Even the best designed construction project management system only works as well as the data that users can supply to it. Field data reported on paper in less-than-ideal conditions is often illegible, incomplete and inaccurate.
“If you’re relying on notes and spreadsheets filled in on the project site to report employee time, equipment usage and production units you’re probably asking a lot of your supervisors,” says Aiden Dalley, product marketing manager at Viewpoint Construction Software. “If you’re using paper, collecting work hours alone on multiple projects employing 100 workers can generate binders full of reports. If you’re filling out paper reports in the cold and rain, you’re getting smudged ink, and dirty, folded paper making a tough job for back office staff who need to key that information into their own systems. Any changes in staff, projects or construction phases would require the back office to develop and send out a revised spreadsheet.”
An ideal solution would involve a data entry method that decreases errors, increases data capture and reduces the time invested by field staff in administrative work. Viewpoint’s solution is Mobile Field Manager (MFM), the most popular add-on module purchased by construction companies to complement its core Vista contract management software platform.
“We developed MFM from top to bottom to eliminate the pain points that construction companies told us were resulting in frustration, inaccurate data transmission and lost time,” says Dalley. “We started by ensuring that Mobile Field Manager would provide users with an intuitive interface that was similar to what they were probably already doing on paper—something that wouldn’t require a great deal of training to use. We’ve also found simple ways to make the data entry process easier. For example, if a supervisor visits a new job site, a GPS-based job detection feature automatically prompts the user to switch to a new project for that set of entries.”
Next, MFM was designed to be compatible with every popular device on the market—iPad, iPhone, Android tablet, smartphone or laptop.
The app allows users to securely enter data worldwide, even at remote sites without an active connection. The information will be stored and uploaded the moment a connection becomes available. Employees working far afield can even be authorized to enter their own work hours.
“Any information entered can be reviewed and approved by the supervisor before it’s incorporated into your construction accounting system,” says Dalley. “All it takes is adding an electronic signature. Because the system is 100 per cent synchronized, back office staff members are never required to print or rekey any document. All of the information is seamlessly integrated into Vista’s payroll, job progress and equipment management features.”
At-a-glance features allow supervisors to access more than 40 standard reports included with the app. For example, it’s simple to call up a report on daily productivity levels to see whether the company is hitting its benchmarks. Looking at each employee’s worked hours allows a supervisor to ensure that hours are allotted fairly and that no employee is being paid overtime unnecessarily. It’s also easy to customize new reports.
“With MFM synchronized between front line to back office, discrepancies between forms are also eliminated,” says Dalley. “For example, if a project phase has been completed, that part of the form can be quickly eliminated to simplify data entry.”
A recent field study conducted by Viewpoint among actual construction customers found that those using MFM experienced a 50 per cent reduction in field time and time spent on production data entries.
“We’re seeing significant time savings in both the field and on the back office side,” says Dalley. “Both teams are doing their own jobs, instead of doing each other’s.”
This content is sponsored by Viewpoint Construction Software in collaboration with ConstructConnect™ Media. To learn more about Viewpoint, visit www.viewpoint.com.