Let me make an educated guess. If you’re reading this article, it means that you’re interested in swapping out pen and paper for digital solutions. And why wouldn’t you? Mobile documentation is much faster and safer.
Believe me, I know.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a deep dive and explore all the pros and cons of mobile data collection and the differences between mobile and offline documentation.
We’re all too familiar with pen and paper documentation. Your foremen visit the site, take their blueprints, design and do markings on them with pen and paper. When they’re done, they get back to the office and prepare a report based on their assessment. And it does have some advantages. One advantage to be more more precise.
Paper Documentation Benefits
- The most apparent advantage is that anyone can do it. If you have older employees they may be more resistant to change, hence more unwilling to try out new technology.
- The size of printed floor plans might be bigger than the screen size of the device.
- It’s cheaper in the short run. Paper costs next to nothing compared to the monthly cost of specialised software.
That is not a lot of advantages, but it is important when considering a switch. If your workforce is composed of mostly older foremen, this is something you have to keep in mind (I do have one trick which you can use to get them excited about switching, I’ll show you later in this article).
Paper Documentation Disadvantages
- It’s very time consuming. And not just at the site, but in the preparation phase, too. You just copy the case files to your mobile device and on you go. At the site ,you don’t have to have endless rolls of blueprints and designs. The only thing you need? That’s right, your mobile device.
- You’re prone to making errors. Take me for example. One time I mistook a 1 for a 7 and ended up generating a huge financial cost for the company I worked for.
- On-site cooperation is a hassle. If your team needs to be in different parts of a construction site, you will have to copy all the data to one centralised plan.
- You have to manually prepare the report based on your markings. Not mention you have to add photo attachments manually to the case folder. And just to be safe, you create digital versions of it, so you also have to scan it. Talk about time consumption.
- It’s bad for the environment. Tons and tons of paper is wasted needlessly every year just by printing and stacking these plans.
- Increasing rate of dissatisfaction with work. Your foremen or supervisors should be at the site to guide the work, not wrapped in paperwork (which just keeps increasing).
- What if repairs have to be made? How do you set reminders? It’s a luck game. If the supervisor remembers, good, if not, uh-oh.
- Safety. Your foremen should oversee the project and create a safe environment for everyone. How can they do that, if they’re wrapped in paper?
On the other end of the spectrum is mobile documentation with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Mobile Documentation Advantages
- It saves a lot of time. Both in the preparation phase and at the site. You don’t have to print out lots of designs and drawings. You just need to copy you r files and you’re good to go. At the site you only need your mobile device.
- It’s safe. You can be sure that all your markings and photos wil stay exactly where they were stored. You will also never have to worry about handwriting ever again.
- Team collaboration is a breeze. Even if your team members are in different parts of a construction site, they can work on the very same blueprint at the same time.
- You can create reports with a press of a button. You don’t have to go back to the office, copy data, prepare report, attach photos, scan everything, etc.
- The environmental footprint is next to nothing.
- More time for the right work = greater work satisfaction. Give your supervisors the freedom they need and they will be much more happy in the workplace.
- Software also sends out reminders regarding repairs so you don’t have to rely on your foremen’s memory.
- Work safety. By being able to oversee the site more efficiently, your supervisors can create a safer workplace for the entire team.
Mobile Documentation Disadvantages
- Cost. While this is only a short term disadvantage, the reality is that software has a monthly cost.
- Resistance to change. You older employees might be scared of using new, never before used technology.
After a quick analysis of all the pros and cons of both methods, I think it’s safe to say that mobile data collection offers the best value for any company working in the construction industry.
Yes, software does have a monthly cost, but if you weigh it against how much work-time it saves, you’ll realise that it’s actually a cheaper alternative than pen and paper.
And if you can find a software that is simple and easy to use so you can get you older team members on board, there really is no reason not to make the switch.
Remember when I talked about how I made a 100.000 euro mistake? It’s true, it happened. What I would have given to have such a software!
I knew there had to be a better, simpler way.
That’s why I created Dotag
Based on my experience, Dotag is specifically designed for foremen/supervisors with a user friendly interface with
It was designed to be efficient and super easy to use. You can check out our case studies here, but to give you a gist, the companies working with Dotag have been able to save 500 hours of work-time/year and 10hours/person/worksite visit.
Our easy to use interface also makes it desirable for older employees.
Oh yeah, and it’s dirt cheap. I don’t think software should cost an arm and a leg. It should be a helpful tool that helps your team do the work they love, the way they want and with the freedom they deserve.
Try it out for free! Or schedule a remote presentation.
Have any questions? I’m happy to chat. You can find our contact information here.
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