Competitive Excavation, Inc. of St. George, Utah, with a large crew and broad range of heavy equipment, recently looked to busybusy and Kyocera to see how rugged mobile technology could save the company money and improve its communications and coordination, all while streamlining and automating elements of its operations. The company had been using 30 two-way radios, each costing $400, that simply provided voice-communications between groups. Rugged Kyocera smartphones with carrier-supported push-to-talk (PTT) and busybusy's easily downloaded mobile apps not only provided a lower-cost alternative, but also enhanced the ability to communicate between individuals and/or teams, automated employee timekeeping and allowed the company to better track and manage its people and machinery.
When thinking of construction workers, the term "high tech" is not one that typically jumps to mind. Using technology to manage projects, teams and supply chains provides obvious values and efficiencies, but was traditionally confined to offices and desks – more hospitable environments for high-tech, expensive electronics. With the recent evolution of affordable, ruggedized mobile devices, however, the power of technology is now finding its way to dirty, wet and rough job sites that used to be the enemy of electronics. A key part of this evolution is the smartphone, which combines the power of computing and communication in a single, mobile device. A new breed of ruggedized mobile phones from Kyocera, with specialized software from busybusy, is leading this charge.
Kyocera DuraForce PRO and Duraforce XD Smartphones, busybusy Time Tracking and Equipment Applications
Competitive Excavation has 45 employees and 42 pieces of heavy machinery that are distributed across five separate job sites in remote, undeveloped areas. In evaluating the replacement of its 30 single-purpose two-way radios with rugged smartphones, they saw major benefits. First, smartphones with PTT gave them the ability to maintain walkie-talkie-style communication, but with greater ability to customize and prioritize groups. Specifically, not all workers needed to hear all conversations (as they would on their 2-way radios), but company management wanted to stay apprised of projects and statuses via the conversations of specific teams. Second, the use of accessories such as two-way headsets helped facilitate communications within an inherently noisy environment. Rubberized holsters allowed the crew to securely and easily answer push-to-talk calls, while wireless charging cradles securely mounted to excavators or trucks kept the devices charged constantly. Lastly, using the busybusy app, Competitive Excavation saw improvement in six primary areas:
Improved Productivity – Job sites became more productive as the result of simplified and accurate time and labor tracking to the correct activities and cost codes, which also led to improved profit.
Simpler Tracking of Extras – Keeping track of new items not originally included in the estimates became easier to manage, including billing of those extras.
Business Growth – Increased accuracy and visibility of information resulted in greater ability to manage controlled growth.
Reduced Time-Entry Errors – busybusy's direct integration with Quickbooks minimized time-entry errors.
CAT & VisionLink Integration – The busybusy app integrates directly with CAT's fleet software, VisionLink. This allowed the team at Competitive Excavation to stay on top of fuel consumption, hours of usage, idle time, maintenance needs, and many other critical aspects of their equipment.
Mixed Fleet Equipment – For non-CAT equipment, the busybusy app was used by the field and management teams to quickly identify the location and activities of their fleet at a glance. With bird's-eye-view visibility, tracking and monitoring their fleet has never been easier.
Ultimately, Kyocera's rugged smartphones not only survived, but thrived in harsh working environments, while tailored apps from busybusy enhanced productivity and efficiency for Competitive Excavation. Bringing leading-edge, rugged communication technology all the way out to the jobsite created a total solution that proved to be affordable, scalable, powerful and ideal for construction companies of all sizes.
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