Tablet computers have made their way into many businesses, but one place where their adoption has been slow is in the construction industry. Some feel that the handheld computers don’t have a place in the middle of the heavy and dirty work that is construction.
In reality though, the new technologies offered by rugged tablets can make construction work safer, help to streamline workflow and increase efficiency in many areas of the business. With more rugged tablets on the market designed specifically for industrial use, any construction business that is not taking advantage of them will soon find themselves falling behind.
Here are just a few of the benefits that tablet computing has to offer…
Bad weather is the bane of outdoor construction jobs. Unexpected storms and periods of rain or snow will not only cause delays, but can be dangerous to crews out in the field and cause damage to unfinished work.
With tablets on site, managers and crews can keep themselves apprised of weather conditions right up to the minute. Workers can be proactive towards incoming bad weather rather than waiting to be surprised and trying to react when it might already be too late. Unfinished work can be covered and secured with time to spare and crews in dangerous locations can get themselves out of harm’s way.
Distribution of Documents
One of the most costly and time consuming aspects of construction has always been the distribution of the immense amounts of plans and documents needed by virtually every member of the team. Strategic use of tablet computers can not only get things like blueprints, permits and other documents on site and into the right hands faster, it will cut costs associated with paper, printing and distribution through mail or shipping companies.
By combining the mobility of tablet computers with cloud storage options such as Google Docs or DropBox, documents can be stored in one place and made available instantly to everyone who needs them no matter where they are. Teams can even collaborate between office and build site with everyone receiving updates in real time.
Teams can talk to each other face to face even when they are in different locations. By utilizing apps like FaceTime or Google Hangouts, time wasted traveling to make it to a meeting room is completely eliminated. A supervisor on site can update project management about current situations, receive new instructions or updates and communicate them to his team immediately without the need for anyone to leave their location to make a meeting.
Workers on site can update inventory of supplies as they work in real time, with no extra effort. Ordering and shipping can be virtually automated, eliminating extra costs and saving time. Supply levels can be constantly maintained at optimal levels and delays caused by shortages made nonexistent.
Workers will be able to focus on the actual construction work rather than counting supplies and filling out order requests. At the same time, project management will have real time information showing them exactly what is on site at all times, allowing them to make decisions faster and plan more efficiently.
Awareness of Problems or Delays
On site workers can communicate problems or delays to supervisors and project managers instantly, even providing video or photographic information if needed. All parties who need to know can be made aware at the same time without the need for chains of phone calls or tracking down mobile team members.
Tablet computers are still relatively new as far as computing in general is concerned. They are already proving themselves very useful in many current tasks, but will undoubtedly be used in even more ways as the future approaches and technology continues to develop. With a little bit of imagination you will be able to find unique ways that you can use these handheld wonders to improve many facets of your business so that you’re constantly staying one step ahead of your competition.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that in order to take advantage of these types of benefits, you need to be using hardware that’s been specifically designed to handle the rugged nature of the business. Consumer grade tablets aren’t built to withstand dirt and dust, water, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and drops. Rugged tablets, like Cybernet’s Rugged X10 industrial tablet, are built using military grade components and engineered to work in environments where consumer electronics typically fail.