The advent of digitalization in construction groups is increasing the use of mobile applications on the construction site. The operation of such applications is increasingly required of foremen. In the following blog article, I will explain how these are accepted, what problems can occur and what approaches there are to eliminate them, based on my experience in cast-in-place concrete shell construction. Florian Eschauer, Product Manager CONTAKT GmbH
Top 3 problems with the introduction of apps on the construction site
1. Supposed lack of advantages
Digitization is often an irritating word for workers in the construction field. I understand why: no matter how digital the construction site is, the physical work is not getting any easier. As a result, most of them lack the incentive to deal with this topic and recognize the advantages.
2. Skepticism in the team
Currently, we take the approach that one person per team should interact with our system. This creates clear communication channels and prevents data gaps in the event of rotations within the teams. Focusing on one person brings with it the risk of skepticism and rejection within the team. The fear of being monitored increases.
3. Time pressure
We all know that things can't move fast enough on most construction sites. This pressure is also transmitted to the workers through the organizational structure. If one person from the team is then expected to operate a digital tool at times, this can lead to disgruntlement in the team. As a result, productivity, cohesion and sometimes trust in the team suffer - on the other hand, so does data quality and documentation.
Looking at the 3 problems in detail, there are several entry points to increase the adoption of digital solutions among workers in the short term as well as the long term:
During the presentation of the system, each team should be completely present to give everyone the opportunity to receive first-hand information. This conveys appreciation and prevents misunderstandings. Information material should be provided in the national language of the workers in order to minimize communication problems.
This is one of the most difficult points to implement. The workers and foremen want to know where they are supposed to work and by when they have to be finished. This information can be made available to them via app in an uncomplicated and digital way. In order to generate motivation to use digital tools beyond this function, it currently still requires the manager's request as well as the understanding that these new ways of working will lead to peaks in the required performance being compensated for. Which leads to less time pressure and more pleasant working conditions.
One of the most important points - as in the entire industry - is transparency. When workers get insight into what happens to the data they enter, how it helps the jobsite, and what the company plans to do with the data, it contributes significantly to acceptance. But not only acceptance, but this deeper understanding leads to better use and therefore higher quality data.
In summary, it is the same as in all other areas of the construction industry: the introduction of new methods and tools must be well planned. All users need to be involved and if there is a common understanding, the introduction will be successful. The first construction site should also not be flooded with all the functions that a software offers. It is better to give the team a slow start on a digital construction site by focusing on a subarea.