Article by Construction Dive
Construction is more than 60% under way on a Pratt Industries Recycle Paper Mill in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and not a sheet of paper can be found among the Wieland Construction team or its 60 subcontractors. Instead of pocket notebooks and hard plans, workers are breaking out iPads from designated vest pockets to reference documents, update task lists, upload photos and more.
Converting to a fully paperless workflow is a pretty radical undertaking on any project, and on this off-the-beaten-path greenfield site, the Lansing, Michigan-based general contractor certainly did not take the easy route. During its earliest site preparation, Wieland partnered with the local communications co-op to explore which internet services would be available and to install a mesh network with enough access points that every worker on the roughly 120-acre site could count on rapid network speed.
So why not launch this program on a smaller scale and in a more accessible location?
"We really wanted to push the boundaries," CEO Rob Krueger told Construction Dive. If his team could build a scalable network on a large scale, they knew they could do so on a smaller scale, and take some lessons learned with them to other projects.
"Now that the solution is built, we're already starting to deploy it on other project sites," he said.
From the outset, subcontractors and suppliers agreed to work from Procore's mobile app instead of paper documents and to pay monthly lease rates for iPad Pros. A three-way partnership between Wieland, Procore and Apple helped alleviate the burden of upfront hardware investments, Krueger said, while giving end users a direct line to app developers to improve their experience.
On top of the obvious savings on paper and printing costs, Krueger said one of the greatest benefits has been the guarantee that every craftsman on site is looking at the most up-to-date set of drawings. He also estimates that by eliminating trips between work areas and the trailer, going mobile has given project managers about two hours of their day back that they can use to work alongside crews and answer their questions.
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