Technology in a Culture of Curiosity
When fully implemented, this tool will give us customizable, visual dashboards and reports for the key performance indicators (KPIs) we want to track and manage: lean, safety, quality, schedule, and financials. We’ll have the information we need to clearly see our opportunities to increase productivity and reduce waste, track trends, analyze costs by company or by project, find data entry errors, and spot “red flags” that could hinder a project’s success. Eventually, we plan to take it a step further by creating custom dashboards for owners, so they can track their project’s progress in real time.
Sometimes, the technology you really need doesn’t yet exist, so you must be creative. After struggling to design and print legible, project-specific crisis management cards for our workers in the field to carry and easily reference, we decided to approach this low-tech problem from a completely different angle: We have developed our own crisis management app, named Smart Safety.
As a worst-case scenario example, if a backhoe were to break an unmarked, high-pressure gas line, it would be critical that everyone on-site remembered what to do and where to go, or was able to quickly access that information. Precious minutes needed for an expeditious evacuation could be lost in the relay of information from the field crew to the foreman, to the project superintendent, and to the other staff on-site.
Our app uses credentialed log-ins and geolocation/geofencing to connect teams and provide project-specific crisis management and safety information for field staff on all active jobsites. In the event of an emergency, anyone on-site can use the app to immediately notify the project’s superintendent. When this alert is approved, a push notification is issued to all users on-site to inform them of the emergency. They will instantly know what they need to do next. They also have the ability through the app to message, call, and email project team members, as well as call or get directions to the nearest clinic, hospital, police station, or fire station.
Smart Safety is currently in beta testing internally, but we aren’t keeping this to ourselves. We plan to launch it to the public this fall at smartsafetyalert.com, so all interested construction firms can have access to this important tool.
Small Changes, Big Impact
The future of technology in our industry isn’t just in the office; it’s also in the field, and in the pocket of every employee. And, you don’t have to be a big company to have big ideas for expanding your firm’s use of technology. Even small efficiencies or improvements can have an outsized impact. A commitment to continuous improvement and a creative approach to the utilization of technology can help any company level the playing field.