Live Field Data’s Accuracy is Top Benefit
By Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing
You’ve probably heard everyone talking about live field data or real-time field data and it sounds great, doesn’t it? You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal with live field data? How is it going to help my business?” Well, inquiring minds like us wanted to know what your peers thought, so we reached out to 134 contractors in June to find out. Do you want to know what we found out in the Live Field Data Usage Report? The survey revealed that live field data’s accuracy is the top benefit.
Here are three ways that live field data’s accuracy will improve your business operations:
1. All of your field data is digitized
Did you know the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries in the world? When you integrate live field data in one app with your ERP, everything is completely digitized. All the project performance data from the field is digitally collected on any mobile device and synced with the ERP. As a result, human error is drastically reduced. There are no keying errors when employees enter handwritten data from paper into a spreadsheet for import or directly into a desktop application. All the data is digitized and significantly improves live field data’s accuracy.
For those that use spreadsheets, you’re eliminating importing errors. You don’t have to remember every time you import, which fields on your spreadsheet match the ERP standard fields. We’ve all had to import data and accidentally mapped a field wrong. Sometimes we catch it and sometimes we don’t. These are just a few of the reasons why paper and spreadsheets lead to field data collection accuracy errors. Paper forms and spreadsheets can’t restrict employees’ responses with picklists to capture the data you need in the format you need it in.
In our 2020 Live Field Data Usage Report, we found that 66% of contractors are still using paper and spreadsheets to collect some of their field data. Only 14% are exclusively using paper and spreadsheets, so there’s definite growth towards using technology to collect field data. There’s a long way to go before the construction industry is fully digitized and can capitalize on live field data’s accuracy.
2. Project Cost Data is In Sync with Field Data Collection
When you integrate your live field data with your ERP or accounting system, you’re eliminating headaches and drastically improving your job cost data accuracy. You can set up the live field data collection in the WorkMax app the same way it’s set up in the ERP. This means that every time you add a new employee, cost code, project, and quantity completed it’s available for field employees to enter the live field data to the right project or cost code.
How does this affect the live field data’s accuracy? Employees can’t select closed out projects or project tasks. They can only select active employees, projects, and cost codes. Also, new employees can start clocking in on day one and check out equipment and track their hours to the right cost code and projects. With WorkMax, your data collection is pristine and matches up exactly to your ERP’s project cost structure for the most accurate live field data.
3. Show only Relevant Job Cost and Progress Data to Employees
When employees in the field are entering garbage data from the field, you’re going to end up with garbage in your project status reports and job cost reports. Some companies only have a dozen or so cost codes while others may have thousands. This is one of the reasons you’re getting garbage data from the field. They’re rushing to enter the data, and there are just too many options to choose from. Or they don’t know what to choose.
Using permission profiles you can improve your live field data collection’s accuracy. Permission profiles allow you to restrict what field employees can enter. Employees don’t have to see all the projects the company is working on. They only see the projects they are assigned to work on. It makes it easy for them to enter the right project or job. You can restrict what the employee sees even further. The concrete worker sees only the concrete tasks or cost codes assigned to that specific project. This information comes from the project cost structure set up in the ERP. The data can be refined even further when you prompt employees to only enter quantities completed for specific cost codes. The fewer options employees have, the easier it is for employees to track. This is a major reason that live field data improves the accuracy of project performance data.
With more accurate live field data, what can this mean for your business? Why should you care about it? With more accurate project data, you can make decisions right now based on what’s happening right now. What if you knew a crew hadn’t completed the grading of a jobsite and you have two tons of concrete scheduled to be delivered the next day? The concrete delivery can be rescheduled without incurring the cost of wasted materials. You could also reduce equipment rental costs or purchases if the equipment inventory was accurate with live field data. Rather than waste time making countless phone calls or text messages, employees rent a piece of equipment or buy a new tool. If it’s not quick and easy to locate, they will overspend on tools and equipment.