3 ways for engineering and construction companies to go digital

As engineering and construction (E&C) companies increasingly turn their attention to digital, one of the most pressing questions is “How?”

How should E&C companies be adapting in order to integrate digital technology in their businesses?

There’s no neat, single answer to this question – every company is different and the industry itself is known for its complexity – but here are three crucial considerations for E&C companies that want to get serious about digital:

1. Digital strategy

“While technology can certainly assist you in hitting your targets by helping organise processes, integrate systems, allow for better communication, identify efficiencies, boost productivity, cut costs and more, it’s not as simple as adopting a basket of one-off technologies and then the problem is solved. To go from current state to totally transformed (no one is there yet), many factors will come into play but, without question, you cannot get there without a well-planned strategy.”

This observation comes from EY’s 2018 report, How are engineering and construction companies adapting digital to their businesses?, which surveyed companies in the E&C value chain. Of the respondents, 98% agreed that digital solutions will be critical to the future viability of their company, but only a quarter of them claimed to have a digital strategy and agenda in place – and of those, many still felt that they weren’t highly prepared for a digital future.

What emerges from these findings is that there is still a long way to go for many companies in terms of embedding digital into their strategic approach. Those who do so successfully will have a competitive advantage.

EY also suggests that a paradigm shift is necessary around the nature of digital generally:

“In reality, there is no end to learning and preparation; all digital strategies must have flexibility incorporated into the design to help ensure their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing future. Essentially there is no ‘there’ to get to — the target continues to move.”

2. Digital transformation

 

Leadership and talent

Fostering curiosity towards new technologies and openness to change is crucial for E&C companies. Transformational leaders need to embrace and model this receptiveness within the organisation.

The next task is to either train up existing employees or hire new recruits to fill gaps in talent and execute the digital strategy – companies should choose which option is best for them.

Innovation

Part of an organisation’s cultural transformation should be developing its willingness to innovate. EY found that 63% of respondents feel that digital innovation is very likely to transform their business but 67% of respondents are spending less than 1% on research and development (R&D) in digital as a percentage of turnover.

Ramping up R&D within organisations should be a priority in any digital strategy. This requires building in time for project managers to research and trial new technology. Companies that fail to capitalise on the digital opportunities available now and don’t invest in ongoing innovation risk being left behind by their competition.

3. Digital tools and systems

Gathering reliable data and getting value from it relies on the integration of multiple systems.

Duplication, fragmentation and confusion are common side effects of having systems that don’t speak to each other. Conversely, notes EY’s report, “connectivity and interoperability of systems allow for streamlined processes, often flowing through one communication channel and back to multiple stakeholders to allow for real-time information sharing and producing actionable information for decision-making”.

At sitemobi, we recognise that the major concerns of E&C companies are likely to remain centered on risk management, cost management, safety and time management.

We envision a future where E&C projects run more efficiently, safely and profitably, and we continually hone our software and support its users in their digital journey.

Our fully integrated, cloud-based software streamlines:

  • daily operational performance tracking
  • live cost tracking and forecasting
  • document management
  • quality control applications
  • contract management
  • safety and environment monitoring.

Talk to us today to find out how we can help your company go digital.

Harness the power of real-time data to take back control of your construction projects

Unlock complete control of your commercial position

The potential for greater efficiency, visibility and better communication is in the hands of industry personnel, as most construction workers use smartphones or tablets on the job. However, the majority of project systems are not designed to be used on these devices.

Harness the power of real-time data by using sitemobi to capture and proactively manage three cornerstones on construction projects: time, cost, and quantity.

Drive improvements in productivity, mobility and transparency

Our daily diaries capture the events in a work shift across multiple activities, providing a comprehensive summary with live tracking of:

  • costs,
  • production quantities,
  • production rates,
  • activity progress, and
  • resource usage.

Your construction program, cost and production register, project forecast, cost and risk graphs are automatically updated as a diary is approved.

Keen to take your projects to a whole new level? Find out how.

5 tech trends driving construction in 2019

In 2019, there’s no doubt technology solutions have become entrenched in every aspect of the construction lifecycle – and they’re not going anywhere. In fact, construction technology startups received $1.05bn in investment from venture capitalists in the first half of 2018 – a record high.

5 construction tech trends to watch

Here are some of the key trends in construction tech that are changing the way projects are being planned, managed and executed.

Data, data, data

Notorious for generating huge amounts of data and then discarding it – or not even collecting it in the first place – the construction sector is finally beginning to unlock the value of its data.

Construction software like sitemobi’s construction program management software is enabling real-time collaboration, data capture and data sharing in unprecedented ways.

What has emerged as a result is a data ecosystem, where construction companies can integrate on-site and back-office systems onto a single platform. Joining all of these dots amidst the complexity of construction projects is a step forward that’s revolutionising performance, productivity, safety and decision-making.

BIM for the win

At the forefront of conversations about innovation is Building Information Modelling (BIM) – a process for managing all the information belonging to a construction project.

The output of this process is the Building Information Model, the digital description of every aspect of the built asset that can form a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle. Essentially, BIM provides a method for generating and exchanging data and information between various parties on a project.

BIM is still a hot topic in 2019, as it not only heralds an era of greater accuracy in the building process but could also hold the key to improved sustainability and safety in construction projects.

GPS growth

Already in use on many projects, GPS tracking solutions will continue to be applied in various ways, from surveying sites to managing fleets and personnel. These solutions enhance safety through real-time situational awareness and are handy for finding lost and stolen equipment too.

Experts predict that the construction sector will benefit in future from ever more sophisticated GPS-based applications – think wearable technology and autonomous vehicles, for starters.

Mobile on the move

A construction workforce armed with mobile phones and iPads is a reality now. Mobiles bring together GPS and cloud-based data, giving teams access to plans, schedules, costs, documentation and more – all in real time, regardless of whether they’re on site or in the office.

Mobile tech engenders dynamism, democracy and collaborative possibilities for construction projects that simply aren’t possible with paper, whiteboards and spreadsheets.

Cloud collaboration

Cloud technology is working hand-in-hand with mobile solutions to transform construction projects. Real-time reporting and access to data stored in the cloud allows multiple teams to access relevant information from anywhere.

Cloud-based solutions are enabling a level of connectivity that has never existed before in construction, and companies are reaping the benefits of better communication, visibility and accountability.

The cloud will continue to be an indispensable element in construction tech.

Looking ahead with sitemobi

Investing in a fully integrated construction program management solution such as sitemobi – which covers real-time cost capturing, cost forecasting, document management, collaborative dashboards and reports for the construction phase of a project – has never been more important.

Our software capitalises on the latest developments in mobile and cloud-based tech to provide construction projects with clear, reliable data for operational and strategic decision-making.

Simplicity, efficiency and sustainability are at the core of everything we do at sitemobi. Our engineering, development and support teams are always looking to the future, providing solutions and leadership as technology continues to transform the construction industry.

Construction tech: digital tools save lives and money

The safety of workers and the profitability of construction projects are paramount concerns for any construction company. Bosses who put off investing in construction tech, claiming that they need to save money or it’s too hard to overhaul their systems, place their businesses – and their workers – at a significant disadvantage.

As pioneering computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper famously declared, “The most damaging phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’.” While the construction industry has been slow to embrace technological change, the companies that are taking the plunge and implementing construction management software are reaping the benefits.

What technology?

The tools being used by smart construction companies utilise:

  • on-site GPS, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile applications
  • cloud-based data management
  • automated reporting, alerts and forecasting
  • integrated back-office systems for accounting, finance and human resources.

What benefits?

The tools we’ve just listed are transforming the construction phase of projects in three key areas:

  • On-site execution: everything can be tracked in real time, including performance, variations, risks, costs and documentation.
  • Digital collaboration: teams have mobile access to project documentation and can communicate across distances and adapt plans when necessary to avoid safety risks and increasing timelines and costs.
  • Back-office integration: integrating accounting, finance and human resources systems can help companies exploit valuable project data on finances, costs and schedules.

Everyone wins

Choosing to invest in digital tools and making sure they’re integrated with the company’s business culture is a win for everybody. A more profitable project doesn’t have to come at a cost to worker safety; and worker safety doesn’t have to compromise a project’s bottom line. Ultimately, these new technologies enable a scenario where safety and profitability go hand-in-hand.

Think about it. The factors that make sites safer actually dovetail with the factors that make sites more efficient:

  • better planning
  • improved on-site coordination
  • better communication
  • reliable performance monitoring
  • real-time data capture
  • mobile access to data and documentation
  • less admin
  • fewer manual systems
  • predictive analytics
  • automated reporting.

At sitemobi, maximising worker safety and company profits are at the heart of what we do.

We’ve developed products that simultaneously address on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration. This makes us one of only a handful of companies to have developed a comprehensive digital solution to the most pressing problems in construction today.

McKinsey & Company noted in their 2017 report, The new age of engineering and construction technology, that startups like ours are making headway on issues that have plagued the industry for decades:

“Such improvements could not come at a better time, since construction projects are becoming increasingly complex and expensive, putting managers under greater pressure to improve costs, timelines, and efficiency.”

Interested in how we could help your business? Feel free to get in touch with us to find out more.

Construction projects need data-driven decision-making. Here’s why.

Given the complex, changeable and costly nature of construction, excellent project management decisions are vital. Without them, construction sites become disorganised, inefficient, expensive and unsafe.

The technological leaps we’ve seen in recent decades can seem dizzying at times, but the reality is that they offer us unprecedented potential to improve the way we plan and execute construction projects.

In construction, basing operational and strategic decisions on data that has been consistently collected and analysed can unlock extraordinary benefits.

Better decisions

Here are some of the most compelling reasons for using big data when making decisions on construction projects.

Objectivity

Reliable data that spans multiple facets of a construction project over time can give the most accurate overview of how things are working. It provides a foundation for decision-making and strategising that is informed and unbiased.

Immediacy

Live tracking of everything – from the progress of work, to locations, costs and documentation – has been made possible by GPS, mobile and cloud-based tech. Never before have we had access to so much real-time information to guide decisions.

Dynamism

Construction workers with mobile phones have become frontline gatherers of data on projects. What this means for decision-makers is that they have the best possible oversight of what’s happening on site at any given time, allowing them to be more responsive to actual circumstances and variables.

Connectivity

Real-time reporting and universal access to cloud-based data means that different teams can draw on integrated information (relating to performance, documentation, costs, safety and more) that’s always up to date. This enables better communication, better collaboration, greater accountability, and – you guessed it – better decision-making.

Efficiency

Automated reporting, alerts and forecasting use data to create efficiencies. Reducing the need for manual systems saves on time and project management resources, as well as minimising the risk of human error. These consistent, reliable reports and forecasts create clarity for decision-makers.

Measurability

Going forward, decisions and actions can be measured against strategic objectives. As more data is collected over time, decision-makers can see what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to plan better for the future.

Data-driven decisions with sitemobi

Our sitemobi cloud-based, real-time construction management solution includes:

  • daily operational performance tracking,
  • live cost tracking and forecasting,
  • document management,
  • quality control applications,
  • contract management,
  • safety and environment monitoring.

Our software streamlines all of these elements in one integrated, easy-to-use system, so that management teams can optimise efficiency, safety and performance on construction projects.

We can help you make better decisions – get in touch with us to find out more.

Tech innovations for the construction phase

Tech innovations for the construction phase

McKinsey & Company’s 2017 report The new age of engineering and construction technology has identified that most tech start-ups (about 1,000 companies) in construction and engineering are developing products targeted at the construction phase of projects.

The report found that the uses of new technology products in the construction phase fell into three “clusters”:
• on-site execution
• digital collaboration
• back-office integration.

Construction-phase clusters

On-site execution

One of the largest areas of difficulty for engineering and construction (E&C) companies, on-site issues range from low productivity to delays in material shipments. Tech for on-site execution includes:
• field productivity tools that track crew deployment and activities, helping companies to manage project staffing and on-site productivity
• safety monitoring tools.
• quality control applications.

Digital collaboration
Online collaboration tools allow multiple E&C stakeholders to communicate across distances and adapt plans when necessary to avoid increasing timelines and costs. They include tools for:
• design management, enabling changes to be made to project documents on site, rather than in an office
• contract management
• performance management
• document management.

Back-office integration
Integrating accounting, finance and human resources systems can help companies exploit valuable project data on finances, costs and schedules.

Cross-cluster tools and solutions
The report established that many start-ups were developing tools for multiple uses within the same cluster, but only 13% were developing cross-cluster tools.

Siteoffice.mobi falls into this 13% of groundbreaking start-ups whose products address on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration simultaneously – making us one of the few companies developing comprehensive solutions to the most pressing problems in E&C today.

Construction’s digital future: how can we get there faster?

Technology has already facilitated vast changes in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector, but there’s still a way to go.

We posted recently on where construction tech is headed next. Research is showing us how technology is affecting our industry now and how it stands to develop in future – but how do we respond to these changes and accelerate our journey to a digital future?

McKinsey & Company addresses this question in their 2018 report, Seizing opportunity in today’s construction technology ecosystem. They include some useful action points for the coming years for AEC firms and tech providers.

How to fast track digital progress

AEC firms

  • Invest in talent and skill building by:
    • hiring people with technical expertise
    • upskilling your existing employees in new technologies and earmarking funds for capability building.
  • Engage with the startup ecosystem by:
    • investing directly or indirectly in startups
    • partnering with them for piloting or co-developing solutions.
  • Establish conditions of success for piloting and scaling by:
    • setting aside funding in order to experiment with technology
    • bringing in outside startup expertise when needed.

Tech providers

  • Listen to the end user and adapt products by:
    • working out ‘real needs’ of customers versus ‘nice-to-have’ applications.
  • Plan for the journey to integration and consolidation by:
    • finding ways to evolve towards integrated solutions that cover multiple use cases (such as on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration)
    • strategising for ‘co-opetition’ (i.e. simultaneously collaborating and competing with other startups).

Looking to the future with siteoffice.mobi

At siteoffice.mobi, we’re one of only a handful of startups whose products span on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration, which puts us ahead of the majority of other construction tech providers.

Our cloud-based, real-time construction management solution includes:

  • daily operational performance tracking
  • live cost tracking and forecasting
  • document management
  • quality control applications
  • contract management
  • safety and environment monitoring.

Our software streamlines all of these elements in one integrated, easy-to-use system, so that management teams can optimise efficiency, safety and performance on construction projects.

As builders, engineers and software developers working together, we have genuine insight into needs of the AEC sector. We’re confident of our trajectory into the future as we collaborate to solve real problems in construction.

Think we can help you? Chat to us today.

sitemobi shortlisted for Australian Construction Awards 2019

The sitemobi team is excited to announce that our real-time cloud-based construction project management focused software and app has been shortlisted for an Australian Construction Award (ACA) this year in the Technological Innovation of the Year category.

The Australian Construction Awards are the leading construction and design awards for Australia. Hundreds of companies entered the awards in 2019, with award categories, including:

  • Health & Safety Solution of the Year,
  • Process Innovation of the Year,
  • Product Innovation of the Year,
  • Technological Innovation of the Year,
  • Supplier of the Year,
  • Sustainable Construction Award,
  • Marketing Initiative of the Year,
  • Offsite Construction Project of the Year,
  • Regeneration Project of the Year,
  • Architectural Design of the Year,
  • Women in Construction Award, and
  • Australian Build Excellence Award.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted finalists, particularly those in the Technological Innovation of the Year award category:

  • Davies Design and Construction,
  • Meriton Group,
  • My Build App,
  • Nexvia,
  • Plangrid,
  • Propeller Aero,
  • Seels Technology,
  • sitemobi,
  • Sydney Trains, and
  • UNSW.

The Australian Construction Awards are judged by a leading panel of industry experts form across the architecture, design and construction industry, with winners and runners up being announced at the ACA awards evening on Thursday 14 March 2019 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Get your tickets here.

Best of luck to all shortlisted finalists – we look forward to seeing you there!

Keep track to stay ahead: why cost tracking apps are giving construction companies the edge

Construction projects rely on accurate cost and quantity forecasts using up-to-date financial data. Get this part right and you can take control of your commercial position.

Each day, paper-based financial documentation such as dockets and invoices accumulate on site. What’s the best way to wrestle this information into a system in order to track costs and enable useful forecasting for a construction project?

Spreadsheet

Typically, paper documentation is collected, taken to an office, and then the data is typed into spreadsheets. There are downsides to this type of system:

  • It’s cumbersome and time-consuming.
  • Useful information only becomes available to managers hours later.
  • It’s easy for spreadsheets to become unwieldy and difficult to interpret.
  • Double-handling from site to office can lead to errors and incomplete data.

Mobile app

Spreadsheets begin to look feeble and inefficient when compared with the benefits of recording and processing financial data via a mobile app.

Our siteoffice.mobi app does the work of cost tracking and forecasting for you:

  • Daily costs and production quantities can be captured instantly on site using mobile devices.
  • Data entry takes minutes rather than hours, and doesn’t have to happen in an office.
  • Managers can see activity costs in real time, with live information being captured from the field.
  • Costs and quantity forecasts are updated automatically in real time.
  • The cost register can be filtered by date, resource type, business, docket number or keywords. The full approval history can be viewed for each cost item.
  • Forecasts can be updated daily or weekly, rather than monthly, allowing for more control and proactive management.
  • Cost tracking and forecasting happens on the same integrated platform.

Want to increase efficiency, accuracy and sustainability on your construction projects?

Cloud-based software and mobile apps enable construction professionals to swiftly and accurately capture data in real-time on site, saving valuable time, money and effort, while drastically reducing or eliminating paper usage, and ensuring superior quality data and documentation for client handover at the end of the project.

Do these construction project problems sound familiar?

Double handling data

  • On site data capture = pen and paper + mobile phone photos
  • Data is typed and collated into an electronic format later at the office
  • Data is not real time – only becomes visible & useful hours later

Lost documentation

  • Documents are manually transported between office and site
  • Some documentation is required on site to continue operation. If lost – work stops until the document has returned

What a waste!

  • Construction projects generate a massive amount of paper (around 435 sheets per day on average)
  • Becomes a nightmare to organise and store – scanned paperwork takes up much more storage room than digital documents

Client handover

  • At the end of the project, clients literally receive a truck load of paper work
  • Clients often commit substantial resources to organise, scan & arrange documentation
  • When an adjoining or extension project comes along, investigation into what previously happened means spending money, time and effort

There is a better way!

Mobile and cloud-based technology, such as siteoffice.mobi offers an environmentally sustainable option that saves construction teams time, money and effort, while providing clients with good quality data and documentation at project handover.