we have safety talking points that are actually relevant to the work we are doing? All of these were problems kicked to the foreman leading the crew. The one person who daily makes decisions that will either keep the job on budget or not.
But today, technology is driving a more timely approach in the field: streamlining workflows, saving time for the foreman, and giving them the information they need to make the right decisions to get the job done - on budget and on time.
BPG Designs, a broadband communications design and construction company in Phoenix, uses HeavyJob, HCSS Plans, and HCSS Safety to communicate with the office and with customers, many of which are large communications companies like Cox and Comcast.
BPG installs fiber lines on a job site. The broadband communications design firm uses HeavyJob and HCSS Plans in the field to improve communication and reporting.
Erin Edick, Executive Assistant to General Manager Justin Platchek, said every aspect of a BPG job is run using HCSS in the field, like overseeing the budget, communicating progress to job owners and managing safety and skills.
Because BPG’s jobs are shorter – usually a two- to three-day turnaround time, the reporting speed of HeavyJob is crucial.
“Some of our projects are longer, but most of them turn around pretty quickly, which can sometimes pose a challenge in general for reporting and time entry,” Edick said. “That’s where the real-time visibility is important. The budget is up, you can see it as they’re posting it, and you can see the job analysis as the team is applying the quantities on that day. It’s really helpful for the foremen who are managing the job and for us in the office who are watching the budgets and financials.”
“That’s where the real-time visibility is important. The budget is up, you can see it as they’re posting it, and you can see the job analysis as the team is applying the quantities on that day."
BPG uses HCSS Plans as a job folder and communication tool between the office and the field. HCSS Plans manages all project documents, including permits, takeoff packages, drawings, and more, and foremen do their redlines and communicate about needs and changes in the field.
“We bid as close as we can, of course, but we’re always adding cost codes, or quantities go up, or things get removed or added,” Edick said. “The ability to mark the drawings up and have the core team just go adjust the budget in HeavyJob and have that in there in real time makes it a lot easier for the foremen.”
The foremen are also able to use a complete construction safety system - perform safety meetings in the field using relevant toolbox talks stored in HCSS Safety, fill out and submit safety forms, and record any incidents or near misses as they happen in the field to communicate with the safety manager on the spot.
BPG also uses actual production rates from the field to inform and improve future estimates, making an effective field-driven construction job cost system that impacts the entire organization.
“I pull the unit costs out of HeavyJob,” Edick said. “We get our rates out of there and use that to bid jobs. We’re definitely pulling historical data from HeavyJob, and I’m not sure how they were getting that before.”
Technology in the hands of the right people can drive valuable change to your business. Often, the field is overlooked despite the fact that it is precisely the location where money is made or lost.