Business

Best Practices for Improving Operational Efficiencies With Mobile Solutions

Mobile solutions add a lot of value to jobsites today, eliminating the assumptions and guesswork that can come with a disconnected workforce. Optimal operational efficiency starts with improved communication streams.
By Stokes McIntyre
July 19, 2021
Topics
Business

General contractors and superintendents are constantly looking for ways to stay on budget and complete their projects on time, while simultaneously empowering their team to be safe and efficient. With a dozen variables from one project to the next, traditional communication and training methods might hinder a team rather than empower it. To improve operational efficiency on the jobsite, it is imperative to enhance and streamline communication with field workers by using mobile solutions.

JB Knowledge’s 2020 Construction Technology Report found 92% of construction employees are using mobile devices on the job. In addition, new research from MindForge found 75% of contractors feel “communication and chat capabilities among a team” is the most important factor for performance success.

This means there is an enormous opportunity to communicate more frequently with the team on a platform that they’re already familiar with: their mobile devices.

Work stoppages on the jobsite seem like a normal part of the day, but even small interruptions—like last-minute changes to parking—take workers away from the task at hand and can add up to significantly reduce valuable time spent on the work. Below are three ways mobile solutions can be used to improve operational efficiency through improved communication.

1. Create orientation videos

As new team members enter the construction site, set clear expectations right off the bat and create a consistent process for workers to follow. Have them download a communication and training app to access orientation materials to review while in a safe area. This creates consistency, ensuring all new employees are following the same guidelines set by the company while giving management time to more importantly assess if the workers are adequately fit for the job.

2. Use two-way communication

Most often, front-line construction workers do not receive direct communication from company or project leadership, and there’s no means to have a two-way conversation. Craft-level workers often receive information through a chain of command that ends with a foreman delivering information through word-of-mouth or text messages.

It sounds simple, but incorporating a two-way messaging system on the jobsite streamlines how construction company owners manage, train and engage with workers—and it’s something many construction teams don’t have the ability to do right now.

Having a two-way conversation through mobile solutions can help create strong employee engagement and team culture. It is management’s job to foster a culture that makes their team feel comfortable in coming forward and reporting incidents, and instilling a chat function can help do just that. A chat function also allows employees to ask questions and feel empowered to make suggestions for improving the project.

3. Push-out real-time refreshers and updates

One of the best uses for mobile solutions on a construction project is the ability to send training videos to the crew in an instant to provide in-the-moment reminders on safety and execution details.

These should be specific to the jobsite and cover the uniqueness of the project at hand, setting the standard of what superintendents and foremen are looking for with their craft laborers. These real-time updates could include safety reminders, hazard alerts, daily production goals, severe weather notices, inspection preparations, material delivery coordination and more.

Craft-level workers have expressed that these refreshers are key to doing their job safely and efficiently, and it’s important to take a couple of minutes to safely review the training materials again before beginning a potentially dangerous task. In addition, last-minute updates, such as a shipment delay or a new worksite hazard, can be sent out quickly and directly to each person on a project, minimizing the need for workers to completely stop the task they’re working on and improving overall productivity.

An empowered team will work more effectively and more efficiently when they know they have the needed resources and tools to complete their work safely. Mobile solutions add a lot of value to jobsites today, eliminating the assumptions and guesswork that can come with a disconnected workforce. Optimal operational efficiency starts with improved communication streams.

by Stokes McIntyre
Stokes McIntyre is the President and Co-Founder of MindForge, an affiliate of the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). Stokes also serves as Vice Chairman of IRMI and President of production company Hotbed, LLC. MindForge is a holistic communication hub designed to unite construction organizations. The platform simplifies workforce communication and maximizes quality with tools that keep jobsites safe, efficient and connected.

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