Mike Rydin, CEO of Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS), weighs in on how the construction industry is adapting to technological change and focusing on safety for everyone involved.
CEO, Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS)
What is the single most important step a construction business can take to improve its bottom line?
The single most important step is becoming more efficient, and one of the easiest and currently relevant ways to do that is to eliminate paper. Not only is this safer today, but it eliminates the logistics and wasted time around handling paper, can save the person who is entering the data significant time, and can give field workers immediate feedback about how they are doing, while instantly distributing data throughout the company for quicker decisions to correct costly misunderstandings or errors.
In 2020, how is technology being used to advance the construction industry?
The companies we see continuing to thrive in 2020’s challenging climate use tech to turn their field employees and project managers into knowledge workers, empowering them with data to make good decisions and plan ahead. PMs have always synthesized information from dozens of sources to solve complex problems; with today’s workforce shortages, they are often keeping track of multiple projects at once remotely. Putting organized data at their fingertips makes them more productive and reduces errors. We expect to see more companies equipping workers with next-level data analysis through drone imaging and business intelligence tools.
What questions should companies be asking their technology partners before committing to a long-term partnership?
Ask if you’ll be able to get on the phone or chat with them at any hour — you never know when your users will need support. That’s why HCSS has 24/7 instant support: a knowledgeable, in-house support team answering the phone in three rings or less.
Also ask how they incorporate customer needs into their development roadmap. A company with an annual user group meeting and proactive customer success team will scale up with you, adding features that matter to you. Finally, ask about a money-back guarantee. A great partner will have skin in the game and want to ensure you get the most value out of the software.
How much time and effort does it take to eliminate paper on a construction job site?
It depends on how much a business is currently doing on paper and whether you have good software partners to assist. The team of expert implementers at HCSS works with customers to eliminate paper on the job site in 30 days. If you have a knowledgeable partner who is willing to build your team’s proficiency in new software, consult on process and cultural changes, and provide ongoing support and education, it doesn’t have to be a massive change management project for the future — it can be a simple process that starts today.
Within the lifecycle of a construction project, where are you seeing customers derive the most value from your software solutions?
The most value comes from sharing data across all stages of the project. For example, estimators can pull in actuals from past jobs for better bids, while estimator notes and calculations are easily visible to the field. Project managers and executives can see dashboards of productions, progress, and costs on a daily basis. Dispatchers, equipment managers, and mechanics all have visibility into equipment status so the fleet stays well-maintained and equipment doesn’t break down or get taken down for maintenance when it’s needed.
Because customers are stronger with access to the full platform, we’ve developed an Unlimited User Plan, giving customers unlimited users across our estimating, operations, and fleet management software for just 0.2 percent or less of their revenue, thus allowing everyone in the organization to take advantage of the technology.
What is trucking software and how can solutions such as your own be utilized to increase health and safety on critical infrastructure job sites?
Processing paper truck tickets requires significant person-to-person contact and paper handling. Tickets managed digitally through a simple app like ours create fewer illness exposure risks while also decreasing time spent on paperwork, errors, lost documentation, invoice reconciliation, and delay in cost data. Plus, with inexpensive bluetooth beacons in trucks paired with unmanned loadbots, and/or with GPS devices paired with geofences, load and dump events can be recorded with no humans present at all, keeping people out of potentially hazardous or remote locations.