Think of communication as the glue holding your team together. Without it, information doesn't flow, mistakes happen and projects are delayed. While each of us may individually believe we are strong communicators, that will only take you so far as a team. If you want to supercharge communication on your projects, you need to be methodic about it. Here are three things to consider:
- How you record information
- How you share it
- How you organize and track details
Let's start with recording. Whether your people are in the field or at the office, they either need to memorize everything or record it in some fashion. And let's face it — few of us have photographic memories. We forget or vaguely recall things. Critical details are overlooked, change orders are forgotten, the schedule slips and all that boils down to costs increasing. Not good.
Traditionally, your team members — from project foremen to field engineers — have favored pen and pencil, emails or texts for recording information. It makes sense. Paper is free, easy to use and incredibly flexible. But in the long run, paperwork can be highly inefficient and time-consuming.
Computers are a bit more troublesome. Your project engineers in the trailer or back at the office may like them. They are powerful, well connected and have large screens. But for your supers, foremen or subs at the job site, getting to a computer is what makes it hard. Kiosks on the jobsite can help, but they never quite cut it.
What's the solution? You most likely have it in your pocket right now. It's your smartphone.
Smartphones are easy to use — virtually all of your team members are already thoroughly familiar with them. And nobody will have to undergo extra training to get up to speed.
Smartphones let you quickly and simply record precise, media-rich information. Snap a progress photo. Record a video to document a procedure. Type a quick note to remember what was decided. And best of all, everything can be shared at the push of a button with all your team members.
If you haven't done so already, ensure that every single project manager, foreman, sub, vendor, and other essential team members are provided a smartphone. And whatever you do, keep it simple. Speed is what makes a phone good, so don't ruin everything with complicated or cumbersome apps. Even if a solution supposedly "integrates" with your existing technology, it won't matter if your people don't end up using it. That's an uphill battle you don't want to fight every single day on site and that's why we created Fieldwire.
So talk to us and ensure that your entire construction team has what it needs to capture and record key information — and you're on your way to greater productivity and happier clients.
In the next post, "Sharing in your time-critical environment. Moving from smart push to smart pull." we will focus on — you guessed it — the sharing aspect.
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