Why digitalising highways field work is the road to success
Road building goes back thousands of years, making it one of the world’s oldest professions. Of course, the way we build roads and highways today bears no resemblance to the methods used by our ancestors. And as the way we build has evolved, so has the way fieldworkers collect and share project information.
For many years, the preferred method of recording information was about as basic as can be, with pen and paper usually the default go-to. The limitations of this were obvious, but even as the technology used to build highways came on leaps and bounds, the way operatives recorded stood still.
Thankfully, the digitalisation of industry has changed what is possible, and FYLD customers working on highway projects worldwide are achieving enormous benefits by leveraging the benefits of technology.
It is difficult to overstate the extent to which FYLD is improving the visibility of teams and the work they carry out. Risk assessments, project updates, and other evidence are uploaded in real-time to the platform, which is accessed remotely by all relevant stakeholders, whether a management team or another contractor team preparing to come on to site. The platform has centralised what was previously a fragmented and inefficient way of recording work and communicating progress.
Take a typical fieldworker working on a highway project: they deploy a number of different solutions throughout the day, many of which are difficult or impossible to access in real-time. A risk assessment at the beginning of the day is recorded on a PDF; communications to colleagues are done on WhatsApp; and a phone call at the end of the day to a manager to give a progress update. FYLD has brought several disparate and inefficient communication systems together to digitally record a day in the life of a fieldworker that can be accessed remotely and in real-time.
That real-time visibility is driving demonstrable results. In the UK, in a six-week trial with our customer, Kier Highways, 90% of its jobs were signed off by video risk assessments, while 30% of jobs saw proactive manager interventions. Feedback from management said this level of collaborative, real-time feedback would have been “near-impossible” without FYLD.
FYLD is not digitalising for the sake of digitalisation. Building a timeline of projects and the actions taken by fieldworkers, backed by photographic and video evidence, is night and day compared with how things have been done previously.
Productivity and efficiency
A significant advantage of FYLD is its ability to make businesses and their processes much more efficient. In the United States, our client, Ferrovial, had previously recorded its risk assessments and compliance processes on paper. That made it incredibly difficult for management to know what was happening on-site because all of the paper notes might be sat in a truck until the end of the day.
As well as making it impossible to manage a site remotely, it’s also an incredibly wasteful process. Over the course of a year, its workforce filled out hundreds of pieces of paper, ticking thousands of boxes. FYLD has reduced those processes to a few clicks on a tablet or smartphone, representing a considerable number of man-hours saved.
Our Kier Highways trial further illustrates FYLD’s impact. Over the six weeks, fieldworkers were able to save an average of 17 minutes on each risk assessment, resulting in a saving of 370 field-worker hours. Overall, an 8% productivity uplift was achieved, which over a year would result in productivity savings of £312,000 – a 7x return on investment.
Highways are public infrastructure, so there’s a considerable amount of compliance to be considered for any company or employee working on projects. Contractors have to provide evidence of any work they have carried out. FYLD is ideal for highways work because it shows the whole lifecycle of a project through the images and video captured by fieldworkers.
As well as the real-time visibility benefits, capturing compliance evidence in this way is saving businesses time. Previously, compliance reports would be put together weekly, monthly, and annually, with paper-based reports and other materials pulled from several different sources. That process involves a lot of different people and is a challenging and sometimes muddled process. With FYLD, all of that evidence sits in one place and is updated in real-time.
Previously, if you were asked for compliance evidence, you’d have to sift through vast amounts of information and paperwork. In FYLD, locating that compliance evidence is almost instant.
User experience and accessibility
The FYLD platform has been built with the end user in mind – the fieldworker. We know from talking to companies all over the world that workforces widely dislike many of the tools being used in the field. They are clunky, unintuitive and poorly designed from a user experience point of view.
Unlike those solutions, FYLD has been designed from the bottom up. We live in a digital world where the vast majority of people can use messaging applications or take pictures on their phones and send them to friends and family. That’s why FYLD functions more like a social media feed and timeline that people are familiar with. The application relies on that usability, because the data fieldworkers input creates the AI and data analysis that is so important for risk assessments.
FYLD makes it straightforward to capture all of this information in one place, delivering a completely unique solution in the industry.