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... are submitted to the banker or owner via e-mail for payment to be wired into the account requested. So, after the startup processes are completed the work on the job begins. During the building process the overseeing company should obey to special plans and should determine when contractors are needed on site, when materials should be delivered and where they should be placed. It is also important to keep up with what work has been done. A daily report should be filled out electronically and sent to the manager to keep in an archived file in order to keep up with all the specifics of the job.
It is important to store these reports on file to make sure the schedule is being followed as closely as possible. If the job is going to be delayed for any reason, the detailed information listed on the daily reports can explain why the project is behind the schedule. The owner and banker has right to inspect the building at any time during the construction phase. After the completion stage the bankers usually do a final inspection to make sure the job is done 100 % before paying out the loan.
When the job is completed and all the inspections are done the building is awarded a certificate of occupancy and the keys are handed over to the owner or responsible person. Issues and Needs At each jobsite a trailer is set up to allow the employees to have an office to fill out report, keep files, safety items, and office equipment to communicate with the main office, contractors and suppliers. Each office is equipped with wireless internet, fax machines a telephone in the trailer for daily use. They also have a cell phone that is supposed to be on them at all times. This way they are accessible all the time during the construction. Each job is issued a laptop that is to be used to fill out the report and e-mail it to the managers.
Another important item that is used during the construction phase is a digital camera. Pictures are supposed to be taken daily to show the progress of the project to bankers, owners and perspective clients. The camera is also used when a problem has occurred and documentation is needed to show a problem to the supplier or contractor. It can be also used as a tool that can help to encourage new prospective clients to initiate the construction company to build their next project. It has been very challenging to train the superintendents who work in the field to use all the technologies required.
Some companies even require technology experience and education to be a must for the position. Each company is different when dealing with training and hiring requirements, but it is important to make sure the staff working on the project is qualified to make it a success. Several companies even require their field workers to participate in seminars and training sessions regarding technology and ways to improve the use of the technology in the field. Here we come to conclusion that implementation of new technology is very important. Naturally, the implementation requires the implementation plan.
Implementation Plan The recent advances in technology have increased the performance and reduced the price of many mobile computing devices, resulting in increased interest in their potential application in the construction process. Wireless technology provides connectivity anytime anywhere and therefore offers a competitive advantage because many costs can be saved as well as inefficiencies can be avoided. For example, Bowden states that Mobile technologies could provide the link to workers at their point of activity so that lessons learnt as the project progresses are captured immediately. This not only provides information to improve future projects, but the real-time knowledge can also be incorporated in future phases of the current project.
The implementation is the most important part in the process of adopting a new technology. If the implementation is not effectuated carefully, the new technology will hardly be successful. The first task is to be aware of what should be the overall result of implementation and what is expected from all the people involved or working for the organization. The training and constant support to all the participants are essential.
The basic steps of implementation are as follows: Assessment Top management must be engaged in this process completely. The first step is to acknowledge the need of technology in the industry and clarify whether the hardware and software will provide the company with a competitive advantage. When the need is identified, the company has to answer the questions: how technology will satisfy the companys requirements? Which specific problems need to be solved? How much will it cost? , to mention a few. Hardware and software selection Once the company has clear view of expectations, it is necessary to choose a supplier.
This supplier should examine and understand the situation and the needs of the company to offer an adequate portfolio of alternatives (software and hardware). Besides, it is very important that vendors or providers understand the strategic needs of the company. For example, there may exist the companies able to offer complete package of alternatives in case the company chooses to use the wireless in the construction industry (handhelds or PDAs, packaging construction software applications, personal computers, wireless sensor networking technologies, semantic web based technologies, to mention a few). An assessment of the total expenses budgetary impact and an approval of the operations team will help to make this decision more accurate. Solution design Solution design implies the design of customized solutions including all the hardware, software and support that the company will need to have the technology working and reaching the following objectives: saving time, reducing defects to minimum, minimum possible accidents, increased predictability, low waste percentage, etc.
The software and hardware are expected to: Locate and inform of the status of the materials, equipment, personnel and resources (can be tracked online); Provide with the construction job sites (wireless networked with sensors and communications technologies allowing to perform the jobs quickly and correctly); Monitor and track the construction process in compliance with the plan (online project management); Avoid the storage of unnecessary building equipment, tools and materials due to timely delivery; Provide a digital marketplace for suppliers and contractors. Technology test The technology test is necessary as all the devices, the software and the whole system need to be tested to verify they operate correctly. It is also necessary to verify the expectations about solutions and improvements will be completely satisfied. Rollout, training and optimization The rollout is important as it defines the dates and all the participants involved in the implementation stage. It is necessary to have a schedule to identify specific tasks involved. When the steps are defined, each of them needs to be followed carefully and people need to take part in all the processes of change.
Communication is very important as the company needs to be acknowledged with the new strategy and understand the role the new technology and each one of them are going to play, along with the necessity to realize how the participants are involved in the process. The construction industry needs to foster long-term professional development for its employees to identify learning needs, to assist in their career progression and encourage perfection of knowledge and skills. For example, trainings may be examined as one of the most important key success factors. The training must be prepared professionally and should be a continuous process focused to support the systems and the technology.
Although training program is a part of the implementation plan, it is not limited to this stage alone, as it should be a long-term process with long-term goals. Finally, for any system to remain competitive and for any industry or company to take advantage of the benefit of technology implementation, it is necessary to have 24 / 7 technical support for software and hardware maintenance. Challenges and Issues Related To the Implementation of New Technology Costs, Legal Regulations, and Organizational Culture The implementation of new technology requires many issues to be taken in consideration. In this section vitally important issues are discussed, involving costs, legal regulations and organizational culture, along with the external (environmental and social) factors. When the business plan is developed, the company may want to include the wireless technology implementation as one of the stages of its plan. By doing this, the company should take into account both the financial and organizational costs related to the desired change.
As it was stated in the previous sections, financial costs of implementing wireless technology fall into three basic categories hardware, software and training and may be estimated about $ 1000 to $ 2000 per device. In case the construction firm is not small, the amount it may want to spend in order to equip all the employees at each active job site may be too big. At the same time, a smaller local construction firm (e. g. operated as a family business) may also be deterred by the start-up, recurring and maintenance costs associated with going wireless. In addition, it should be taken into account that the benefit of going wireless is often considered soft or intangible benefit.
No wonder that the companies in their majority try to avoid these unnecessary expenses, as they often do not understand the benefit they may derive from it in the long run. Organizational culture should also be taken into account, as it may be crucial both to the companys success or failure. Therefore, the company should treat organizational culture as the matter of primary importance. For example, Owen Perillo and Leo Rohlinger in their article Are Technical Challenges Holding Back Your Wireless Strategy?
assert that implementing technological solutions can be highly disruptive and can affect all dimensions of a companys operating strategies. For these reasons, Perillo and Rohlinger state, many companies are uncertain about how to implement wireless technology in the best possible way. This uncertainty causes many companies to hold back or delay their start-ups. In addition, the companies, where the vast majority of employees have insufficient technical skills may face many difficulties when attempting to implement and impose their wireless vision.
According to Perillo and Rohlinger, the highest hurdle to overcome about the wireless world is uncertainty about the rapidly changing technologies. No wonder, the old school construction personnel may not immediately welcome highly technological advancements in their workplace. Finally, some legal and security issues must also be taken into account. Going wireless introduces security risks construction firms have never faced in the past. As Perillo and Rohlinger state, firms going wireless in todays world must consider how to prevent outside attack on the end-user device, over-the-air transmission technology, and connectivity from the carrier network to the business Intranet. Environmental Consequences It is not enough to realize the benefit of going wireless for the company alone.
In order to succeed, the company should have the customers, vendors and suppliers able to share their vision. In terms of the environmental and social issues of going wireless, many construction firms especially local firms must consider whether their investments will be worthwhile. Certainly, global construction firms and corporations can easily work wirelessly with their vendors and suppliers located throughout the world and see a considerable return on their investment of implementing wireless technology. However, the concern of the smaller, more local businesses should also be considered. Many local providers of supplies such as roofing materials, brick and lumber are small, family-owned businesses.
It is likely that they themselves have not gone wireless, both in terms of hardware and software, but also in terms of their office staff and management team. Therefore, the issues related to going wireless for the local environment and business relationships can hardly be taken into account. Conclusion In summary, throughout this analysis, we have addressed the countless ways wireless technology can bring benefit to the construction industry. The evidence and facts are un disputable. However, some issues and challenges should be taken into consideration before a firm starts implementing new wireless technology. Certainly, all the challenges addressed here can be reduced to minimum through training, education and a desire to advance, but they should not be underestimated.
A company that fails to address these issues thoroughly may find themselves behind the technological curve, instead of enjoying the place in front of it. Works Cited Are Technical Challenges Holding Back Your Wireless Strategy? Retrieved July 15, 2007, from web hts/Outlook/By Alphabet/Are Strategy. htm. Aziz, Z (2006) Intelligent wireless web services for construction A review of the enabling technologies.
Automation in Construction. Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 113 - 123 Bowden, S. (2006) Mobile ICT support for construction process improvement. Automation in Construction. Vol. 15 Issue 5, p 664 - 676 Construction Industry Institutes. Retrieved July 19, 2007 from web institute. org / script content /resume.
cfm? section = Ord ers How One Company is Using Wireless Technology to Revolutionize a True Brick-and-Mortar Industry. Retrieved July 18, 2007, from web Jessup, Leonard & Valacich, Joseph. (2008). Information Systems Today: Managing the digital world. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Keeping up with Technology Construction Industry and Computers. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from web Leonard, B. (2006). Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, Vol. 132 Issue 9, p 1009 - 1018 Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from web Sage Timberline Office.
Retrieved July 21, 2007 from web Sebestyen, Gulf. (1998). Construction-craft to industry. New York, NY: Routledge. Technology Watch.
Retrieved May 17, 2007 from web D = 27 The American Institute of Architects. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from web The Independent European Center for RFID, Wireless and mobility. RFID Center. Retrieved July 4, 2007 from web The Reproduction Company. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from web U.
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