With the way the construction industry is going today, it wouldn’t be possible to keep up with the competition if we weren’t taking advantage of every possible technological advancement. When the latest tech allows us to complete jobs quicker, cheaper, and safer than we ever could previously, anyone not using it will be left in the dust. To us, it’s just that simple.
That’s why at Hughes Brothers Construction, we make an effort to incorporate technology on both the field and office sides of our business. For example, we use software from Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS) to streamline our operations. We regularly use HCSS HeavyBid as our estimating program, which integrates conveniently with the HCSS HeavyJob project management software.
Those two programs correlate and communicate with each other, making life much easier for our estimators and project managers. We use HeavyBid to help us bid on a project, and once we win the job, we copy it over from HeavyBid to HeavyJob, and now our project managers can access that job and use the software to help track performance on the project.
Every one of our foremen has an iPad with them at all times. That’s how they track their time and track their production, by keeping daily diaries on their iPads. The moment they show up on a job, they log in, load their crew for the day, list the equipment they have on the project, log the weather conditions, and more. That way, we always know that we have the right people on-site, and they have all the tools they need to complete the day’s work successfully.
Our superintendents and project managers have full access to that software, so they don’t need to be physically present on every job every day. If our superintendent gets hung up on one project and can’t make it to another job to check up on his team, he can just pull it up on his iPad and see how they did. That way, if there’s any problems, we can address them immediately, instead of losing three or four days of production like we might have in the old days.
In the field, all of our dozers are integrated with GPS, and we also have excavators and motor graders running GPS. Thanks to the GPS tech, we don’t have to worry about the stakes not being perfect, or waiting for the surveying team to come back and re-stake a portion of the job before we check the grade. It also saves us time and money, because we can put one GPS dozer on a fill section that would normally take two dozers.
We use both Trimble and Topcon for GPS, and the reason we chose those systems is partially because their support is so strong. It doesn’t matter how good the technology is, or how big your company is, or how many people you have — if that support isn’t there, and the supervision isn’t where it needs to be, it’s just a circus that wastes more time than it saves.
In a way, this is the same way we approach our work at Hughes Brothers. We could have the best crews and iron in the world, but if we don’t provide the proper level of support to our clients, nothing else matters.