New Research: Manual Data Collection Causes Big Headaches in Construction & Engineering

As data becomes increasingly important to how businesses operate and grow, the tools that power the capturing, assembling and analysis of data have, in turn, become more sophisticated and seamless. But in some industries — those with hundreds or even thousands of workers in the field or on job sites who are tasked with collecting data and relaying it to main offices — these processes are much more complicated, and the effective collection and use of data has continued to elude them.

Two industries where this pain point is most prevalent are construction and engineering. They rely heavily on data capture that’s accurate and swift, and they need to be able to assemble and act on that data rapidly and continuously.

At TrackVia, we recently conducted a survey of 500 executives and managers in construction and engineering and found that not only are they struggling with capturing data, but that this failure to collect accurate data has a ripple effect throughout their organizations, introducing risk and costing them valuable time and money.

The report, released today and entitled Manual Processes in Construction and Engineering, shows that nearly half of contractors and engineers still use manual collection processes to capture critical data on job sites.

The time spent trying to use data
The survey uncovered that the number one way construction and engineering executives want to speed up their processes is by digitizing data collection. More than half of executives (52%) believe this effort would help alleviate several of the issues they face due to manual processes.

The ability to increase the speed and accuracy of how firms compile and analyse data is also critical, as we found that executives who use four or more data systems spend an estimated 1,300 hours per year trying to assemble it into usable reports, a 400% increase over those who use a single data system.

Staggering risks of manual data entry
In addition to the increase in time needed to use data, the effects of manual data collection are felt throughout organizations and have a negative impact on many of the most critical needs of the business.

    When data is collected manually:

  • 70% of executives struggle with identifying potential issues before they become big problems
  • 66% of executives said they’re challenged with incomplete or inaccurate data needed for compliance and audits
  • 65% of managers said work and change orders get missed some to all of the time and slow down time-to-completion
  • 61% of executives said they have to make decisions with outdated data
  • 45% of executives said they risk liquidated damages related to project delays

Along with these risks to the business, respondents also said that there is a tremendous impact on work quality. Despite 74% of managers saying that ensuring a high quality of work is the most important part of their job, 52% said they use manual methods to track job quality data, and 59% said when data is collected manually, the top issue they face as a result is incomplete data about work quality.

Where do we go from here?
When these businesses assess their operations and procedures to identify the inefficiencies that are driving up costs and posing risks, manual data collection may not seem like the obvious place to start. Yet, the survey research examines the biggest pain points of these two industries, all of which trace directly back to manual methods of data collection — often consisting of pen and paper.

The resulting ripple effect costs construction and engineering firms hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in liquidated damages, diminished work quality and safety, lost productivity, and an inability to meet stringent and costly compliance requirements, among many other risks.

These challenges and risks point to an increasing need for a single workflow solution that enables fast and accurate data collection and integrates with other systems. Such a solution provides a single source for not only data collection, but also data assembly and analysis — driving impactful decision-making around improvements in work quality, on-time delivery, and safety on job sites.

At TrackVia, we work with leading construction and engineering firms like KS Industries, Construction Santé Montréal, Honeywell, and Coldwell Solar to digitize their operations — resulting in improved on-time delivery and reducing costs, among other rewards.

We’d like to hear from you about the manual processes that exist in your organization and how digitizing data collection and analysis might help.

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