From the roads we drive on to growing commercial and industrial areas to the homes we live in, construction projects help breathe new life into under-utilized areas, create new spaces for communities to gather, and keep the infrastructure we rely on standing. Construction projects play a critical role in the US economy, with construction spending amounting to $917.4 billion in the first six months of 2023.
Like many industries, the construction landscape is currently facing struggles to fill gaps in its workforce. As of July 2023, there were almost 400,000 open construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To mitigate this challenge, construction companies and technicians are turning to technology to support their existing workforce and recruit new workers.
Mitigate Downtime with Proactive Maintenance
On job sites, unexpected breakdowns can mean lost productivity, project delays, and substantial monetary losses. It also takes significant time and effort to resolve mechanical issues, a challenge for construction crews already trying to get more done with fewer workers. For example, when a machine malfunctions on a site, construction professionals must stop working and pivot their focus to understanding the problem, finding a new replacement machine, or working with a mechanic to identify the repair process. If this continues to happen with critical machinery on site, it can significantly set construction projects back.
Rugged mobile technology helps construction crews and machinery technicians avoid these challenges by giving them the computing power needed to monitor machine performance and schedule maintenance before needs arise, all without leaving the construction site. Since these devices are meant to withstand harsh conditions—like dust, dirt, and extreme heat—construction crews can monitor performance from the job site and work with technicians from anywhere to address machine issues to keep projects moving. This kind of proactive and preventive maintenance, such as fixing components, routine fluid check-ups (oil, coolant, and fuel), and replacing parts that need updates, ultimately mitigates significant downtime and cost. This keeps the construction crew focused on the most pressing aspects of the job.
Conduct Diagnostics from Anywhere
Construction companies and their workforce often juggle multiple large-scale projects at once and staying up to date on progress across sites is critical to success. For project managers and technicians who move from site to site throughout the day, the ability to run remote diagnostics on machinery and gain insight on a project’s progress improves efficiency and avoids potential delays.
Mobile technology plays a pivotal role in making this possible. For instance, investing in a rugged 2-in-1 computer with a detachable screen gives workers and technicians a flexible tablet that can be easily taken on the go to diagnose issues, look up manuals and warranty information, and communicate in real-time needed next steps. While in the field, workers can run remote diagnostics from anywhere to identify what machines or sites are a priority. To help employee satisfaction and efficiency, rugged mobile devices are built for the conditions at a construction site, whether rain or shine, cold or hot, or dirt or dust, so workers can reduce project completion times.
Harness the Power of Connectivity
Rugged mobile solutions also enhance connectivity for the construction industry. Worksites can generate petabytes of data from processes like progress reports or machine inspections. With remote connectivity and a rugged purpose-built mobile computer, employees spend less time traveling to the office just to transfer or access data. Workers can share information with their teams in real-time straight from the job site.
Mobile technology pre-loaded with inventory management software is also incredibly advantageous. With mobile inventory tracking enabled through cloud computing, project managers can quickly pinpoint the location of tools and materials at any given time to ensure every worker and job site has exactly what they need to complete a job in a timely manner.
The combined benefits of job site real-time communication, proactive maintenance practices, and rugged mobile technology are poised to continue transforming the construction industry. Implementing these practices allows projects to progress on schedule and avoid downtime, which positively impacts the bottom line.
According to Deloitte, construction firms are currently “gradually shifting from primarily manual processes to point solutions and single-use cases, or ‘pockets of digital.’” Despite this positive progress, fundamental shifts are necessary to entice workers and transform the industry to meet modern demands. Rugged mobile solutions can support the industry’s transformation by giving workers devices and solutions that streamline processes and proactively solve potential setbacks.
With the construction industry forecasted to reach more than $2 trillion in 2025, it will be increasingly critical to improve worker experience with technology. Offering devices that meet the unique environmental and workflow needs of the construction industry is critical to remediating industry challenges and allowing workers to approach their workday more productively—and end their day with satisfaction. This is non-negotiable if we’re to continue building the infrastructure of tomorrow.
Michael Trafton is a business development manager for Panasonic Connect North America. He has deep knowledge of and experience with technology solutions and applications for the enterprise space. He develops and implements strategic business plans to support and grow Panasonic Connect’s business, with customer relationship management and customer experience at the core.