As we discuss the benefits of our field management program (FMP) with highway construction professionals, the question often comes up: how often should my foremen transfer data from the field?
Transferring Data From the Field – What Does This Look Like?
To dive into this question, let’s start with how data transfer works with FMP. FMP consists of two main components: FMP Office controls and tracks productivity, daily goals, quantities, equipment, change orders, payroll data, and more.
On the other side, our FMP Mobile application runs on Apple and Android devices. This field tool allows foremen to easily transfer information like project images, production, daily dairies, weather information, and custom forms.
What’s the Norm?
According to our field submission statistics from FMP, the most popular day to transfer data is Monday, and the most popular time is 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
So, we know the average time and day of the week foremen are transferring data, but is this the best practice?
Is the Norm Best Practice?
To put it simply no; in fact, we strongly recommend that data should be transferred from the field on a daily basis.
Think this might be overkill? Here’s our reasoning:
Make Critical Adjustments Quickly
Data is most powerful when it is reported in real-time. This is especially true when you are operating under tight deadlines with crucial daily goals.
By receiving data from the field daily, project managers can make adjustments that can critically affect your bottom line.
For example, consider your crew was unable to lay as much pipe as planned because it was raining Tuesday morning. If your project manager is not receiving quantity submissions until the following Monday, he/she will be unable to adjust daily goals for the rest of the week.
In addition to changing daily goals, PMs can also quickly make change orders and have the data to back them up.
Not transferring data daily hinders your ability to improve productivity and ultimately limits your ability to grow.
Minimize Human Error
It’s no surprise that the longer you wait to report details from a project, the less accurate it will be.
When you’re tracking information like cost codes, time cards, equipment, materials, and more, it’s easy to forget important details if your foreman is not updating data throughout the day.
These details can become extremely important for documentation. Let’s say your state’s DOT makes a claim on a multi-year project you’re working on. These daily details are what you’ll need to show for the burden of proof.
In a case like this, clean daily transmission ensures that there are no holes in your data and allows you to easily prove that your team did everything right.
Put Less Pressure on Your Accounting Team
We’ve seen it many times before; time cards from the previous week get transferred on Monday, administration catches an error, and payroll is held up as your PM scrambles to resolve the issue.
This scenario not only can lead to disgruntled employees who are waiting on their paychecks, but it also puts unnecessary stress on your accounting team. Instead of scrambling the day before payday, catch potential issues as the week goes on.
The Bottom Line
The beauty of using an electronic field management system is that you are getting cleaner data, faster than you would with a traditional paper system. Resolve issues quickly, keep accurate documentation, and utilize the full benefits of an electronic system by transmitting data daily.