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The New Age of Project Management Software for Remote Construction & Installation Projects

Field Operations Platforms offer a significant opportunity for Subcontractors, Trades, and Installation companies to increase Productivity and Profitability

By Rob Tymchyshyn, Co-Founder, Fieldclix Software
For over a decade, digital technologies have helped improve efficiency and profitability across the majority of global business sectors. However, the construction industry has lagged behind. A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates productivity gains greater than 50 percent are possible with the adoption of new technologies, which equates to a 30 percent or higher reduction in operating costs.

Existing legacy applications and spot solutions, such as spreadsheets, email, and basic timekeeping tools, ultimately struggle to provide accurate and timely updates.

The good news is that an emerging category of software called Field Operations Platforms can help these companies gain visibility and control over their remote project activities.


What is a Field Operations Platform? Think of it as a Project Management tool purpose-built for companies deploying field resources to multiple project sites every day.

Representative features to look for in a Field Operations Platform include field crew scheduling and tracking, timekeeping and payroll automation, project budgeting, job costing, task tracking, and document management.

Field operations platforms, such as Fieldclix, can help project managers oversee and track larger volumes of projects while maintaining a tight focus on quality and costs. Budgets can be created in advance and tracked — including in-house labor, materials and third-party services — helping project managers focus on profitability and risk management versus reacting to daily fires.

Get Daily Updates on Remote Project Status
Field operation platforms can also help finance and accounting departments manage the growing volume of vendor and client transactions, which helps keep a close eye on revenue, and cash flow. As soon as project milestones are met, invoices can be immediately generated and sent to the client with all supporting materials. Committed costs can also be tracked at the project level to make sure there are no outstanding vendor invoices that have not yet come in.

Improved collaboration across the organization

Mobile applications integrated into the field operations platforms allow for a more fluid collaboration between project managers and field crews to address changing field conditions and client priorities. The Fieldclix mobile application provides field crews with various tools, task lists, and job aids to help ensure successful deployments, reduce repeat visits, and document billable change-order conditions. The manual burden and inaccuracy related to processing timesheets can be eliminated by automating the timecard generation and payroll processes. Mobile tools can also help accelerate the learning curve for new technologies and client requirements by providing field crews remote access to client documents, methods and procedures, and step-by-step equipment installation guides.

A single source for all your project data

Lastly, business owners need access to data to assess the operational and financial health of the business, from the corporate level all the way down to individual projects. By the time monthly reports from accounting systems are produced, it is often too late to identify at-risk projects. The rich set of operational and financial metrics captured by a field operations platform provides a powerful data set to analyze and help make important tactical and strategic business decisions.

Field operations platforms also provide the ability to track and report on operational and financial metrics at a much more detailed level than previously available. Representative metrics and potential benefits include the ability to:

  • Increase field productivity by 20 to 30 percent
  • Reduce repeat or unnecessary site visits by 5 to 10 percent
  • Reduce time spent on manually intensive administrative tasks by 10 to 15 percent
  • Accelerate cash collection by 10 to 20 percent
  • Reduce material and asset costs by 10 to 20 percent

Finding the right software for your company

There are several factors to take into consideration when selecting a field operations platform. Dan Denda from IronBo focused on the breadth of features, the wireless industry-specific capabilities, and the flexibility to accommodate his company's (and his client's) needs. Denda said he specifically wanted to give his employees the ability to efficiently manage increasingly complex projects across a broad range of field programs.

Other platform selection factors include cloud versus in-house hosting, flexible pricing plans (based on the number of users and features deployed), the availability of ongoing support services, the time and cost to deploy the platform, the availability of industry-specific processes and checklists, and integrations with existing IT platforms, such as accounting and payroll systems.
Prioritize your pain points and focus on addressing those that provide maximum impact without introducing too much change to your organization.
Dan Denda, President, Ironbo
Denda cautioned against deploying too many capabilities at once. "Assess and prioritize your pain points and focus on addressing those that provide maximum impact without introducing too much change to your organization," he said. "As employees adapt to the new tool, you can bring in additional capabilities to achieve a broader set of benefits available with a full-featured platform."

Accelerate the path to Benefits

When deploying new software tools, end-user compliance can have a significant effect on achieving the projected benefits. Organizational compliance can be accelerated through the involvement of your employees from the start. Two-way communication will allow the employees to voice their feedback, create buy-in for your operational and financial goals and provide visibility into the program's eventual success. Operations dashboards projected on overhead monitors allow all employees to visualize how the organization is performing.

Your time-to-benefit speed can be accelerated through clearly defined business policies and expectations for individual roles. The ability to track an individual's performance with operational key performance indicators creates an opportunity to give incentives to employees and to reward them for positive results. Lastly, encouraging your early adopters to help pull others along into proper use of the platform will also help overall compliance.

How do you know when you're ready to deploy a new field operations platform? Critical success factors include shared priorities across company leadership, an established focus on operational efficiency, acknowledgement that current tools are limiting your ability to scale, a comfort level adopting new technology, and a willingness to commit the organization's time to the platform deployment program.

In summary, field operations platforms offer a significant opportunity for wireless construction companies to increase productivity and profitability for existing field programs, while helping to fine-tune operational and financial processes to manage the wave of next-generation infrastructure projects.

Is Fieldclix right for you?

Are remote labor hours your biggest cost? Do you struggle to get accurate, timely job costs? Do you have to go to multiple sources for project documents and status?

Fieldclix is built to help Subcontractors, Trades and other companies with a mobile workforce address the unique challenges that come with deploying field resources to multiple project sites every day.

Unlike many other platforms, Fieldclix provides real-time visibility into remote activities and daily updates on progress and costs across all your active projects so you always know where you stand.

Schedule a discussion with a Fieldclix representative to learn more about our features and pricing so you can decide whether we're a good fit for you.