The HeavyJob Mobile Apps now include an easy-to-use phone timecard for use in the field. We interviewed Tom Webb, VP of Product Development at HCSS, about the latest release.
Question - Why was a phone time card a popular request from customers?
Tom - Foremen aren’t easily able to carry their laptops or tablets around the job site. They wanted to be able to record and see job information from their always-on, always-close phone.
Construction companies also wanted a phone timecard for individuals or small crews like truck drivers or flagging crews who would not likely be issued a laptop.
Question - What were some of the development challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Tom - Smart phones have small screens and we have a lot of information to capture and convey. By using some clever screen flows and use of intuitive gestures, we were able to make the app easy to learn and optimal to use.
Question - What can you do with the phone timecard?
Tom - You can enter time for workers, equipment and quantities, take photos and write notes for cost codes, and mark work as T&M. There is also a grid view to review the entire time card prior to sending it to the HeavyJob system at the office.
Question - What happens if someone doesn’t have cellular coverage?
Tom - Customers told us that working without cell or internet coverage is a very real problem, and we wanted foremen to be productive wherever they are. So the system is a native app designed to work offline and hold the data until they get back into cell coverage and then send into the office.
Question - Do customers have to choose a device or can they use a combination?
Tom - They can most certainly use a combination. They can, for example, write notes and take pictures throughout the day with their phone and then use their laptop or a tablet to complete the timecard and submit. We built the system with that flexibility in mind.
Question - How much does it cost?
Tom - If you already have HeavyJob field licenses, the cost is $10 per month to cover the cost of cloud and data services. This fee covers both the tablet and phone apps, so employees have flexible device options. If you exceed your field license count, you can sign up for our pure SaaS (Software as a service) model for a flat $50 per month with a $100 initialization fee.
Question - What is coming next for mobile apps?
Tom - In the job management apps, there are some exciting developments in the works. This summer we will deliver the ability to track materials and schedules as well as generate and electronically sign T&M reports right on the tablet. Also, we will be able to pull in equipment hours from our GPS systems. Finally, we are building a new Safety Meeting and Inspection app that should make it much easier to ensure that safe best practices are followed and issues are quickly resolved.
For our estimators, we are currently beta testing the BidMobile iPad app with a small set of customers and plan to release the app for sale this summer. The BidMobile system is perfect for estimating small jobs on site and we expect it to fill an unaddressed need in the construction market.
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