HeadshotTara Callinan • 

TechView Q&A

It’s not every day we get interviewed for The Registry, so when the opportunity arose, we didn’t hesitate to say “yes”!

Registry’s reporter, Meghan Hall, was eager to learn more about our recently released Custom Form Builder. So, we sat her down with our CEO, Yves Frinault, who told her everything she needed to know (and more). Yves talked about the evolution of Fieldwire and the construction industry, the benefits of moving towards an entirely paperless jobsite, and the power and simplicity behind our Custom Form Builder.

Here is the transcript of our Q&A for The Registry which was published as part of their TechView series.

Meghan: Tell me a little bit about the construction industry in general, and how jobsites have evolved with the introduction of mobile technology such as smartphones. What pain points in the industry did you see that inspired you to create Fieldwire?

Yves: Pre-2010, construction was essentially like the office pre-computer and internet. Ninety percent of field people were working offline so getting access to information was quite hard. Even more, communication was hard! It was the pain that came with creating punch lists that inspired us to create Fieldwire. Essentially, punch lists are used to document site issues (or punch items) with photos; localize them on drawings, assign them to people, and track them to completion. There are often thousands of punch items on projects so this process pre-Fieldwire was super tedious. We do much more than punch lists, but I would say this was the starting point.

Meghan: When it comes to the construction industry, do you believe that it has kept pace with other commercial real estate sectors in terms of the innovation and implementation of technology?

Yves: There is no debate that the digitalization of construction has been slower than in other industries, however, it has little to do with people being early or late adopters. There are various structural reasons that have slowed down initial adoption. For example, a construction site is a rugged environment often with bad connectivity, but, more importantly, it’s a temporary setup with dozens of companies involved. This makes it really hard to first reach a consensus on the best technology to use and also invest long-term in that technology.

Meghan: Tell me about the launch of Fieldwire’s Custom Form Builder; how does it enhance Fieldwire’s existing offerings?

Yves: Fieldwire actually eliminates the need to fill out lots of forms since most of a user’s data is archived automatically. However, we realized that sometimes a form cannot be eliminated. For example, what if an owner wants you to file a form that is unique or custom to them? Well, now, our customers can build that very specific form in Fieldwire, submit it to their client, and continue to use Fieldwire as the core platform. It’s that easy!

Fieldwire Custom Construction Form Builder Hero Graphic

Meghan: Why do you think the industry has not adopted technologies to go paperless for forms like daily reports, safety audits, inspection checklists, etc. previously?

Yves: It’s taken decades for the construction industry to get to this point but I think we’ve finally removed almost every technological hurdle there is. The technology available to site and office teams has been trialed and tested, and the ROI is proven to be positive. It’s now up to the last few people to get on board with the program and embrace a paperless future.

Meghan: How successful has Fieldwire’s Custom Form Builder been at encouraging companies to go paperless?

Yves: Very successful. There is always that one form that a company absolutely needs and now Fieldwire can digitize that for them. One of our clients was previously scanning an old piece of paper again and again (no one had an original digital copy) and then filing the forms away where no one could easily access them. They created that form digitally in Fieldwire, and now they can easily track the progress in one place for everyone to see.

Meghan: How many of Fieldwire’s customers are using the Custom Form Builder, and what has been their reaction to the platform?

Yves: Our customers love it. In fact, many of our existing customers upgraded to our Business tier just to get access to the Custom Form Builder, so it’s been really successful from that perspective. What’s interesting is that digitizing forms is usually only the first step in their mind. Most of them plan to extract the data later through our API.

“We save our customers an average of one hour each day which is pretty amazing!”

Yves Frinault, CEO, Fieldwire

Meghan: What downsides exist — if any — to going digital in the construction industry?

Yves: Unlike your smartphone or tablet, paper won’t run out of battery and isn’t hard to read in the sun. Paper processes seem fairly effective at first, which is why they’re so hard to displace, but the benefits of going paperless are immense. We save our customers an average of one hour each day (based on user feedback) which is pretty amazing! Just imagine what you could do with an extra five hours every week.

Meghan: What technological challenges has Fieldwire faced since its launch? How has the company worked to overcome them?

Yves: Fieldwire uses Fieldwire internally — across the whole company including engineering, marketing, sales, and operations — so we’re constantly developing the product to ensure issues with the technology don’t arise. As a company, one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced was learning enterprise marketing and sales as we’re primarily product and engineering focussed.

Meghan: How many projects are using Fieldwire today? What are Fieldwire’s plans for future growth?

Yves: Used on over 450,000 projects worldwide, Fieldwire has saved projects millions of dollars by powering clear and efficient communication between the field and office staff. The company has grown 5X over the past two years and we only plan to accelerate further with our third office opening in Phoenix this year. Our goal is to power the future of construction through software.

Meghan: What are some notable projects for which Fieldwire was used and had a significant impact on jobsite processes?

Yves: Fieldwire has been used on many great projects worldwide – from high-rises and hospitals to airports. If I had to highlight a couple, though, I would mention the Moscone Center in San Francisco with Webcor, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC with Clark Construction. Both are extremely impressive structures!

To learn more about some of the impressive projects Fieldwire has been used on, head over to our Customer Stories page. If you’d like to see our platform in motion and hear more about our Custom Form Builder, please contact us today.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

What is a net promoter score or NPS

According to Satmetrics, a Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is an accurate indicator of customer satisfaction and predictor of business growth. A company’s Net Promoter Score is determined by calculating the sum of total answers to this question: On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend [insert company or product] to a friend or colleague?

To calculate the Net Promoter Score, you must group the answers as follows:

  • Promoters (customers who answered 9 - 10): Loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, in turn, fueling growth.

  • Passives (customers who answered 7 - 8): Satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.

  • Detractors (customers who answered 0 - 6): Unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Then, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters to get the total Net Promoter Score. In some cases, the NPS can be as low as 0 and as high as 100.

How important is a Net Promoter Score?

To understand the importance of a NPS, think of it as a consumer review. For example, a consumer is more likely to purchase a construction app with a 4.7-star rating in the App Store compared to one that has anything less. That’s because reviews and referrals are taken very seriously and often persuade final decision making in a buyer’s journey. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others — even people they don’t know — over branded content. And, as it turns out, these include the good, bad, and ugly recommendations. Groove’s survey found that the average American customer tells nine people about a good experience and 16 people about a bad experience. Therefore, the most successful companies or products with positive customer reviews will, in turn, have a high NPS.

What is a high NPS?

It’s important to note that a ‘high’ NPS differs from industry to industry. For example, the average Net Promoter Score for Software and Apps is 31, compared to 62 for Department Stores. A snapshot of all industry averages can be seen below, and a full list of all industry averages can be found here.

Average NPS by Industry

While it’s important to compare your NPS to competitors in your industry, it’s also important to compare your own NPS overtime to see if customer satisfaction is improving. At Fieldwire, our NPS score is improving, with almost 50 percent of survey respondents giving us a perfect score in 2018 to put us well above the industry average. A snapshot of company-specific Net Promoter Scores can be seen below and a full list can be found here.

nps by company

How to improve your NPS

According to Wootric, there is not a single magic solution, but rather three best practices to improve your NPS:

1. Follow-up with Detractors. Your priority should be conflict resolution.

2. Try to engage with Passives. Use software that is real-time to ensure efficient communication with customers.

3. Always thank Promoters. But not too much. Asking customers to continually provide feedback could make them feel smothered and less inclined to participate in surveys.

We’d like to thank our customers who continually send us feedback and ideas which help us improve our product and service even further. Please don’t hesitate to contact support@fieldwire.com to submit a request at any time.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Go paperless blog

To improve jobsite productivity, you must first go paperless in the field. This is one of the five secrets to improving jobsite productivity — all of which are outlined in our latest ebook.

While there is no magic wand to wave over the industry, there are five steps you can take towards improving construction productivity — the first of which is going paperless on-site. According to Mckinsey’s Global Digitization Index, the construction industry is one of the least digitized in the world. One reason for this, according to the 2018 ConTech Report, is that 40 percent of construction companies still use paper and pen on-site. This suggests that companies are reluctant to move away from older methods of communication and into the Cloud where real-time sharing of information between disparate teams boosts collaboration, transparency, and ultimately, productivity. Instead, Mckinsey reports, construction companies rely on paper and pen to create and manage deliverables such as blueprints, design drawings, daily reports, and punch lists. As a result, information sharing is delayed, important data is lost, and time is wasted looking for the answers required to progress real work. This, in turn, stunts construction productivity.

construction productivity equation

The digitization of construction workflows with construction productivity software, however, is slowly catching on and reinventing the industry — so much so that Graham Group, a $2.2 billion dollar company in Canada, broke away from traditional habits to embrace technology and improve jobsite productivity. Graham was able to eliminate paper copies of plans in the field which saved them $35,000 on printing costs on a single project. Now, instead of manually updating plans and reprinting them when a change is made, Graham can add markups on the fly and access the most recent set of drawings from any mobile device; a huge-time saver for jobsite teams and a simple way to improve jobsite productivity.

To continue to move the field productivity needle forward, construction companies — big and small — should go paperless on-site to improve coordination, communication, and consistency on projects. Only then will production will flow.

Go paperless to improve coordination

Successful construction projects inherently require that multiple organizations or functional groups ‘play nice together,’ which is easier said than done when not every person or team on a jobsite uses the same medium to collaborate. Greg Lynn, architect, professor at UCLA, and co-founder of Piaggio Fast Forward says: “On the jobsite, there is a real disconnect. Some people are working from phones, some from drawings, and some are working from 3D files on the back of trailers. As a result, waste, budgets, and schedules have increased to more than it was in 1960.”

Project success is, therefore, the ability to assemble owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers around shared knowledge and common goals to create an environment of mutual benefit. This coordination of professionals must exist across all lifecycle phases of an asset — from design, through construction, operations, and maintenance — for maximum field productivity and project success.

It’s important to note that a lack of coordination has real costs and that the extent of these costs is much worse than many construction companies realize. For example, up to four hours are lost to rework activities incurred from poor coordination each week, and, according to constructionpros.com, 90 minutes per person per day is wasted ‘looking for stuff’ needed to keep production moving. This annualizes to about to about 18,000 hours spent looking for information such as phone numbers, misplaced tools, parts, and jobsite directions; information that is easily accessible when everyone is working from the same place.

field productivity

Go paperless to improve communication

Engineering and construction professionals still communicating via paper plans, physical notes, emails, or calls in the field are not only stunting jobsite productivity but hurting profitability. In the U.S. alone, $31 billion is wasted on rework due to miscommunication and having inaccurate data on-site, according to a study lead by FMI Corporation. To reduce this type of construction waste significantly, craftspeople should embrace mobile construction technology that supports real-time communication between jobsite and office teams. With projects becoming more complex and schedules running tighter, the need for fast and effective communication has never been greater. Having the ability to capture and catalog communication in real-time not only keeps production moving but enables workers to resolve issues more efficiently should they arise.

Go paperless to improve consistency & compliance

JBKnowledge reports that nearly 50 percent of craftspeople still manually prepare and process reports, meaning digitization must ultimately serve multiple masters and all project assets — reports, documents, regulatory requirements, and plans — must exist within a lifespan both contractors and owners are a part of. Unlike contractors who exist within a shorter project lifecycle, owners need assets to exist beyond the completion of a single project or date, and that’s exactly why digitization matters. According to Andy Holtmann, collecting physical copies of requirements or regulations often leads to a loss of information and communication delay — not to mention the fact that paper documents are expensive and rarely get updated. For example, in the event that compliance issues arise, the project owner must have access to the right information he or she needs in order to respond quickly and confidently. If this information is scattered in various folders, spreadsheets, or physical files, it’s going to take them much longer to find what they’re looking for. The owner must ensure that no matter what stage of the lifecycle their project is in, the necessary insight into digital information can be readily retrieved and acted upon in the field and on the jobsite. If not, production won’t flow. Digitization of inspection check lists and punch lists via real-time construction management software, can help to bridge this informational gap between the field and the office.

In our latest ebook, The 5 Secrets to Jobsite Productivity, we outline the remaining four steps you need to take to improve jobsite productivity in construction. Start with one and work your way through the list, knowing that every step forward is a step in the right direction. The construction industry is ripe for change, but it is up to you to embrace this era rather than resist it. Technology is rapidly evolving to help you operate more efficiently, which, in turn, keeps production moving. The world’s critical infrastructure deserves our collective best efforts to improve productivity and work more effectively in concert to challenge the status quo.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

cloud software blog

To move past the productivity problem in construction, we must first embrace the Cloud. In fact, leveraging Cloud software is one of the five secrets to improving jobsite productivity — all of which are outlined in Fieldwire’s latest ebook.

Because your time on-site is valuable, it’s important you chose Cloud software that’s easy to deploy, use, and maintain. Unlike on-premise software, Cloud software makes your life easier in the field so that you can stay focused on doing real work.

Download our latest ebook to learn how to leverage Cloud software for improved jobsite productivity. It’s time to start working smarter, faster, and with far less headaches!

What is the Cloud?

We’ve all heard about the benefits of ‘operating in the Cloud,’ but it’s important you understand what the Cloud is before trying to leverage it. As Xperience Group puts it, “Cloud software removes the hassle of maintaining and updating systems, allowing you to invest your time, money, and resources into fulfilling your core business strategies.”

Compared to on-premise software, Cloud software has zero upfront costs and can be quickly implemented, so it’s no surprise that ENR Top 100 contractors like Webcor Builders are switching to Cloud software to improve construction productivity on $500 million dollar projects.

cloud v on premise

In addition to being affordable and flexible, McKinsey reports that Cloud-based software is particularly beneficial for construction companies and teams — increasing jobsite productivity by as much as 50 percent. Yet, 40 percent of construction firms surveyed by JBKnowledge say technology has not been implemented due to lack of support, budget concerns, and overall employee hesitance. With that said, there is no guarantee that ‘lifting and shifting’ your organizations IT footprint into the Cloud will trigger a spike in productivity; you need to understand who the Cloud is built to serve before ‘going all in.’

Once implemented, Cloud-based technology should be prioritized to help craftspeople operate more efficiently in the field, says McKinsey, as 80 percent of all construction work is done on-site. Whether the worker moves through the work (traditional construction production) or the work moves to the worker (manufacturing and/or pre-fabrication production), the cloud must meet the craft at the work-face itself.

The Cloud you’re on matters

Not all cloud-based software is the same, and careful consideration should be taken to ensure that the selection ultimately made satisfies the needs of jobsite teams. According to TINYpulse’s survey, 26 percent of construction workers are frustrated by a lack of tools required to do their jobs better. They need fast, simple, Cloud software that helps them coordinate work and communicate in real-time. Even more, they need field management software that empowers them to disconnect from the trailer while still being able to communicate with the office.

For adoption to stick, field teams must utilize simple, adaptable, and deployable solutions that don’t disrupt the flow of work. When careful consideration is taken and the right Cloud investment is made, jobsite productivity will increase and users could save an average of five hours each week.

productivity life cycle

The Cloud is one of the many wonders of the internet age which solves most of the common problems companies face today. These solutions are quality, secure, and come at a price that custom-developed software simply cannot match. Every company should leverage Cloud software to improve productivity and save on resources.

Our latest ebook, The 5 Secrets to Jobsite Productivity, outlines the remaining four steps you need to take to improve jobsite productivity in construction. Start with one and work your way through the list, knowing that every step forward is a step in the right direction.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

construction productivity blog

Eight trillion dollars - that’s how much the global construction market is set to grow by 2030. With this information in hand, it’d be logical to conclude that the industry is coasting its way into the future with little to no roadblocks. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The industry’s growth makes it easy to look past some of its most significant issues such as the labor shortage, constant project cost overruns, and lack of construction productivity. In fact, the sector’s annual productivity growth has only increased by one percent in the past 20 years.

Wondering why?

The construction industry’s productivity lag can be attributed to five trade-specific problems: lack of technological advancement, miscommunication, coordination issues, inefficient use of time, and lack of context around tasks. In our new ebook, The 5 Secrets to Jobsite Productivity, we provide a practical guide to help construction teams combat these issues and improve jobsite productivity.

1. Lack of technological advancement

While there are several technologies changing the construction field, most of them target how projects are designed, not necessarily how they are executed. In fact, many of the communication “tools” used in the field now are the same ones that have been used for the past 30 years - paper, pencils, and phone calls. In fact, as many as 40 percent of construction companies still use paper and pen on construction sites!

This is an issue because these tools make the construction process ripe with opportunity for mistakes. Daily reports, punch lists, and blueprints are constantly updated throughout the project. However, the use of pens and paper to track this information makes the thorough dissemination of the updates challenging - or simply impossible. There are hundreds - even thousands - of hands on deck for construction projects, and teams need to adopt technology that will make the process smoother.

2. Lack of communication

Communication is essential for success in just about anything, but it’s exceptionally important in construction. Each project has a LOT of moving parts that can change on a daily basis. As stated above, paper and pen updates just aren’t going to cut it. In fact, miscommunication and inaccurate data onsite contribute to $31 billion wasted on rework.

Communication is also challenging when one project features multiple languages. According to a 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of all men employed in construction were Hispanic or Latino while 13 percent were white, meaning there could be (and is likely) differences in language. In fact, research has found that one of the biggest challenges in the construction industry is the English-Spanish language barrier. That’s why verbal communication can no longer be the only way to relay information on projects.

“$31 billion was spent on rework due to miscommunication and inaccurate data on the jobsite.”

FMI Corp, 2018

3. Coordination issues

Each construction project can have hundreds - or thousands - of workers, each assembled in different roles with varying goals. General contractors, specialty contractors, suppliers, architects and designers, and project owners must work together to create a plan and bring it to life. However, while they are all working toward an end goal, they are doing so on different teams.

Obviously, accomplishing the level of teamwork needed is easier said than done, especially when those involved are all working off of various technologies - or some, none at all. However, it is essential, as a lack of coordination on construction projects leads to mistakes and wasted time.

4. Inefficient use of time

Thirty percent - that is how much time a craftsperson spends on actually building. But where does that other time go? The other 70 percent is allocated toward preparing for tasks and gathering equipment and materials. Some of that time is spent waiting to be instructed on what to do next. According to forconstructionpros.com, as much as 90 minutes per person per day is wasted simply “looking for stuff.” While planning is important, building needs to be the main focus of time. Otherwise, construction projects will exceed the original deadline and significant cost overruns will arise.

field productivity

5. Lack of context around tasks

Too often, craftspeople are assigned tasks with little to no context. Simply put, they are told what to do, but they aren’t given the information needed to complete a task efficiently. They are put to work without plans, photos, or forms that would help them fully understand what they need to be doing and where they should be doing it.

This issue contributes to the construction industry’s already staggering operational waste. Right now, the sector is wasting $1.6 trillion due to its lag in productivity. Closing the gap between plans and tasks would reduce that waste, helping the industry as a whole.

The construction industry is transitioning toward the future, but when it comes to productivity, we’re still very much stuck in the past. Our new ebook provides actionable insights on how to work through these issues to improve construction productivity.

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