Mobile Goes Mainstream





More than 80% of U.S. adults now own smartphones, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. That’s more than double the level reported in 2011. Tablet use has also skyrocketed, with about half of Americans owning these devices.1 As mobile goes mainstream, it’s being used in just about every workplace, including construction sites, with apps like the Cat® App and Cat Inspect making it easy (and free) to track equipment location, use, health and more.


Top five uses

How are contractors using mobile technology on the job? Sage Construction and Real Estate and the Associated General Contractors of America asked that question to a group of industry pros. Here’s how they responded.2

61% – Daily field reports

56% – Drawings, photos and documents

54% – Customer and job information

46% – Scheduling

61% – Daily field reports

The message is clear. Your competitors aren’t limiting their mobile use to personal tasks like music, games, fitness tracking and social media. They’re leveraging these devices to gain an advantage — higher productivity, lower costs, stronger customer relationships and a safer workplace. Will you join them or watch on the sidelines as they take the lead?


Focus on process

Making the move to mobile can be overwhelming, given the huge selection of apps available for construction professionals. As you consider where you might apply mobile technology, think in terms of apps that streamline these processes:

  • Bid management – Create, manage and distribute bids and proposals.
  • Change orders – Receive and execute changes to product plans.
  • Project management – Monitor project status and track time required to complete tasks.
  • Scheduling – Allocate people and assets to tasks documented in product management plan.
  • Equipment management – Track asset location, use, fuel consumption and other critical indicators of productivity and health.
  • Inspection – Capture and share inspection data, document problems, open and manage work orders.
  • Customer relationship management – Organize, store and share critical information related to customer accounts.
  • Document control – Provide a single place to store and share bids, RFQs and other important documents.

Of course, when it comes to optimizing core processes with mobile technology, integration is key. Mobile apps deliver the highest return when they are either part of or easily integrated into the overall business system.


Spotlight on safety

Spend a few minutes in the app store and you’ll find some interesting standalone apps that enhance jobsite safety.

  • Fall Safety was developed for people who work in high places. It uses an iPhone’s accelerometer to detect a fall, then sounds an audible alarm for 30 seconds and alerts emergency contacts by email, text and voice message.
  • OSHA Heat Safety Tool calculates the heat index on a worksite and displays a risk level for outdoor workers. It sends reminders about protective measures that should be taken at given risk levels and informs the user about signs and symptoms of heat illness and how to respond in a heat emergency.
  • Safety Meeting for Construction Contractors provides an easy way to document OSHA-required safety meetings. It introduces more than 950 safety topics and includes checklists and guidelines for reporting meetings, incidents, accidents and near-misses.


Make your move to mobile

There are many factors to consider as you explore a move to mobile.

  • Infrastructure – What’s the wireless availability in the areas you typically work?
  • Critical processes – Where can mobility drive the biggest efficiency gains?
  • Economics – What does the payback period look like?
  • Integration – How easily can an app be integrated into your business system?
  • Security – How will you protect and control access to data?
  • People – Who will use each app? What kind of training will be required?
  • Support – Will you need internal IT expertise?
  • Equipment – Who will provide the devices — you or your employees?
  • Quick wins – Are there opportunities to make small changes that deliver fast results?

Answering these questions won’t be easy. Your best bet is to work with someone who understands your business — a trusted advisor who will help apply mobile technology strategically to maximize safety, efficiency and profitability. Talk to your local Cat dealer about what’s available. And make sure to take advantage of the free Cat App for on-the-go equipment management and the free Cat Inspect app for capturing, sharing and taking action on inspection results.




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