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. 

 

COVID Safety Training WorkMax Mobile Forms Rapidly Deploy

Rapidly Deploy COVID Safety Training Videos with Mobile Forms

By Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing 


We’re all making changes to our daily lives to do everything we can to protect ourselves from COVID-19. In general, the construction industry is still considered an essential service and contractors are busy at work. I’m sure that, just like us, you’re making adjustments to do everything you can to reduce the COVID-19 risk for your employees. We’ve heard from some of our clients that they’re sending home their office staff to work remotely, and AboutTime Technologies | WorkMax is doing the same.


We’ve recently transitioned to a fully operational remote workforce during COVID-19, allowing any employees who were not already remote to remain safe. We’ve had customers reach out to us to help make their job sites safer. Our customers, just like you, are looking for more collaboration solutions to support their businesses. They’re leaning on us as technology partners to help them solve some of their COVID-19 safety challenges and we’re helping them. To assist our WorkMax TIME customers during COVID-19, we’re offering a free WorkMax mobile FORMS licenses to expedite COVID-19 safety training and documentation and reducing COVID-19 transmission risks. Now, more than ever, it is important to be social distancing, but how can you do that when you need to communicate new COVID-19 safety procedures quickly to a large workforce spread across at one job site or multiple job sites in multiple cities, states, or countries? 

Challenges with COVID Safety Training

With COVID-19, the challenge isn’t simply limiting your job sites to essential staff to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but you must also provide even more safety training than ever. Your safety managers are challenged to provide this training as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. This means that you’ll need to quickly disseminate COVID safety training, but it’s not feasible to bring all your employees together on a job site while maintaining proper social distancing measures to adequately transfer the safety information needed. Employees may not be able to see or hear you on a loud job site because they’re maintaining the proper social distance. To be compliant, your safety managers not only have to provide the training, but they also have to properly document it with employee signatures while eliminating the risk for transferring the virus among those employees. This becomes tricky when you need signatures because it’s risky to share pens and clipboards to collect signatures on paper forms to properly document your safety training.

Remote Safety Training with Video Links on Mobile Forms

This is why cloud-based solutions to train your employees on new COVID-19 safety procedures is imperative now. You want to be able to quickly deploy Toolbox Talks and other safety training for COVID-19 without requiring safety managers to be at every site in-person to perform the training. Safety managers and supervisors also want to make sure they can collect time and date stamps when their employees submitted the safety forms with signatures to document that they watched the training video.


Cloud-based solutions are agile and can quickly deploy new safety training video links added to the mobile forms that also include signatures with time and date stamp for OSHA documentation within moments of creating the safety videos. Your safety manager would simply create a new form, add a signature field, and add a link to the new training video and save it. The new safety training video is available immediately after it has been saved for the employees to watch and sign the form, signifying that they watched the video. Safety managers can make the signature field required so that they know every single form that’s submitted includes has a signature verifying the employee watched the video. The date and time the form was submitted is also shown in the Control Center for proper OSHA documentation. Another benefit of a cloud-based mobile form is that there is global visibility for everyone that has permission to view the form. As soon as the form is submitted, they can see in real time all the employees and safety forms submitted. The form is searchable and easily found when you search by the employee’s name or by the form name, such as the COVID Handwashing Training Video form. You can also see all the forms of any type that have been completed by each employee. Additionally, the safety manager can be automatically sent each safety training form as they are completed in real time.


WorkMax’s TIME + FORMS works on any iOS or Android device. Employees can use their own iOS or Android mobile devices to reduce any risk of spreading germs from sharing pens or clipboards to sign off that they viewed a safety video. We’ve seen customers increase their mobile form completions by 25% to 50% when they made it part of the Clock In/Out process by using our WorkMax app to collect forms and time tracking with job costing, including production, all in one app. It’s also much easier to provide your safety training videos if employees are prompted to complete them as part of their clock IN/OUT process. It’s right in front of them on their phone and they won’t forget to do it. They’re also not sharing germs from shared pens or clipboards, and they can maintain the proper social distance from their coworkers as they watch the videos and sign the form from their smartphone.

Watch our videos on WorkMax TIME or FORMS, to learn more about how to improve the safety at your job site when you manage all your mobile resources all in one app in real time. 

ConExpo 2020 Celebrity Sighting with Face Recognition Employee Time Tracking
ConExpo 2020: WorkMax's Face Recognition Found Celebrities

By Jonathan Salas 

ConExpo 2020 has wrapped up and we’re glad that we were able to meet so many wonderful construction business owners and folks on the business operations side of the house. Our WorkMax team from both sales and technical support was there in full force to handle the over 130,000 person crowd over four days. It’s a good thing we took a big WorkMax team because we had THE MOST visitors to our ConExpo booth ever. It was a great time because it gives us the chance to hear about your biggest workforce challenges for field data collection.

Since we’ve been attending trade shows like ConExpo 2020 over the last 17 years, we’ve consistently heard you talk about your struggles with buddy punching. You are either very familiar with buddy punching or you need to be because it can have a huge impact on your profitability. Buddy punching is when one employee clocks in for another. This is generally done innocuously enough; after all, if their friend is running late, most employees won’t see an issue with clocking in for them so they don’t get into trouble. What these employees don’t realize, however, is that by helping out their buddy, they are stealing from your company. Time theft can add up quickly and will end up causing you thousands in the long run.

You told us you wanted to get rid of buddy punching and we listened. We packed up our team and headed to ConExpo 2020 to show you how with a celebrity-inspired contest. Since we love to have fun, we had to add an extra spin on things. To demonstrate our face recognition, we ran a competition to see how much you looked like some of the biggest celebrities. But, before we start talking about who looks the most like Drake and unveil our Celebrity Photo Match Winners, let’s chat about how WorkMax TIME’s face recognition works and what makes it different.

Once you have a profile photo uploaded of the employee in WorkMax TIME, employees simply take a photo of themselves, a selfie, every time they clock in or out. WorkMax’s face recognition automatically compares that selfie to the profile photo, giving you a match percentage indicating how similar the photos are. At that point, any records below a certain match percentage (set by you) are flagged for review. This method of true face recognition is not only more reliable than any other system, but it also helps prevent one of the construction industry’s biggest workforce challenges: buddy punching. WorkMaxTIME prevents buddy punching with our true face recognition with match percentages and mismatch alerts, allowing you to put a stop to those sneaky employees. On the other side, your employees will also see no delay in starting their work. They simply clock in, take a selfie, and go to work.


In comparison with other time tracking apps with basic face capture, employees take a picture of themselves, and the payroll administrator compares it to an employee photo. There’s no face recognition technology and as a result, there’s no photo match percentage or mismatch alerts. Face capture is just adding more to your payroll administrator’s already full plate. This is frustrating because, for the payroll administrator, it feels like a waste of time. And it is!

Armed with WorkMax TIME’s true facial recognition, you will help your company save thousands in several different ways, likely earning you celebrity status in your office. Speaking of celebrity status, shall we see who our grand winners were for our Celebrity Contest at ConExpo? Here they are:

This year at ConExpo 2020, Rob Findlay wrestled himself into third place, rocking our world by matching up 28% with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. We could really smell what the Rob was cooking!

Face Recognition Employee Time Tracking ConExpo 3rd The Rock


When Brittany Perkins walked up to our booth, we knew she’d be dead on for the second place. She ended up matching 41% with the actress Emily Kinney.

Face Recognition Employee Time Tracking ConExpo 2nd emily kinney

“What’s My Name?” Israel Cruz likely hears that often, as he matched a staggering 55% to Rapper/Hip-Hop Artist Drake. Hold On, We’re Going Home because Israel is walking away with our first place prize!

Face Recognition Employee Time Tracking ConExpo 1st drake


We had such a great time meeting everyone, and we hope that you will join us for the next celebrity contest. If you want to learn more about how WorkMax can save your company time and money, or schedule a demo, click here.

Project Data in Construction WorkMax

Simplify Project Data in Construction

4 Ways to Turn Project Data Chaos to Clarity in Construction Businesses 

Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing 

Getting your arms around project data in your construction business can be a daunting task when you consider the volume of data pouring in from so many different sources. Everything is in constant motion on construction projects because your employees, tools, and equipment are moving between projects each day. Getting the project data in your construction business to the office can be a bit chaotic. Although labor costs are a top data point to manage your projects to profitability, there are additional project data points in your construction business that you need to keep your eye on to keep your projects on budget and schedule. As you’re winning new bids and adding new projects, your financial project data in your construction business needs to be constantly updated so that your field employees are accurately capturing the project data you need to keep your construction projects profitable. The most important project data in the construction industry are Project Performance Data (Schedule and Cost), Payroll and Manhours, Productivity Data, Safety Data, and Equipment Tracking Data based on the Dodge Analytics SmartMarket Report, Improving Performance with Project Data.1


The best way to streamline all your project data in your construction business is to have employees or supervisors work from a mobile app that connects to all of your business applications. WorkMax makes it simple to collect, organize, and share project data across multiple projects with or without service and gives global visibility to the project data in your construction business all from one mobile app. WorkMax collects project data in your construction business the way that fits your business. We all know employees want to get paid, right? So we made WorkMax an integrated platform to prompt them to collect the project data you need in your construction business in ONE app that integrates with the top HR, accounting, and ERP systems in real time. We also made sure that you could collect the field documentation you need with powerful mobile forms to provide you with the safety and daily log reports you need. Here are four ways WorkMax can simplify your project data in your construction business to turn it into actionable insights:


1.  Do you struggle with getting safety reports, maintenance forms, and daily log reports completed promptly? Are your reports inconsistent, hard to read, and lacking the necessary details? With WorkMax, you can prompt employees to complete their safety checklists, injury reports, maintenance forms, and daily log reports as part of their clock IN/OUT process. If there’s anything we know about employees, we know they will clock IN/OUT to make sure they get paid, right? Employees can add photos with markup, video, and audio notes to the mobile forms to know what’s going on without being there. Based on their answers on the mobile forms, you can also prompt employees with follow-up forms to get all the project data you need.

2. Never know who has your tools and equipment? Is your asset inventory out-of-date? With WorkMax, your asset inventory is always up-to-date when employees check IN/OUT equipment as they clock IN/OUT each day. Do we see a pattern emerging when you collect all your project data for labor hours and asset management in one app? With WorkMax, they don’t have to check in a piece of inventory back into the equipment manager before anyone can check it back out. With WorkMax, employees can transfer tools and equipment from their mobile devices without involving the equipment manager at all.

3. Tired of employees allocating their labor hours to archived projects or the wrong tasks? The project data in your construction business will be more accurate than ever before with WorkMax. WorkMax syncs the data from your accounting or ERP system to make sure only active projects and tasks appear on their mobile app. You can even make sure that field employees only chose the right tasks based on the project cost structure from your accounting system for the ultimate job cost accuracy.

4.  Never sure how much work has been completed on your projects? Are the units of measure not in sync between your different business systems? When you prompt your employees to enter how much work was completed with the right unit of measure as they change tasks throughout the day and at the end of the day before they clock out, you’ll easily be able to see how much work was completed that day on that project. Collecting just labor hours isn’t enough for your construction business. That’s why we made sure WorkMax didn’t just collect labor hours. WorkMax tracks tasks that align to cost codes in your accounting system and every time your employees switch tasks, they’re prompted to enter their production. The production and job costing data syncs with your accounting system to provide you with real-time production and job costs. With WorkMax, you’ll know as soon as your employees switch tasks how much work has been completed on a project. Here’s just another example of how we created WorkMax to work the way you work all in one app to make it simple for your field employees.

To learn more about WorkMax, schedule a demo now.


1 - Dodge Data and Analytics SmartMarket Report, Improving Performance with Project Data; How Improved Collection and Analysis Is Leading the Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry.

 

Project Data Collection in for Construction 4 Reasons to Change WorkMax

Data Collection for Construction
4 Reasons to Change Data Collection for Your Construction Business


96% of engineering and construction firms don’t use the project data they collect.1 Yikes! That’s a pretty startling statistic. What’s even more shocking is how much potential predictive intelligence is hiding in the volumes of data you’re collecting. 

The first step in simplifying the project data in your construction business is that you have to understand how you’re collecting data for your construction business. Once you understand how the data is being collected, you can look for ways to automate and improve the data collection process for your construction business so you can spend more time analyzing the data instead of merely collecting it. There’s no point in collecting project data in your construction business if you’re not going to use it, right? So, let’s take a look at how you’re collecting the project data in your construction business. 

According to the Dodge Analytics report on Improving Performance with Project Data in Construction, the project data collection in the construction industry is typically done in these four ways:

1. Paper
2. Spreadsheets
3. Custom-Designed Software
4. Commercial Software

There are several reasons why you should consider changing your project data collection in your construction business. You may be thinking if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Your current projects are profitable and you’re meeting your scheduling deadlines. But what if I told you that you could increase your profit margins and do it by simply making a few small changes in how you collect the project data in your construction business? Would you want to know more? You should. In a recent report, when data collection was improved for construction projects like yours, contractors found that they were better able to complete their projects at or under budget.2 Contractors that improved data collection for their construction projects also saw increases in productivity, profitability, safety, and the ability to win new work.2

Two of the biggest issues with data collection for construction projects are the use of both paper and spreadsheets. In a 2019 study, 42% of respondents were still using paper or spreadsheets for data collection for their construction projects.2 Project data collection in construction is plagued with paper making it difficult to analyze project data in your construction business. A piece of paper is only useful to the one person that has access to it at that time. To make the project data in your construction projects useful, you have to manually enter it into either a spreadsheet or software, which inevitably leads to data entry errors. It also doesn’t help that 88% of spreadsheets contain data errors, based on research from multiple studies. In a recent report, paper also ranks lowest for timeliness.2 It makes sense because your field supervisors have to collect the paper forms for time cards, safety reports, daily logs, and asset tracking from their employees and drive them to the office when they’re working at remote job sites.2 It may only be once a week that supervisors can get to the office to drop off forms. 

Contractors were also least satisfied with the accuracy of the paper forms compared to spreadsheets, custom-designed software, and commercial software.2 The project data in your construction business that’s gathered on paper is certainly going to be much less accurate for several reasons, which explains why improving your data collection for your construction business will improve your project performance. Illegible handwriting tops the list of reasons your paper forms are inaccurate, with calculation errors coming in a close second. This doesn’t even take into account the 5-6 minutes it takes for your payroll employee to manually audit the time card for any computational errors. Also, when you’re using paper timesheets, your employees are just estimating the hours they worked, and typically fill out their time card at the end of the week. They may have forgotten that they arrived late one day or left early another, which certainly explains why contractors are least satisfied with collecting project data in construction on paper.

To find out how easy it can be to collect real-time project data in your construction business with an all in one app for time tracking, asset tracking and mobile forms that also integrate with your accounting, payroll, or ERP system, schedule a demo now.


1 - Hill, Brian L. “Digging for the Big Data Gold in Today’s Construction Projects.” Xpera Group. 2017
2 - Dodge Data and Analytics SmartMarket Report, Improving Performance with Project Data; How Improved Collection and Analysis Is Leading the Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry.