Site Reporting: “Just Ditch the Paper!” Well, It Just Ain't That Simple...

Increasingly we’re seeing more and more mobile or desktop applications with the promise to digitize field data and make site reporting processes ‘simple’ and ‘more efficient’. But in nearly every instance this promise comes with one huge caveat: stop doing what you’re doing and replace it with [enter product here].

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Well, as almost half of North American contractors know, it just ain’t that simple.

Everyone gets that digital field data is important (we’ve all heard that it’s the future and the future is now) and has the ability to create insights that could save contractors, clients, and the entire industry incredibly vast sums of time and money.

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So why is this ‘no-brainer’ in a state of no-go?

I’m sure a lot of you have heard these two misconceptions about our industry.

  • “Oh, it’s because construction folks don’t have smartphones.” - False. Walk onto any site and you’ll see just how ubiquitous smart devices are.

  • “Oh, it’s because construction folks don’t know how to use smartphones.” - False. And just completely offensive.

Contractors can’t ditch paper because it’s not their paper to ditch. Especially when it comes to Institutional projects. Now, tell us again how easy it is to get public institutions off of paper?

If we’re being honest, which we are, nothing is easier than paper. Pen and paper is fast, jotting down notes is quick and forgiving, and gets whatever it is off of the mind and stores it for later use - albeit temporarily.

Most site folks are taking notes, then transferring that onto the mandated forms. That form is the basis for compliance. Unfortunately, that’s not true. That form isn’t compliant, nor is it safe in any way.

In any legal proceeding you have a burden to prove that the document wasn’t tampered with and was created within a reasonable timeframe. And that doc needs to be stored for seven years.

Paper isn’t the barrier to digital field data. Getting Supervisors to duplicate work is. And in what scenario is duplication an acceptable use of time anyway?

As a site manager preparing these reports, until that documentation is handed over to the office the responsibility of that legal document sits squarely on your shoulders.

Now, think about where this week's stack of reports are right now. If they’re not digitally archived somewhere, you may just lose that next dispute.

- Dave

 

Harbr is free for site users to capture handwritten reports and store them securely. We take the hassle out of digitizing site documentation so that you can leave work at work and not worry if the dog eats the report.

For construction companies, Harbr is a central place to retrieve and download site reports, as well as a place to begin analyzing field data.

*According to the KPMG Global Construction Survey (2016), “Data and analytics is not the next big thing; it’s today’s big thing.  If you don’t make the most of it now, you’ll fall behind the competition.  Innovation is now at the heart of construction business; not just for clients and customers, but also for employees and management”.

Source: KPMG, 2016. Building a technology advantage. Global Construction Survey 2016.

TipsDave Kim