Jun 12 2014

4 reasons to upgrade your defects & inspections tool

We recently surveyed 340 AEC industry managers and operatives about defects and inspections management processes and tools. Here is an infographic of the survey results. Satisfaction scores for basic functionalities such as reporting the status of defects and managing resolution through the supply chain indicate that construction teams are making do with current tools, and that there is much scope to dramatically increase the quality and efficiency of this essential process. Four reasons to upgrade your defects and inspections management tool are discussed below:

1. Manage quality, conformance AND cost

The vast majority (89%) of respondents cited their primary objective for defects and inspections management as being to ‘increase quality’ or ‘ensure conformance’. Meanwhile, more than one-quarter (27%) cited ‘cost’, and more than one-third (35%) cited ‘lack of management buy-in’ as impediments to using a specialised defects management tool. Quality, conformance and cost management are not mutually exclusive objectives in the defects management process. The research findings indicate a genuine lack of awareness about what can be achieved on large projects and across an enterprise through the use of specialised defects management tools. In addition to the cost reductions achieved due to fast, efficient defect close-out, using an enterprise-level defects and inspections tool provides an opportunity to demonstrate at the bid stage of a project, proof of how conformance with Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality (HSEQ) policies will be effectively delivered. This in turn could secure more business.

2. Email and Excel are not fit-for-purpose tools

As little as 20% of respondents are highly satisfied with their current defects management solution. The remaining 80% report low-medium satisfaction, citing ‘reporting capabilities’ and ‘not efficient’ as key reasons. Meanwhile, the take-up of specialised tools for defects management is low, with 79% of respondents using various combinations of email and Excel to manage their defects processes. The low adoption of specialised tools can be linked to the small proportion of highly satisfied respondents. There are many mobile apps that can be readily purchased from the app stores at low cost, but when it comes to defects software, you get what you pay for. These ‘cheap’ apps are typically single-user and hosted on device. As such, they can be useful productivity tools, but only for very small projects. When teams of any size are involved, and multiple members are checking defects, carrying out inspections, or addressing resolutions to defects, the ability to share data is critical. The mobile working aspect, through the tablet interface, is just one piece of the jigsaw. The ability to input defects and manage reporting through a desktop environment via the web, from any location, is the key component and provides one continuous record of data throughout the project, leading to real quality, time and cost savings. The good news is that there is plenty of scope for a change in working practices provided by an investment in a dedicated mobile defects and inspection management system. This investment will provide massive efficiencies to both clients and service providers and lead to a better end product. Perhaps not zero defects at handover, but certainly much closer than is currently being achieved.

Image of infographic showing satisfaction rates of current solutions

3. Leverage the productivity improvements possible with mobile platforms

Just 11% of respondents said they use specialised mobile tools to manage defects processes. This means the majority are missing the productivity benefits of mobile working. Instead they are using pen and paper systems which leads to double handling of the data, and in turn increases the time taken to add defects to the master list and then distribute them for resolution. What about the accuracy of data entry in transferring the information – this is a weakness which will almost certainly lead to errors. All of these issues can be overcome through the use of a defects platform which has a web interface that can also be accessed offline from a tablet device, enabling the capture and editing of defects or inspections. Imagine the increased productivity if this is multiplied across several people working on a large project. Clever tools then synch to the cloud when an internet connection is available, sending an email with action points and an up-to-date status report to all team members.

4. Manage defects through the whole life of the project

Just 14% of respondents said they use a mobile application from the start of the construction process. This is missed opportunity as Conject clients who conduct Day 1 snagging report shorter project timescales and cost reductions. Imagine however, if through effective and efficient inspection and management of defective works through the life of the project, you could handover the facility to your customer with near-zero defects. In conclusion, don’t continue to ‘make-do’. You can reduce the number of defects by starting earlier in the project, close-out defects much faster and decrease the cost impact of defects using one of the flexible enterprise-level platforms that make light work of defects and inspections management process.

See the survey infographic in full size.

The new conjectMI mobile inspections management is a powerful enterprise-level defects and inspections platform. To arrange a demo contact Christian Harvey on 01483 712 620.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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