Construction and energy companies have always played on a different field level than businesses in other industries. Because most of their activity occurs at remote job sites, they have traditionally operated with severe limitations. Information exchange between the “field” and the “office” has typically been on a delayed basis, meaning many decisions were often made on dated information.
Early mobile devices such as Palm Pilots and Windows-based PDAs were a good start in that they allowed users to enter data from the field in real time. But with limited hardware resources, they could only store a small amount of data and were often slow and unreliable. Mobile infrastructure was also very limited and unstable at the time, so devices either had to be tethered to a cell phone, or worse, had to be carried back to the office or shop to sync up.
Current mobile time tracking applications enable construction contractors to successfully manage their mobile workforce and equipment, provide vital job documentation, and monitor operating results against budget benchmarks. Companies can now manage all of this on an up-to-the minute basis.
Today’s devices, including smartphones and tablets, along with almost ubiquitous high-speed internet access have changed the mobile playing field completely. Now, individuals and crew leaders can track employee time, equipment usage, and other project-related information from the jobsite as it happens and sync data instantly back to the home office.
Plus, with expanded storage capability, modern mobile devices can collect and retain much more data and even allow users to work offline when an internet connection is not available. The resulting data can also be much more accurate due to built-in technologies such as GPS, which allows real-time Geo-location and Geo-fencing.
But with all of this advanced equipment available at their fingertips, field workers vary widely in their tech savvy skills, and consequently, construction companies have not typically been early adopters of this technology. This is changing, of course, as the workforce gets younger, but it is still a major hurdle for companies wishing to automate their field operations.
Add to that the fact that the construction industry is made up of many different sub-industries, and each one has its own specific processes, procedures, and requirements when it comes to tracking jobsite and field data. For example, a commercial builder has different needs than a heavy highway contractor who operates much differently than an HVAC contractor.
What is needed is a solution that is both feature-rich and easy to use; both powerful and simple – a solution that utilizes the latest advances in mobile technology, but at the same time, doesn’t require extensive learning or advanced technical skills to operate.
The customer should be able to pick and choose what functionality they need whether it is to track labor, equipment, production, materials, per diem, expenses, budgets, or documents.
Customers should also be able to run their mobile time clock software on many different devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and time clocks, including those with biometric readers and hand punch readers. Today’s devices are much more powerful and faster than those of just a few years ago. This increase in power and speed enables greater functionality on these devices, and as a result, you’ll see much more robust applications. More can be done in the field now that previously had to be done in the office on the desktop.
Construction companies also use many different accounting software packages, although the majority is represented by a few main players. A seamless integration between the mobile time tracking application and the accounting software package is vital to insure that reliable, up-to-date information is always available for management. No longer is it acceptable to rely on old, stale information to make decisions on.
In the construction industry where the technical skills of field workers are typically not up to par with those of office users, simplicity is extremely important and helps to reduce employee resistance. We allow our users to track small or large amounts of data. It is very difficult to offer feature-rich software that is easy to use, but because of our built-in flexibility, we are confident that we have accomplished both missions.
mJobTime’s main charge is to help companies save time and money. We do this by streamlining the flow of information between the field and the office. By making it easier and faster to create records in the field and to send those records to the office, our customers save thousands of hours in the field each year. Office workers no longer have to re-enter time from the field thus saving the company thousands more hours as well as virtually eliminating mistakes. We love being able to help our customers. We want happy customers because they will spread the word on our software and our service. It’s not always easy, but it certainly is always gratifying.