More and more construction contractors are using new technologies in the form of mobile and Web-based software solutions to qualify subcontractors, keep workers safe, and manage their vehicles and equipment.
For example, Weitz Co. (Des Moines, IA) uses a centralized electronic project bid and prequalification submission database for its subcontractors that has significantly reduced the labor and time needed to process submissions. Says Vice President of Risk Management Maria Matamoros, “We’re already seeing enhanced consistency in our pre-qualifications, and it’s helping us generate a high-quality subcontractor pool.”
Hoar Construction (Birmingham, AL) has a Web-based portal through which managers use their company-issued iPads to file state and federal inspection site inspection forms and access subcontractor evaluation reports, as well as a digital library of safety manuals and tutorials, “More importantly, it has allowed us to keep our superintendents and our project managers in the field,” according to Hoar Corporate Safety Director Bart Wilder, “which gives them more time to evaluate and find ways of mitigating risk.”
Goodfellow Brothers Inc. (Kihei, HI) upgraded its fleet with wireless handheld transmitters that operators use to submit daily inspection reports on their vehicles. During the two years since the upgrade, the company slashed its Auto Liability losses by more than 70%.
However, contractors need to make sure that new risk management technologies are compatible with their operations and workforce. “One size certainly does not fit all,” warns the Weitz Co.’s Matamoros. Goodfellow President Chad Goodfellow describes the new system as “a challenge for some of our people and for our management, because we want to demonstrate that we do trust our employees, but at the same time, we have to trust and verify.”
New technologies can certainly improve efficiency, and even safety, but they must be adapted to the needs of your crew and implemented carefully. Are you using new technologies? Let us know! We’re interested to see how our clients are putting technology to work for their companies.