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Out With the Old, In With the New

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The Construction Industry Has Been Dragging Its Feet When It Comes To Implementing Technology But With These Obvious Time Saving Benefits, It's Hard To Say No (featuring R. L. Reppert).

Technology has been a huge area of focus for most companies in the past decade. With the demands of work needing to be streamlined, eliminate errors, and completing the same amount of work with reduced staff, technology has been the driving force behind the ability to achieve these goals for each business.

In construction, technology has always been lagging and not as easily accepted as it has been in other industries for years.

Commercial building construction has always been a paper-driven industry. In years past, the entire process always required a large amount of paper. From receiving paper bid invites either via mail or fax, to reviewing paper drawings to complete your accurate bid take-off, to submitting your bid proposal via fax. Each step in the day-to-day construction process required a lot of paperwork.

Field Work Order

With today’s evolving industry, eliminating the paper portion of the work has been a huge step towards streamlining the industry. Many programmers have developed apps and programs that allow you to do the same work but entirely on a computer or tablet. PeerAssist’s Field Work Order program is a large component of the industry’s ability to relieve the paper process from a contractor and have it entirely completed electronically.

The FWO program allows a subcontractor to create a digital time and material ticket on their tablet, fill out all the information normally found on a paper ticket and review it digitally with the general contractor for their approval and signature. Once the tickets are given to the project manager, they normally would need to look up pricing for each item and write it onto the ticket. Then add the hourly rate to each employee who worked on that ticket. After each item has its appropriate unit pricing, the project manager would need to multiply each line item and add up each column to create a final total for the ticket.

With the FWO program, this is all completed automatically once the ticket is signed by the general contractor. Instead of manually adding all these prices and manually completing the mathematics involved, the project manager is now just reviewing the pricing for accuracy as each item’s price is already stored in the database. Once approved by the project manager, the FWO program automatically sends a completed change order request to the general contractor and anyone else within your organization that should receive a copy of the completed ticket. This not only allows for many tickets to be created and tracked through the system but it provides a virtual database of all tickets for each project and eliminates folders filled with tickets. What was once a long process can now be completed in minutes with a much greater level of accuracy.

Saving Paper and Time

R. L. Reppert began using the Field Work Order program in 2018 with only a handful of users utilizing this program. Due to the ease of its use, its ability to create tickets digitally, and complete the full process in a timely manner, all our project managers and supervisors are using the FWO ticket program. This allows both the supervisors and project managers to focus on running projects and not be overloaded with paper time and material tickets to fill out daily, review with the general contractor and get the tickets to the appropriate project manager.

A few projects so far have had time and material tickets exceed 250 total tickets. The amount of time saved just on these projects alone, far exceeds the cost of the program for the year. If each ticket now only takes 15 minutes to go from the initial creation to sending a completed change order request to the general contractor, we save over 187 man-hours on one project with 250 T&M tickets. In our industry with each project requiring more attention and needing to be completed in a reduced duration, this alone is a huge benefit for a subcontractor to save that amount of time.

This process has created a more accurate tracking system, includes materials with appropriate pricing, allows for hourly rates to be automatically calculated, allows the general contractor to digitally accept or reject your tickets, allows for electronic signatures when the general contractor is not on-site, allows the management team to track the entire ticket process and overall provides a digitalized tracking system database in which all parties are now able to focus on building the project rather than being inundated with paperwork.

Our industry has been plagued with an enormous amount of required paperwork for each and every project, so any process in which we can save man hours is a huge advantage and only drives the industry to be more technology involved.

Adapt or Adjust

My motto has always been, “Adapt and adjust or you will sink.” Technology can be intimidating at first glance, but with some time spent to understand its ability, you can utilize these innovative programs to reduce hours spent on paperwork so your main focus can be where it needs to be.

About R. L. Reppert

Richard Reppert Jr. started his involvement in the construction industry at a very young age. Following in his father Richard Reppert Sr.’s footsteps, his passion for the industry has driven him to not only focus on the future growth of the company alongside his three sisters but focus on adjusting to the new age of construction. Richard’s drive to continue what his father started in 1973 ensures the company will continue to focus on its growth. As President of R. L. Reppert, Reppert focuses on overseeing the projects and bidding process, along with other key aspects of the daily operations within the company. 

Article courtesy of Walls & Ceilings Magazine.  Subscribe to a great industry resource.