Just getting started and establishing a process is a huge challenge in and of itself. A critical business need must be identified so that support from management can be built. Typically, the needs are identified by those suffering the most pain from the current mobile time collection processes, or put another way, by those who stand to benefit the most by upgrading these practices.
As explained in this recent post, the driving factors often vary by the size of the company. In small entities, it is often the business owner, since he is intimately involved in most aspects of the business, and often aware of the inadequacies and inefficiencies of paper-based or spreadsheet-based processes. For larger contractors, the pain may be felt by payroll or financial administrators bogged down with a cumbersome process, or it may come from field management having to deal with too much paperwork. The push can also come from forward-looking IT managers or company executives understanding the significant benefits to be realized from implementing a mobile time collection system. Whatever the reason, the main thing is to get the project started and to build momentum for it within the company.
Low Technology Skill Level
One of the main barriers to acquiring mobile technology is a low technology skill level, especially for field workers in construction. Historically, construction workers have been guys interested in using their hands. The skills that they have acquired have generally been craft-based.
Today’s construction environment is forcing technology on the field staff. By delivering tremendous improvements in efficiency and production, mobile applications are having a huge impact on construction. And the best ones are very easy to use. They offer intuitive interfaces that allow even the technology challenged to operate them with ease.
The lack of sufficient technology skills also aids in forming another barrier to implementing a mobile time clock solution – employee resistance. Human beings are, by nature, resistant to change. The further we venture from our comfort zone, the more resistance we offer. For construction workers in the field, using mobile software is getting way out there!
To keep employee resistance down, we suggest you try these things: 1) involve as many field employees as possible from the start of your mobile time tracking project, 2) utilize “champions” of the software to help those who might be struggling, and 3) make sure access to technical support staff is readily available, especially in the early going of your project.
Finding the Right Solution
Another barrier is the amount of time and effort involved in finding the right solution, both of which can be substantial. You will aid the process tremendously, by first knowing what your most pressing issues are, and also what features and functionality you’ll need to solve those issues.
Finally, there is always the financial cost of purchasing a construction time clock system. The total cost of putting together a system is dependent on a number of factors. Are you going to provide company devices for use in the field or will you use a BYOD policy? If you go the BYOD route, are you going to subsidize the employees for using their personal devices for business? How are you going to sync your time records to the office? In most cases, this comes down to a choice between a data plan from your cell phone provider or utilizing some kind of Wi-Fi connection. If you choose to utilize Wi-Fi, you will either have to have your own wireless network, or go to an establishment with public Wi-Fi like McDonalds or Starbucks. Having a data plan with your cell phone provider, while more expensive allows you to sync your records at any time you’re in the cellular network.
The last component of the financial cost of a mobile time tracking system is the mobile time tracking software itself. Not all programs are created equal, and not all programs cost the same. Your goal should be to find the application that delivers that highest return on investment. You should be looking for the solution that provides the maximum savings to your company by increasing efficiency and productivity. In effect, that is the true purpose of software – to make you more efficient and productive.
"In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back"