iPad saves construction firm $1.8 million annually

Posted:
in iPad edited May 11
The iPad has become an extremely useful tool for one Texas-based construction firm, with a report revealing the use of Apple's tablet by the workforce has saved the company an estimated $1.8 million per year, as well as helping to reduce the amount of hours spent working on projects.



Dallas construction company Rogers-O'Brien started using iPads on sites for the last five years, reports Business Insider, in a project overseen by director of applied technology Todd Wynne. Out of the 340 employees working for the firm, 190 possess an iPad for work purposes.

"Everyone on the operations staff gets an iPad that comes to work at Rogers O'Brien," advises Wynne. The half of the company that receives an iPad effectively consists of those working in the field, namely anyone who isn't in the office full-time.

The iPads play a role in helping to manage the vast amounts of paperwork involved in a construction project, including keeping all involved working from the same up-to-date version of building plans. This "One Truth" method is estimated to save around 7 percent on costs for each project, due to a reduction in mistakes caused by using outdated documents.

The paperless approach also minimizes issues with the sheer mass of documents that are created during construction. Likening it to the manual, product description, warranty, and other items that ship with a TV, Wynne suggests "imagine the same documentation for every component in a building."

The paper-based approach cost an average of $10,000 per project in printing costs alone, but it isn't the only way the company has saved money. Traveling to an on-site trailer to check a reference wasted time, and so far the use of iPads to check on the spot is thought to have saved close to 55,000 hours of employee time.

Since the iPad-based system was introduced, the firm has bought approximately 300 iPads, buying between 10 and 50 at a time from the local Apple Store at first, without any discounting or extra support from Apple itself. The high iPad sales caught the eye of the Apple Store manager, who asked Wynne to teach seminars at the store about using iPads in business.

At the time, Apple did not have a specific program that could help companies integrate Apple products into their workflow, but it has since created its own business program that aids with volume purchases and in other areas. Apple also operates in the enterprise field, and has worked with IBM to assist major firms using various iOS and macOS-based solutions.

Despite the usage of iPads by half the workforce, Rogers-O'Brien continues to prefer using Windows PCs for those working from the main office. "We love Microsoft, but we are desk-less users in the field," advises Wynne.

By comparison to other portable devices, the iPad was selected for a number of reasons, including its extensive battery life compared to PC-based tablets. The price of a cellular-equipped iPad is also attractive, costing a few hundred dollars compared to over a thousand for a PC with a tough screen and LTE.

Declaring the use of iPads and cloud computing to be "just the beginning," Wynne confirms the construction firm is already adding more technology to its workflow, such as using drones to photograph construction sites to monitor progress. Current plans involve the use of AI to analyze the drone images for safety compliance and logistics planning purposes.
edred

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,874member
    A number of articles on financial websites are pundifying about Microsoft starting to pay less attention to Windows desktop much like people worry here about Apple paying less attention to macOS. Desktop computing will always be around I suppose but its glory days are behind it. Eventually operating systems will go away all together.
    tmayRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    The paper-based approach cost an average of $10,000 per project in printing costs alone, but it isn't the only way the company has saved money. Traveling to an on-site trailer to check a reference wasted time, and so far the use of iPads to check on the spot is thought to have saved close to 55,000 hours of employee time. 


    At the time, Apple did not have a specific program that could help companies integrate Apple products into their workflow, but it has since created its own business program that aids with volume purchases and in other areas. Apple also operates in the enterprise field, and has worked with IBM to assist major firms using various iOS and macOS-based solutions.
    55,000 hours saved from trips to the on-site trailer?  That seems excessive, no? Even spreading that out over 5 years that’s almost 60 hours per year per employee spent going to the trailer and back. Were those employees just trying to waste time?

    Also, I started working at Apple Retail in 2012 and there was definitely a Business Team in place then (remember the black shirts that said “Business” on the sleeve?).  Even back then all employees were expected to ask each customer if they used their devices for business so the local Apple Store missing that for orders of 10-50 iPads at a time seems like a huge mistake. Especially if the Store Leader had to be the one that noticed.  Granted, there was not as much focus back then on integrating Apple products into their workflow as there is now, but volume purchasing was absolutely one of the points we were supposed to bring up.  

    (Aside: talking about volume purchasing/discounts was always one of the tougher things to talk about when trying to get the Business Intro.  As soon as somebody heard that their interest would be piqued but they frequently wanted that discount immediately. However, what made it tough was that most people who used their device for business either weren’t in charge of the account or, more frequently, were the owner of a small business that wasn’t on planning to spend enough to get to even the lowest level where a discount would be applied. When they found out that their purchase of a base model MacBook Pro wasn’t enough to get the discount they would be turned off and then not want to give any information on their business.  It could be frustrating at times.)
  • Reply 3 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,058member
    How could anyone “love Microsoft”?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,021member
    How could anyone “love Microsoft”?
    I'm pretty sure Bill Gates and other early investors that have become rich off the company love MS.

    While MS didn't make me rich, they have made me a lot of money and I can think of many aspects of their server OSes that I do love compared to both the anemic macOS Server and the less than user-friendly Linux 
  • Reply 5 of 9
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 323member
    ...whiile construction document currency is a longstanding challenge with apportioned risk, does this new model for distribution of intellectual property raise important questions of copyright, and potential new risks...?
  • Reply 6 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 989member

    55,000 hours saved from trips to the on-site trailer?  That seems excessive, no? Even spreading that out over 5 years that’s almost 60 hours per year per employee spent going to the trailer and back. Were those employees just trying to waste time?

    I think that was a bit of unfortunate wording in the article. It isn’t 55,000 hours saved in walking to the trailer, it’s hours saved overall, including the paperwork and processing bits, where the big saving would be.
    Soli
  • Reply 7 of 9
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,378member
    The paper-based approach cost an average of $10,000 per project in printing costs alone, but it isn't the only way the company has saved money. Traveling to an on-site trailer to check a reference wasted time, and so far the use of iPads to check on the spot is thought to have saved close to 55,000 hours of employee time. 


    At the time, Apple did not have a specific program that could help companies integrate Apple products into their workflow, but it has since created its own business program that aids with volume purchases and in other areas. Apple also operates in the enterprise field, and has worked with IBM to assist major firms using various iOS and macOS-based solutions.
    55,000 hours saved from trips to the on-site trailer?  That seems excessive, no? Even spreading that out over 5 years that’s almost 60 hours per year per employee spent going to the trailer and back. Were those employees just trying to waste time?

    Also, I started working at Apple Retail in 2012 and there was definitely a Business Team in place then (remember the black shirts that said “Business” on the sleeve?).  Even back then all employees were expected to ask each customer if they used their devices for business so the local Apple Store missing that for orders of 10-50 iPads at a time seems like a huge mistake. Especially if the Store Leader had to be the one that noticed.  Granted, there was not as much focus back then on integrating Apple products into their workflow as there is now, but volume purchasing was absolutely one of the points we were supposed to bring up.  

    (Aside: talking about volume purchasing/discounts was always one of the tougher things to talk about when trying to get the Business Intro.  As soon as somebody heard that their interest would be piqued but they frequently wanted that discount immediately. However, what made it tough was that most people who used their device for business either weren’t in charge of the account or, more frequently, were the owner of a small business that wasn’t on planning to spend enough to get to even the lowest level where a discount would be applied. When they found out that their purchase of a base model MacBook Pro wasn’t enough to get the discount they would be turned off and then not want to give any information on their business.  It could be frustrating at times.)
    55,000 hours isnt unrealistic.   I work in a relatively small plant engineering and the move to electronics over paper has saved us a lot if walking.  It would be fair to say an hour per day per person.   For example control prints use to be accessible only on papper in a central office.  With new hardware coming into the plant we have largely switched to electronic files stored on a server of locally on the engineers laptop.  That is for bespoke information, manuals and programming information for off the shelf electronics is often found directly off the web.    This saves time looking for a manual that might be missing, misplaced or outdated.  

    Mind you this is a small plant compared to some construction sites ive seen but we are still talking walks of half a mile or more at times.  That doesnt include rummaging through files to find what you need.  So yeah 55,000 hours isnt unrealistic.  

    By the way you cant dismiss the possibility that an IT manager would come up with self serving numbers.   After all making ones sef look useful is a primary focus of management school.  In this case though the numbers are likely conservative.  
  • Reply 8 of 9
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,679member
    How could anyone “love Microsoft”?


    I have an aunt who claims to be a "die-hard Microsoft fan", when talking about how she only uses the iPad 'cos her children gave it to her for Christmas.


    Yup, I did roll my eyes when she said that.

    edited May 14
  • Reply 9 of 9
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 786member
    ...whiile construction document currency is a longstanding challenge with apportioned risk, does this new model for distribution of intellectual property raise important questions of copyright, and potential new risks...?
    Speaking as an Architect and one of key people producing IP for consumption on a building site I think it’s an interesting question. First reaction is the nature of the license we have with our clients is to use and copy that IP to make a building on that site. License let’s builders make as many copies as required. Aim is they make as few as possible and keep tight control.

    The bigger challange is making sure everyone is working to the same plans and changes that crop up and get discussed on site roll up to the people doing the work as fast as possible. Which is why control is important.

    I can can see how numbers in the story would be easy to archive for a big company of builders. 

    What would be great companion device would be a cheap or rugged eInk display in standard paper sizes. 
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