Construction has begun to embrace new technology that increases efficiency and safety. Meanwhile, a widespread digital transformation that eliminates paperwork and manual data transfer has sped up with the pandemic. Shifting to digital processes reduces unnecessary contact at job sites—bringing businesses closer to a touchless jobsite. Digital solutions also increase overall efficiency and safety, making many contractors want to keep them around for the long haul.
Construction’s biggest struggles: efficiency and safety
There are many moving parts involved in construction projects, and this complexity has held the industry back. Levels of productivity in construction have been flat for decades—and the ongoing labor shortage hasn’t helped matters.
Some inefficiencies in construction occur in the building work itself, but other processes also slow down business, including back-end tasks that require workers’ input such as hiring and onboarding, time tracking, scheduling and payroll.
Safety is also an ongoing challenge for the construction industry. Worker deaths, injuries and illnesses have all declined by at least 50% over the last few decades, but the industry is still among the deadliest. Construction has begun adopting hands-free, set-it-and-forget-it technology such as wearables with biometrics, location trackers and voltage sensors to help make job sites safer.
Another impetus for change came suddenly with the arrival of COVID-19. According to Dodge Data & Analytics studies from early summer of 2020, 75% of contractors surveyed have made changes to enable social distancing on their job sites. This has included allowing office staff to work from home as well as adopting more cloud-based technology that enables the exchange of documents and data from afar—eliminating the need for physical proximity for tasks related to HR and project management. Three-quarters of the same respondents said they expect to keep the changes they instituted in place.
We’ll take a closer look at how construction businesses are finding increased efficiency with technology that streamlines operations and contributes to a touchless job site.
What is a touchless job site?
A touchless job site is one on which common touch points—from sign-in and safety sheets to punch clocks, clipboards and crowded site trailers—are reduced or eliminated. Reducing touch points makes job sites run more efficiently.
Moving toward a touchless job site
Sites can become more touch-free with the use of technology to onboard, clock in, check schedules, report incidents and more. Below are a few of the tools construction is increasingly adopting to reduce or eliminate the inefficiency caused by paper forms, timesheets, clipboards and other forms of manual information transfer:
- Internet of Things – Internet of Things (IoT)-outfitted devices and machinery are equipped with sensors that can detect certain conditions, patterns or behavior—such as the shutting down or starting of an engine, or a temperature threshold being met—and then send the data to the cloud via wireless connectivity. Construction is beginning to use more IoT devices to monitor equipment, replacing the need for manual reporting on a paper log, Automating this collection of data removes the need for clipboards and paperwork that require contact and are vulnerable to human error.
- Wearables – Wearables are sensors built into the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by workers. They are designed to measure bodily and environmental conditions for safety. Wearables can monitor metrics like repetitive movement, location, posture or vitals such as temperature or heart rate. These vitals are then transmitted touch-free, both to the worker via an app, as well as to the office. GPS enabled wearables can locate workers within a job site, which eliminates the need for sign-in. Some 23% of contractors say they expect to implement wearables by 2023.
- Facial recognition– Facial recognition software, which measures the contours and measurements of the face and stores them to match with an employee photo, is being adopted at construction sites to enable hands-free site access and monitor safety and productivity. According to a 2019 projection, the facial recognition market is expected to grow from $3.6 billion to $7 billion by 2025.
- App-based workforce management – Workforce management options that automate tedious tasks, streamline data collection and eliminate paperwork were already gaining ground in the construction industry, and the move toward adoption has only been accelerated by the pandemic. According to recent AGC surveys, 60% of contractors expect to use mobile technology for time tracking in 2021 versus 40% in 2019. Cloud-based solutions that eliminate the need for contact points at job site or office include applicant tracking software, onboarding software with cloud-based tax forms, and time and attendance software where clock-ins and clock-outs are done via app on individual devices—no more punch clocks or time sheets to be collected by the site supervisor.
Advantages of managing a touchless job site
The shift toward a touchless job site should excite both construction contractors and employees. Wearables and IoT devices keep employees safer by automating the monitoring of health conditions or the status of the equipment they use. Cloud-based technology brings increased ease for workers, who don’t have to wield pen, paper or clipboards.
Touchless options alleviate many pain points for employers as well. With touch-free facial recognition technology securing job site entry points, or wearables on workers’ PPE ensuring they don’t overheat on a hot day, safety and security become more automated and supervisors can focus on moving projects forward. When employees can self-manage job applications, new hire paperwork or time and activity tracking on their mobile devices, this saves management time and headaches.
Arcoro’s HR modules are designed to reduce administrative workload while providing construction and field service applicants and employees with convenient self-service. Our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) allows candidates a login-free experience for quick application completion that syncs to the cloud—no paperwork required. With our cloud-based Onboarding software, new hires can be ready to hit the ground running on Day One by signing in and completing compliance forms online, from anywhere.
Arcoro’s ExakTime time tracking software eliminates paper timecards or timesheets. The hours spent filling them out, collecting them, and reentering them into your system are a thing of the past. It also allows for activity tracking and much more, and cloud syncing ensures that payroll is accurate.
Reducing paper increases efficiency for supervisors, project managers and HR staff, not to mention workers. Cloud-based HR processes with employee self-service can be handled from anywhere, which is ideal for remote workers and hires.
Contact Arcoro to discover how our cloud-based HR solutions can bring you closer to a touchless job site.