Live Field Data Challenges

Live Field Data Challenges Header

Live Field Data Challenges
Why Your Data Collection Methods are Your Biggest Obstacle

Live Field Data Challenges -Data Collection MethodWhen we surveyed 134 contractors this year to publish our Live Field Data Usage Report, the majority of contractors are using 3-5 apps to collect field data. It was disappointing that 25% of those folks were using 3-5 apps to collect field data AND paper and spreadsheets.

We wanted to know more about the six types of field data with the biggest impact on project performance. First, let’s look at the types of field data that covered in the survey:

  • Employee Time Tracking
  • Safety Reports
  • Job Cost Allocation
  • Tool and Equipment Tracking
  • Daily Log Reports
  • Production

In the Live Field Data Report, only 34% of contractors collect live field data for safety. Only 21% collect live field data for equipment and tool tracking. It’s surprising that just 19% collect live field data of labor hours by cost code. Here are the top 3 live field data challenges:

1. Too Many Ways for Employees to Collect Field Data

Everyone hates doing the administrative parts of our job. It’s not the thing we get out of bed and get excited about, right? Based on the results in the Live Field Data Usage Report, 40% of companies are asking their employees to use three to five apps. Of those using 3-5 apps, 25% of them use paper forms and spreadsheets to track their field data. Field Operations Teams need all six field data types listed above to mitigate cost, schedule, and safety risks. When employees use up to 7 different ways to track field data, you’re asking a lot from them.

This is why collecting live field data is such a challenge. Employees have to learn the nuances of each app and how to use them. Each user interface is different and menu items aren’t the same. This drastically reduces the likelihood that they’ll be proficient on each app. Field employees also have to remember all of their logins and passwords to each app. Twenty-five percent of companies also require employees to complete paper or spreadsheet forms. You’re asking employees to spend a substantial amount of time on administrative tasks that they hate. This is a pretty big live field data challenge.

2. Manual Processes Make Live Field Data Almost Impossible

Any time manual intervention by humans is required to manage data, it’s yet another live field data challenge. It moves you further away from realizing the benefits of live field data. In the Live Field Data Usage Report, 14% of companies are exclusively using paper and spreadsheets to collect field data. Of the 134 contractors surveyed, 52% of the contractors used a combo of paper, spreadsheets, and apps. Paper and spreadsheets require human intervention and manual processes.

For example, the field employees have to leave their work area to get a safety form to fill out. Typically, forms are in the job trailer. After a safety form is filled out, the supervisor delivers the form to the corporate office. The forms have missing data and illegible handwriting which require another manual process. The safety manager makes calls and sends emails or texts to gather the missing information. The next manual step is entering the paper or spreadsheet data into an application or spreadsheet to be able to analyze trends.

Additionally, once the data is in a spreadsheet or in an application, the safety information has to manually be emailed to the right people in the organization to be informed of what they need to know. All of these manual steps delay the data sharing and analysis of critical business data. Live field data is an enormous challenge if not impossible when you’re using manual processes.

3. Lack of Confidence in the Data

When contractors use multiple apps that may or may not integrate, it’s probably the biggest live field data challenge. When the project teams meet to discuss the project status, they rely on work-in-progress reports, daily log reports, safety reports, and projected and forecasted cost reports. The data for these reports require them to compile data from up to 7 different data sources. Additionally, there’s always a time gap when apps aren’t integrated and you’re also using paper and spreadsheets.

For example, data has to be extracted from the time tracking system to get accurate man-hours to compare them to the plan. They also have to get the quantities completed from daily log reports. These individual reports are compiled to tally the total quantities to date for accurate progress reporting. All of these reports are likely done in a spreadsheet and we all know spreadsheets are error-prone. Almost 90% of spreadsheets contain errors.

It’s very common in project status meetings that different project stakeholders show up to the meeting and have completely different numbers on their reports. It could be due to discrepancies for the date ranges or missing reports. Rarely is everyone on the same page and they don’t know how accurate the numbers on the reports are. Often, project status meetings are spent reconciling reports rather than solving any budget or schedule issues. And all the while, the project team is spending time making decisions on old data that could be a day, week, or even a month old rather than using live field data.

Now that You Know the Challenges, How Can You Overcome Them?

From the Live Field Data Usage Report, only a small only a minority of companies are utilizing live field data to optimize their projects. Even if they are collecting live field data, it’s typically only one of the six types of field data and not all six types. Your field data is much less accurate if you’re not using live field data and you’re making your field workers and operations team much less efficient. Those two factors can have a big impact on productivity, profitability, and the project schedule.

If you’re looking for the one thing you can do for your business to increase productivity and lower costs as a result, you need an integrated platform like WorkMax. WorkMax overcomes the live field data challenges described in this blog and has one app to collect all six types of live field data to make it easy for your employees, digitizes all of your field operations, and gives you confidence in your project field data. To learn more about how these live field data challenges are no longer an issue when you use WorkMax, schedule a demo today or download the full Live Field Data Usage Report.


New OSHA Requirement for COVID-19

osha COVID 19

osha COVID 19

OSHA’s New COVID-19 Requirements

By: Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing 

Previously, the OSHA documentation for work-related COVID-19 illnesses was only required for the health care industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions. OSHA’s new COVID-19 guidance went into effect on May 26th. Now, all employers regardless of industry are responsible for recording work-related COVID-19 illnesses on an OSHA 300 Form. In addition to the new OSHA recording requirement, OSHA is also increasing its in-person inspections to help ensure the safety of American workers during the pandemic.

Which COVID-19 Illnesses Do I have to Document?

Under its new recordkeeping requirements for OSHA, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers must record cases of COVID-19 for the following reasons:

  • is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness
  • is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5 and meets one or more of OSHA’s general recording criteria:
    • death, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness or a diagnosis considered significant by a physician or other health care professional.

How to determine if it’s work-related

Because COVID-19 is so easily transmittable before an employee shows symptoms, OSHA is simply asking employers to make a reasonable effort to determine if the exposure might be work-related. Reasonable efforts include:

  • Asking the employee limited questions about how he or she believes COVID-19 was contracted.
  • Inquiring about the employee’s work and nonwork activities, and possible exposure, leading up to the COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Investigating the employee’s work environment to determine whether COVID-19 exposure could have happened there.
    • Some examples include if the employee worked in the same area that positively-tested employee worked, the amount of exposure to working with the public, the employee’s job duties, the amount of crowding on the job site that prevented social distancing, and the use of PPE.

The investigations that OSHA is asking employers to undertake for COVID-19 require those employers to determine the likelihood that the employee contracted COVID-19 in the workplace based on information reasonably available to them at the time of their investigation. If more information becomes available, the employer will be required to update the investigation. 

OSHA complaints for COVID-19 are on the rise

OSHA started tracking COVID-19 related complaints for essential industries using the N-16-COVID-19 code starting on April 20th. Of the seven essential industries OSHA was tracking for COVID-19 complaints, the construction industry had the third-highest number of COVID-19 related OSHA complaints using the N-16-COVID-19 code. From 4/20/20 to 6/7/20, the construction industry has seen a 73% increase in OSHA complaints. Click here to see the OSHA complaints totals to date. This is most likely attributed to the increased number of construction workers that have been allowed to resume work on previously shut down projects combined with the expiration of stay-at-home orders.

OSHA COVID 19 Complaints.xlsx

How to Protect Your Company from Work-Related COVID-19 OSHA Complaints

With the increase in COVID-19 related complaints to OSHA, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re protecting your business by documenting your policies for social distancing, use of PPE, sanitation, and disinfection of equipment and tools, and handwashing to reduce the risk of OSHA complaints on your job sites. You will want to make sure that the policies and procedures are understood and shared with your field employees as quickly as possible. With WorkMax, you can quickly deploy new COVID-19 safety training and obtain signatures with a time and date stamp to confirm that they understand the new policies and procedures. WorkMax allows employees to watch videos and sign off with a date and time stamp on their smartphones that they watched and understood the COVID-19 policies. Another way you can protect your business from OSHA complaints is to use our mobile forms app to take photos and videos throughout the day to document how your employees are following your social distancing, PPE equipment, and handwashing procedures on the jobsite. 

 To see some videos about how to use WorkMax for COVID-19 Training and documentation to protect your employees and your business here’s a list:



COVID-19 Construction Safety Improve Jobsite Safety

COVID 19 Construction Safety Improve Safety

COVID 19 Construction Safety Improve Safety

COVID-19 and Construction Safety: 4 Ways To Improve Job Site Safety

By Jonathan Salas 

The sudden onset of COVID-19 has taken construction safety managers, business owners, and nations completely by surprise. Whole industries have been brought to their knees, while others have been forced to scramble while trying to remain agile. While our nation’s leaders try to find the best solutions to deal with this problem, businesses are forced to think on their feet and adapt. Thankfully, no one is in this alone, and WorkMax is here to not only make your job easier, but also protect you and the ones around you. But how exactly can a resource management app with live field data to collect and share time tracking and field reporting on mobile forms help keep you safe? Here are 4 ways WorkMax can help:

1. Prompt COVID-19 Symptom Screening on Clock IN/OUT- Not everyone is aware of the exact symptoms of COVID-19 including construction safety managers reading the latest news, and that can have a huge impact on your workforce. What an employee thinks is simply a symptom of a common cold could be an indication of something much worse. You need to ensure that anyone experiencing symptoms isn’t getting the rest of your workforce sick while getting the safety documentation you need without slowing down your field employees and interrupting their workflow.

WorkMax’s resource management platform improves safety by creating a workflow that fits construction businesses. The first thing employees do every day is clock in, and with WorkMax, you can have COVID-19 pre-screening questions provided by your construction safety managers that each employee is required to fill out with each initial punch for the day. If the employee answers that they don’t have any of the COVID-19 symptoms listed, they just go to work. If they answered yes, the employees can be prompted by a follow-up form to help your company determine if the employee needs to be sent for medical attention or if they are simply having seasonal allergies, allowing your projects to continue to run smoothly. The health screening questions can be prompted at the end of the shift to determine if the employee should show up the next shift. These forms can be automatically emailed to the employee’s supervisor and the health and safety managers for them to determine the safest next step if their employee has COVID-19 symptoms.

2. Facial Recognition without COVID-19 Transmission Risk- If you are using a single device for clocking in, then that creates a single point of contact that all of your employees are touching (remember, one of the ways COVID-19 spreads is by staying on surfaces like countertops). That’s a lot of contact, and too many chances for spreading infection. WorkMax allows each employee to clock time from their own device, meaning that there is no contact with shared devices during the clock in/out process. Face recognition is great because it eliminates buddy punching and time theft, but it’s even more critical that you know which employees are working on your job sites to identify any COVID-19 contact transmission risks. WorkMax’s face recognition compares a profile image with their clock in photo and clock out photo and returns a match percentage. Their supervisor and payroll admin are alerted when there’s a mismatch on their own individual devices or computers without coming into contact with a shared device. The supervisor can also approve their time on their own mobile device in the field without the risk of transmission from shared devices.

If your supervisors are clocking in their crews from a company-owned single mobile device, however, WorkMax can still be used to ensure the safety of your workforce and your company and know exactly who is working on your job site. We have added a new feature based on customer requests that allows you to utilize the rear-facing camera for facial recognition. A supervisor can have all his or her employees clock into the same device while still maintaining a safe six-foot distance and getting the facial recognition data that you need to ensure accuracy. A supervisor can hold the device, face it at the designated employee, and clock them in as simply and easily as they did before.

3. COVID-19 Form Collection and Sharing Improvements for Construction Safety Managers – Paperwork is always the worst part of the day, so we made WorkMax to take the paper and the work out of the equation. With standard paperwork, it must first get to the employee who will fill it out, and then (hopefully) turned back into the proper individual. That’s not only a headache of a process, but presents a lot of opportunities, again, for spreading infection.

WorkMax makes it all streamlined and simple, allowing you to prompt employees with questions when they clock in, allowing you to screen for symptoms. These answers are then sent directly and immediately to the safety manager, who can then make the decision whether to keep the employee on-site, or send for medical treatment. This allows your business to remain in working while also ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

4. Deployment of COVID-19 Construction SafetyTraining Videos-  Many businesses have had to change their workflows during this time, and it’s likely that your company has had to do so as well. Sometimes, an email will suffice for new procedures, but that is not always the case. However, we can’t gather all the employees together for a COVID-19 Construction Safety training session, so how do we inform employees of these changes? WorkMax allows you to link a video onto a form, meaning that you can not only deploy training quickly but also get answers or feedback. You can also require that employees provide their signature (on their own devices, of course) verifying that they have seen the video and will follow the new procedures.

The future may be uncertain right now, but we are here to help you secure the safety of your job sites and keep your projects on schedule and on budget with healthy workers. WorkMax’s resource management platform dramatically improves safety on your projects with construction-centric workflows to prompt your employees to answer health screenings on clock out and to know who is on your job site to reduce any contact transmission risks as quickly as possible. WorkMax’s resource management platform allows you to quickly see which employees worked on similar tasks on the same project to know who may have come into contact with a COVID-19 positive worker and take the proper safety precautions to ensure the safety of all of your employees.

Give us a call, or click here to schedule your demo today, and find out how WorkMax can help you navigate this ever-changing landscape.

Construction Resource Management: Prepare Post COVID-19

Construction Resource Management Prepare Now for the Post COVID Tidal Wave

Construction Resource Management Prepare Now for the Post COVID Tidal Wave

Construction Resource Management: 3 Ways To Prepare Now for The Post COVID Tidal Wave
By Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to construction resource management. Some construction projects have been shut down because of city and state mandates, while other states are continuing to work as an essential service. Industry consultants are warning the construction industry that it’s the calm before the storm and anticipate a tsunami of construction work in the next month or so. With about a month to prepare, contractors need to focus on how to improve their current business processes and look for solutions to make them more efficient, reduce labor costs, and allow them to accurately track project progress in real-time while keeping employee’s safety as one of their concerns. They need to bring the leaders from field operations together with the business operations leaders and take a look at their business from beginning to end to see how and where they can leverage technology to help them prepare for the massive tidal wave heading their way.

Now is the time for contractors to lean on your technology partners. We can share our best practices from working with thousands of contractors that have been in this position before and have been able to not only survive construction booms and busts but thrive in the midst of uncertainty. Business leaders have the opportunity to bring together the whole company to improve business processes now with a real-time, cloud-based, construction resource management platform to make their companies more profitable, efficient, effective, and safe. Getting accurate live field data and collaborating with all of your internal and external stakeholders is critical to survive and thrive post COVID-19. How can we help you prepare now? Here are three ways contractors can prepare now:

Streamlined Workflows

The most important factor in improving the performance of all your projects comes down to simplifying and streamlining your field data collection. Your field employees and supervisors need to provide critical business information to project management, HR, health and safety, accounting, payroll, and finance. It’s imperative to make it easy for your field employees to provide the information. According to the Dodge Analytics Report, 42% of contractors are using paper and spreadsheets to collect field data for project performance (cost and schedule), payroll and man-hours, productivity, safety, and equipment tracking.

If you’re part of the 42% using manual processes to manage your most important project data, you need to look at a construction resource management platform that brings all of your project data together and works the way your employees work. When you use a construction resource management platform like WorkMax that collects live field data and integrates with your back-office systems, you can make it easy for your employees in the field to provide you the information you need. Contractors can make a simple change in how they collect their field data, which can have a huge impact on their project’s performance and profitability.

When you choose WorkMax’s construction resource management platform, you not only get live field data, you can also collect all of your field reporting for safety and progress in the same app as your labor hours and asset tracking. All of this field data easily flows into your back-office applications like HR, payroll, and ERP in real-time to keep your entire team on the same page, no matter where they are working. Because the WorkMax platform is integrated, field employees only need one app on their device, because it can collect time, mobile forms, equipment tracking, completed work and allocate labor hours by project or task. It does it all and works together to allow your employees to clock in, select the right project and task, select the right equipment for their work for the day, all with a few clicks all in the same app. WorkMax TIME talks to WorkMax FORMS, which also talks to WorkMax ASSETS. Employees don’t have to remember to click on the FORMS icon to see if they are supposed to fill out a form that day. WorkMax prompts your employees after they clock in to watch a COVID-19 safety training video and sign the mobile form with a follow up COVID-19 Health screening form to keep your job sites safe. There’s also no shuffling of papers or everyone touching the same clipboard and risking COVID-19 transmission in order to track the project data you need to manage your projects to profitability and efficiency. Contractors that made a small change in how they collect their field data were able to:

  • Complete projects at/under budget better
  • Increase productivity and profitability
  • Improve safety
  • Win more new work
  • Finish projects on time or early

Document Project Status for Shut Down Projects

You’ve always documented your daily progress and safety, but with some construction sites closing down due to city and state mandates, contractors need to protect themselves now by properly documenting the status of their projects. With a cloud-based construction resource management solution like WorkMax, contractors can easily upload the job site photos or videos while they’re doing a walk through with a representative from the developer or owner. The photos and videos can help alleviate any disputes regarding the current state of the project and how the site is being secured during shut down. The mobile forms can also include notes and a signature from both parties agreeing to the validity of the photos and videos to protect both sides. These mobile forms can also be shared with anyone on your design team for review to make sure the job site doesn’t need any structural reinforcements to secure the job site because the duration of the shutdowns is unknown. The mobile forms can help document COVID-19 project and budget delays when subcontractors are not reporting to job sites for contracted work.

Track COVID-19 Related Costs

Contractors need to set up COVID-19 cost codes to track activities impacted by COVID-19. Due to the social distancing, contractors will also have to re-work their schedules to address multiple workers scheduled at the same time in a confined area. They’ll also have additional labor hours for employees to complete health screenings and for the supervisors to document that their crews are working with the appropriate 6-foot social distance and wearing their personal protective equipment. When you have a cloud-based construction resource management solution, you can quickly add the new COVID-19 cost codes to your ERP and it’s automatically available for the field employees, remote employees and office employees to track their activities to these COVID-19 expenses. The mobile forms will have photos and videos for the supervisors to document all of the COVID-19 social distancing precautions on the job site and the PPE on the employees for COVID-19 safety precautions all in the same app that the labor hours can be allocated to COVID-19 cost codes. WorkMax is flexible and allows the labor cost allocations to be performed by the employee or supervisor in real time or after-the-fact all in the same app as the mobile forms documentation for COVID-19 safety. By documenting COVID-19 safety forms in real time, job sites are safer and job costs are more accurate. Though COVID-19 will definitely have impacts on construction schedules and budgets, contractors need to anticipate the additional costs and properly document how COVID-19 is affecting their schedules and budgets to show they are making reasonable efforts to mitigate any potential contract performance delays or defaults.

Contractors need to act now and make a change to their field data collection and learn how to leverage a cloud-based construction resource management solution or they may not survive the construction tsunami on its way. WorkMax can be implemented and integrated with your ERP in less than a week. Click here to schedule a demo to prepare your business today for tomorrow.