Tag: <span>Automation</span>

BuiltWorlds Releases the Connected Job Site 50 List 2018

The 2018 Connected Job Site 50 List is the easiest way to understand the companies that are changing the future of job sites through IOT-enabled data collecting products and systems.

Drones / Mapping


DroneBase helps to track, map, survey, and manage job sites through providing a network of qualified drone pilots who are trained to fly for construction. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


DroneDeploy is a cloud-based automated drone mapping software turning aerial imagery and video from any drone into actionable insights while stimulating collaboration across stakeholders from anywhere in the world.


Hangar brings together data software, drone hardware, networks of certified pilots, and developers into one integrated platform. Its data acquisition platform extends insights beyond delivery and into operations and maintenance, ensuring projects stay on-time and on-budget.

  1. 3DR

3DR is a drone data platform specifically for the AEC industries. Their easy-to-use, fully automated software provides point clouds, 3D meshes, or contours to inform and connect those on site with stakeholders. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


SiteAware enhances job site monitoring with situation-aware drones bringing daily project progress updates and actionable 3D data to stakeholders.


Unearth’s collaboration software connects people, places, and plans (blueprints, specifications, spatial measures, and more) in real-time, allowing both the office and field to collaborate at the same time. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


Uplift’s drone pilot network and turnkey data service helps industry leaders capture and analyze aerial data to prevent rework, reduce waste, increase safety, and improve margins.

Tools & Equipment / Machinery


5D enables the automation of industrial equipment. Their two tools, 5D Position Engine and Behavior Engine, can integrate into your existing fleet of vehicles and equipment, turning them into ‘smart’ robotics solutions.


Apis Cor has developed the first mobile construction 3D printer, capable of printing entire buildings on site. Apis Cor claims to cut costs by 40% in comparison to traditional construction methods.


Construction Robotics is a robotic and automation equipment manufacturer. Its first machine, SAM100, is a robotic bricklayer for on-site masonry construction. Its second and most recent machine, MULE, is a lift assist device for safer handling and placing of materials weighing up to 135 lbs on construction sites.


DeWalt has created a three-part inventory management solution to connect and track your tools across multiple job sites and collect data from their mobile app automatically bringing you real-time information.


Fastbricks has created a dynamic stabilization machine that reacts to wind, vibration, and other factors instantly, enabling precise positioning of heavy objects on your job site.


One-Key is the first digital platform for tools and equipment tracking, combining an inventory program with Milwaukee Tools’s innovative set of existing industry tools. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo

  1. MX3D

MX3D’s robotic 3D printing technology prints steel, metal or resin structures in virtually any size or shape for manufacturing purposes.


ShareMyToolbox is a mobile application that connects employees to a company’s tool catalog to give users access to tools and assets available in the warehouse or field.


Truck IT is a cloud-based application for the scheduling and payment of dump truck services. It allows users to access real-time information on dump truck availability in their market.


Bosch Bluehound is a cloud-based tracking solution improving transparency between the warehouse and the job site. Their mobile-first platform allows you to track, manage and localize working assets at all times.


People / Collaboration


Arvizio has created the industry’s first mixed reality server platform using its advanced spatial data engine to bring large scale 3D data to your 3D viewing devices in the field.


Astralink is a Quality Assurance platform for the construction industry, using Augmented Reality (AR) technology to bridge the gap between BIM models and real-life construction field work.

  1. DAQRI

DAQRI produces AR technology to be used on the job site, including their Smart Glasses and Worksense software.


Grit Virtual’s VR-based construction management software is re-imagining the way that project teams interact with their schedule. They are taking the 3D nature of virtual reality and advancing it into the fourth dimension with planning software. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


Imajion has created a mixed reality construction management platform revolutionizing communication on the job site by blending digital objects and information.


IrisVR’s easy-to-use VR platform focuses on the architecture, construction, and engineering industries to stimulate collaboration in virtual space, no matter the physical location of each individual involved.


RealWear produces a voice-driven, hands-free, head-mounted solution to connect workers with PDF documents and maintenance and assembly manuals on the job and in the field.


XOi has developed head-mounted, wearable computing technology that provides real-time visual and audible intelligence for the field service industries, as well as the back-end software that organizes and manages the data and content created. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo



BellHawk software uses mobile data collection, barcode scanning, and printing technologies to provide real-time inventory, materials, and operations tracking for existing ERP, CRM, and other backend software.


Concrete Sensors’ sensors are embedded in concrete prior to pouring and connect with mobile devices to report the concrete’s strength and drying time, preventing the need for removing material to test the concrete.


Intelliwave Technologies (SiteSense) produces mobile-based software solutions for RFID and GPS identification and tracking of construction materials speeding up the locating of materials in the field by 10X. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


Jovix seeks to reduce fabrication delays and other material readiness issues by collecting, processing, and presenting actionable data in a graphical format; allowing laborers to focus on using their tools.

  1. TRACK ‘EM

Using barcode, RFID, and GPS technologies, Track’em offers material, quality, progress, and time control systems to track and optimize company resources.

  1. X-B-E

X-B-E coordinates the movement of materials by dump truck for the construction industry through their software platform bringing control of your materials to the palm of your hand.

Site Monitoring / Safety


busybusy allows users to track their team and equipment from a mobile device and eliminates paper time cards, improving job costing, and simplifying the payroll process. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo

  1. EYRUS

Eyrus invisibly registers, records, and reports tradespeople entering and exiting the jobsite, providing worker identity verification via high-security entry structures on job sites. The technology also sends stakeholders real-time trade deployment data. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo

  1. MSITE

MSite is a biometric access security system and construction gate monitor that ensures site adherence to safety and security policies and tracks labor time and attendance.


Pillar’s sensors attach to studs, columns, or other structures on the job site to detect smoke, dust, and other air issues so that workers can pinpoint problem areas.


Rhumbix uses crew telematics to capture real-time field data from workers’ smartphones in order to increase construction productivity and safety through a simple-to-use mobile interface. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


Sensera has created a variety of solar powered, wireless construction time-lapse cameras for the monitoring and security of construction sites. An additional benefit is real-time live site monitoring for all stakeholders.


Smartvid automatically aggregates all of the digital data already being produced on a construction site into one platform to easily identify safety concerns with little added work.


Soloinsight provides IoT solutions via an identification platform of integrated software and sensors that helps customers manage security, personnel, assets, and visitors.

  1. TENNA

Tenna’s asset tracking software and physical tags integrate with GPS tracking solutions to provide physical asset planning, including location tracking, usage and service history, maintenance schedules, and documentation, all in the palm of your hand.


Triax Technologies has created the Spot-r Clip and the Spot-r Equiptag, wearable devices that provides real-time visibility into the job site, resulting in faster response to injuries, improved safety performance, and increased productivity and efficiency of equipment and people.


WeatherBuild leverages weather data, machine learning, and predictive analytics to enhance safety, and manage risk while optimizing uptime of crews and equipment, reducing the number of delays caused by weather problems. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


  1. FARO

Faro brings 3D laser scanning to the AEC industry with detailed point clouds and highly accurate measurements of complex objects and buildings. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


HoloBuilder’s scanners offer construction professionals and real estate agents the opportunity to create and share 360° views of their buildings through 360° imagery and artificial intelligence.


Imerso builds 3D scanning solutions for mobile devices, digitizing real-world spaces into 1:1 3D models in seconds via photo stitching technology.


Kaarta has produced a hand-held scanner capable of real-time 3D modeling. Its portable systems sense and instantly transform the environment around them with no reliance on GPS. Come see them at the BuiltWorlds Projects LA Connected Job Site Expo


Matterport provides cloud-based 3D and virtual reality solutions to the real estate and AEC industries that allow users to create, modify, navigate, and build on digital representations of real places.


Paracosm is a 3D mapping software company that develops mobile reality capture, progress monitoring, and visualization solutions. They also developed the first hand-held lidar scanning product, the PX-80.

  1. SKUR

SKUR provides cloud analytics and point-cloud software to verify as-built construction variations and catch issues with fabricated elements before they become a problem.


StructionSite’s construction documentation software integrates with 360° cameras providing searchable visual documentation to provide accountability and create communication efficiencies for work in-progress on the job site.

Source: BuiltWorlds.

Using roofing software to create more accurate estimates and material orders

CRM software with real-time supplier pricing reduces ordering mistakes and homeowner distrust.

By Michelle Mittelman, AccuLynx.

When roofers are in the field assessing storm damage, talking to homeowners, and providing work estimates, one of the most important factors that they rely on is knowing the price of their materials. Every roofer has a preference of who he orders from; and knowing what materials he needs, and how much they cost are a huge part of generating an estimate.

When time is of the essence, a roofer may choose to rely on a template to provide a quote to a homeowner – but what if, unbeknownst to the sales rep, there has been a change in material availability or pricing? That estimate price may change significantly when it is processed as an order, prompting adjustments that could potentially anger the homeowner, and make the roofer appear untrustworthy.

Roofers who order material supplies through a CRM platform like AccuLynx, with a direct integration to a trusted material supplier see more accurate pricing, less mistakes in material ordering, and eliminate the need to handwrite the same information over and over across different documentation.

Using Real-Time Pricing in Your Estimates:

At the start of any job, roofers build estimates based on several factors, including the materials they use, and the costs assigned to those products.

A roofer that has digital access to real-time pricing within his estimates saves valuable time searching for the current price and availability of each individual line item. Templates in AccuLynx that pull from your local branch, with your negotiated rates give roofers an instant, accurate material cost that they can apply to their estimates, eliminating the guesswork, and potential surprises down the line.

CRM platforms with material supplier integrations allow you to complete jobs faster, meaning your company can take on more projects and make more profit.

Order Your Roofing Materials Directly from Your Estimate

Having accurate estimates translates into placing accurate orders. By converting your estimate to a material order through an integration, roofers eliminate human error, provide a digital record from one document to the next, and save time transferring the data from one platform to another. There is no time wasted between steps.

Roofers can feel confident that there will be no surprises in either availability or price when they order materials through their connected CRM platform. This proficiency improves a company’s reputation, leading to more business, and higher customer satisfaction.

Note: This article was first published on AccuLynx’s blog and can be viewed here.

Improve your sales speed: 5 ways to sell more jobs with fewer site visits

By Kate Foster, AccuLynx.

Software for aerial measurements, templates, automation. E-signatures and CRM produces more profits.

During the busy storm season, everyone in the field is looking for ways to improve their sales speed. Faster sales means you have time for more jobs, and having more jobs leads to more profits, and more profits benefit your company as a whole. However, increasing your sales speed can result in sloppy paperwork, lack of attention to critical details, and a lower quality experience for the homeowner – all of which can hurt your business reputation.

In an ideal environment, your sales staff would be able to make fewer site visits for a job, reduce the amount of time and resources spent on each project, and effectively speed up your sales.

But how do you sell more jobs while at the same time reducing the amount of site visits you take?

Use Aerial Measurements to Save Time During Estimation

One way you can improve your sales speed while making fewer job site visits is to use aerial measurements rather than manual ones.

By pre-ordering aerial measurement reports for areas with storm damage, your sales teams will already have access to accurate measurements that they can apply directly to their estimates, saving time up on the roof, and creating paperwork. CRM systems like AccuLynx work with trusted providers like EagleView and SkyMeasure to directly input data into your job file, so your teams come to their appointments prepared.

Accurate measurements helps sales teams avoid lost information or incorrectly entered data so your staff won’t have to make any trips back to the site to remeasure.

Use Templates to Save Time Filling Out the Details

Every roofing business has their own standard set of paperwork, and oftentimes that means your sales teams are working off of a template. Templates are a great way to make sure nothing is forgotten – but what if they skip a section in haste, or accidentally overwrite a previous document?

Using digital templates like the AccuLynx SmartDocs feature allows roofers to create custom, digital templates from the documents they use most on any project. Admins can set mandatory fields, like phone number or Insurance Company, so your field reps can’t submit the file without first filling out the important details.

Using templates means no information gets forgotten and no follow-up phone calls or excess trips to the field are needed.

Avoid Data Re-Entry with Automation

Using digital templates also means once you’ve entered the information once – you’re done! These templates also have the ability to be auto-populate. When you convert your estimate to a contract, you’re not wasting time filling out the same information over and over – they will automatically fill in the assigned data from your CRM for any job you use that template on. The ability to complete your projects faster means you can focus on the next sale.

eSign Your Legal Documents

Homeowners want to know they’re getting a good deal, so you can expect they’ll be getting several quotes for a job. You can take the stress off your sales teams schedules by implementing a legal eSignature component to your paperwork so once a decision is made, they don’t have to drive across town to get a simple scribble.

Sending your Estimate Packet to a customer via email is faster – customers know where to sign and initial, and once they’re done, it’s returned to your job file so your office team can start scheduling the material drop-off and crews.

And, if your sales staff is so great that the homeowner wants to sign on the spot? eSignatures signed on tablets or mobile devices are equally as effective and legally binding.

Have a Process in Place to Streamline Your Sales Pipeline

Having a sales process in place can also help you speed up your sales. A step by step system ensures your sales team knows exactly what to do after each milestone during a job, minimizing time spent figuring out what to do next and allowing them to work more efficiently.

A pre-set process also makes sure everyone is on the same page, facilitating communication and eliminating potential confusion. This allows your sales to proceed faster because everyone is clear on what needs to be done and you do not need to spend time clearing up miscommunications. CRMs can provide your company with a sales process through pipeline features, which guides a job through the various steps of a project from the time it is a lead to the time the job is closed and paid for.

There are many ways to cut out inefficiencies in your sales process without letting your quality and professionalism suffer. Finding the right balance for your company can help shave hours of redundancy off your sales team days, allowing them to visit more homes, make more sales and deliver more profit to your roofing business.

Note: This article was first published on AccuLynx’s blog and can be viewed here.

Wrapping down Projects Chicago Conference

By Jim Lichtenwalte, BuiltWorlds

Much to the fanfare of coffee-lovers everywhere, Starbucks will open a massive, 45,000 square-foot roastery in downtown Chicago next year. Formerly Crate & Barrel, it will be the largest Starbucks location in the world, and feature a staggering assortment of coffee, teas, and food.

And right around the corner from where that store is currently under construction, BuiltWorlds hosted its Chicago Projects Conference last month. In Loyola University’s Corboy Law Center, looking out at some of downtown Chicago’s most impressive structures, attendees learned how new construction technologies are changing job sites around the world, and revolutionizing the industry into something smarter, safer, and more interconnected.

Three of Chicago’s most exciting projects–the massive new Starbucks on Michigan Avenue, the renovation of the old Chicago Post Office, and the construction the 774,000 square-foot office space at 110 North Carpenter in the West Loop–were used as case studies illustrating just how far technology is pushing the built industry. The seven panels spanning the day-long conference covered, in great detail, the technology solutions currently in play in the AEC industry that are changing the way we build.

The conference opened with a keynote address by Sean Conlon, the president and co-founder of Conlon & Co. and the host of CNBC’s “The Deed Chicago.” A successful real estate developer and entrepreneur, Conlon walked the audience through his beginnings in Ireland, his journey to Chicago, and the successes and failures he’s had along the way. Conlon encouraged attendees to be bold and push forward.

“Pioneers often get shot in the back with arrows, not pilgrims,” he said.

Many innovative and technologically-driven practices are being used on large scale projects right here in Chicago. When designing the 110 North Carpenter office building (which now houses McDonald’s new corporate headquarters), Gensler utilized analytics and imaging software to create nearly 70 iterations of how to use the building site optimally and create a public space, before deciding on the design that was eventually chosen. The building is also now home to cutting-edge smart building technology in its lobby. Using a combination of key cards, turnstiles, and a 12-car elevator group, KONE created a more intelligent way to funnel people from the building’s entrance and to their offices.

“We wanted to see what we could do to help people get to their destination,” said Dan Brooks, KONE’s director of corporate sales.

In just about every office in America, a building’s occupants swipe their key cards to be admitted to the elevator bank, and then wait for their elevator along with a mishmash of other people destined for a variety of floors. The system KONE installed has the occupants of 110 North Carpenter equipped with smart key cards with data about their floor number. When swiping at the building’s turnstiles, users are assigned to an elevator with a group of people going to nearby floors. Brooks compared this change like moving from a bus to a taxi.

Similarly, ManufactOn and Skender are also two companies utilizing technology to change the industry. In their presentation, Tim Swanson, Skender’s chief design officer, Kevin Bredeson, Skender’s chief technology officer, and Raghi Iyengar, ManufactOn’s founder and chief executive officer, announced a formal, continuing partnership. ManufactOn is a platform that helps companies plan, track, and manage prefabricated projects. Moving forward, Skender will be using ManufactOn software to create modular construction projects. The three men see modular projects as a smarter way to build cities that is safer and uses less resources.

“About half the world’s resources we pull out of the ground we for buildings, and half the energy we use goes into buildings,” Swanson said. “Maybe there is a different way to do it. Maybe there is an alternative future, one does that doesn’t necessarily have to look like ‘Ready Player One.’”

Other panels examined the way technology is making construction sites safer places to work. Aiden Dalley, the product marketing manager of ViewpointDavid de Yarza, the CEO of Builderbox, Inc., and Daniel J. Klancnik, the director of project solutions Leopardo, detailed how interconnected technologies are making job sites safer and safer with each passing day. Using 360 cameras, job sites can be scanned and examined by superintendents for any safety issues.

“You now have the ability to make everybody on the jobsite with a cellphone a safety inspector,” De Yarza noted.

John Cahalan, the director of strategy at XOi, and Mark Schlander, vice president at GuardHat, Inc., discuss how their companies’ wearable products track workers’ locations, enable easier communications, and alert workers of dangerous conditions.

“Everyday 14 workers don’t come home from work,” Schlander said. “We make the invisible visible.”

The conference was capped off by the announcement of BuiltWorlds’ Project Technology Challenge winner, which was chosen by an experienced group of judges. Bobby Goodman, the co-founder of Truss announced Colas’ solar panel roadway as the winner of the competition. The project will line the existing surface area of roads with thin solar panels to produce more sustainable energy.

Moving forward, there is a lot to be excited about in the construction industry. If leaders keep pushing forward and striving for innovation as Conlon encouraged in the keynote, the built industry will certainly continue to become a safer, smarter place and yield amazing results.

Note: This first appeared on BuiltWorld’s website and can be viewed here.

7 Steps to Opportunity Automation in Roofing

By Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing.

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a software system designed to track potential customer interactions and help manage the sales process.  There are a number of players in the CRM space, but the two most robust offerings are Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.  The key to their success is the ability to automate and customize.  This article focuses on the opportunity.

Many companies call opportunities “leads.”   Opportunities are so much more.  Opportunities are a true request to provide a quote or potential quoting “opportunity.”  In the end, opportunities are either won or lost.  And, you can have multiple opportunities for each customer.  Now that we know what an opportunity is, let’s jump into the creating an automated opportunity process.

1 – Create the Opportunity. 

In most cases, a potential customer will simply call into your office, fill out a web form request or send an email request to have their roof looked at.  If a lead asks for an estimate they are now an opportunity.  Convert the lead to an opportunity and add in additional details about their specific need.  Details needed will include details about the leak or problem, contact details, who the decision maker is, budget, communication channel preference, type of roof, age of roof, time frame, presentation venue, advisors and material preferences.

2 – Set Estimate Appointment.

To truly automate the process there are online calendar systems that allow potential customers to request their own appointment time slot, much like making a restaurant reservation via OpenTable or similar app.  If your CRM program has an integrated resource calendar this is absolutely possible and quite easy to set up.  Set your CRM software to change the appointment duration based on the type of appointment.  Repairs may only take one hour while reroofs may take three.  Commercial projects could take the full day.  The system can use the job type to determine this.  The system can also automatically assign an estimator, sales coordinator and sales manager.

3 – Confirmation Automation.

Based on the potential customer’s preference, an automated confirmation should be generated from your CRM system shortly after the estimate appointment is created.  This communication is most often an email but could be a text or phone call.  I suggest including the detailed information you’ve collected from the potential client and ask them to review it for errors or omissions.   Many times, potential customers have told us what their objections are in a reply email to the confirmation.  Suggested items to list include names, phone numbers, email addresses, time of appointment, type of roof, budget, time frame to decision, decision makers, type of roof interested in, etc.  Also include information about your company to help give some background on what makes you unique.  As a final touch of professionalism, resend the confirmation 24 hours before the appointment and make it easy for the potential client to reschedule if needed.

4 – Estimate Automation.

Time is our most valuable resource.  Constantly spending it reinventing the same estimate wheel is a waste.  Have your CRM system do the heavy lifting for you.  For instance, if you use an aerial measurement service, have your CRM system request a report automatically via addressing.  The service can reply in kind using an importable file type that can then auto-generate estimates, prepopulate proposals and do most of the work without ever involving the sales team.

5 – After-Estimate Action.

Once the estimate is completed the system should be updated with the sales details.  Examples are percentage of probably win rate, likely decision time frame, adjusted budget amount, samples requested, next follow-up date, type of follow-up requested and anything you can think of that will help adjust the after-estimate actions.  Now that CRM has the information it needs, let the automation begin.  CRM can automatically order samples from distribution or manufacturers and have them sent directly to the client.  How about sending an after-estimate survey to see where the potential customer stands?  Send automated communications via snail mail, email, fax, text or phone call reminder to see if the customer has made a decision yet.

6 – Close Opportunity Lost.

Ever wonder what happened to that estimate you gave a while back?  Wouldn’t you like to know who won that big job?  Wouldn’t it be nice to look at a list of opportunities and only call on the ones that are still active?  This is where the Close Opportunity dialog comes in.  Close opportunities lost if they were truly lost, if the customer decided not to have the work done or if it wasn’t really an opportunity in the first place.  Have CRM send the opportunities an email with reply buttons in it.  If the job is lost, just have them simply click on “We’ve decided to not have the work done or have it done by someone else.”  This is a soft way for lost clients to let you know they went elsewhere.  Let the system do it automatically to avoid putting any more time into a lost cause.

7 – Close Opportunity Won.

The customer has just awarded you the job.  Now this is where automation really takes over.  Your CRM software can be programmed to pass over all the important opportunity, contact, account, roof and job-related details and automatically start preparing the project for production.  It’s time to automatically thank the customer and let them know what to expect.  Have CRM contact the customer with a special thank you message.  Include details on the specific job process, timeline of the project, what to expect, what they can do to prepare, what additional details are needed to keep things on schedule and so on.    And don’t forget to bask in the winner’s circle.  You deserve it.

Ken Kelly is president of Kelly Roofing in Naples, Fla. For more information, he can be reached via email at ken@kellyroofing.com.


Note: This article first published in Roofing Contractor magazine and the full version can be viewed here.

Report Says U.S. Not As Prepared As Other Countries for Automation

A report from Swiss technology leader ABB says the U.S. is behind other countries regarding its readiness for an increasingly automated world, placing ninth on a ranking of 25 advanced economies, according to www.savannahnow.com.

Researchers graded the countries in three main categories: innovation environment, which included money spent on research and development; school policies, from early curriculums to lifelong learning programs; and public workforce development, such as government-led efforts to retrain workers.

The report showed South Korea, Singapore, Germany and Canada are better prepared for automation largely because of their education systems and labor policies. Although it was acknowledged no country is “genuinely ready” for the technological shift expected to happen during the next three decades, the U.S. was deemed especially underprepared.

Guido Jouret, ABB’s chief digital officer, specifically referenced the U.S. educational system, which pushes students toward two- or four-year degrees. Colleges can be slower to keep up with technological changes, and companies will want workers who can adapt to cutting-edge technological developments.

By contrast, Germany encourages technical training, with 60 percent of young adults in the country training as apprentices in manufacturing, IT, banking, construction and other fields compared with 5 percent of Americans.

The Chinese government is updating public education to prioritize creativity rather than acing standardized tests; economists say these efforts are meant to train children and young adults to value independent thinking over regurgitation, which is a trait robots can’t yet replicate.

“Take the Southwest Airlines pilot—she did a phenomenal job landing that plane,” Jouret said, referencing a recent engine explosion that grabbed international attention. “This is the thing we need people to be good at—how to cope with the unexpected.”

Although U.S. leaders have praised apprenticeships as a way to help prepare workers for an increasingly technological world, economists say the U.S. would benefit more from continuous learning.

In Singapore, citizens were given cash in “individual learning accounts” they can use to cover job training courses at any stage in their careers. In Germany, lawmakers have proposed “employment insurance,” which would help workers pay for upgrading their skills during their lives.

The U.S. scores higher on research-and-development spending, which involves the dollars that fund advancements, devoting 2.79 percent of gross domestic product to the effort, which places the country fourth behind South Korea (4.23 percent), Japan (3.28 percent) and Germany (2.88 percent).

Note: This article first appeared on the NRCA website and can be viewed here.

Important Considerations When Selecting Software

By Heidi J. Ellsworth

Contractors who are focused on technology and building progressive roofing companies are taking a lead in the market.  Here are five areas to add to your considerations when choosing software for your roofing company.

  1. Reliability and Customizable Production Features

Solid ordering and scheduling that adapts to your business are critical to a successful business.  Scheduling and ordering is arguably the most important aspect of any roofing business.  Look for software that provides the most customizable and reliable scheduling and ordering features available.  In fact, it is good to look for software that will expand ordering and scheduling to grow the business instead of outgrowing the software.

  1. Customization & Automation

Many contractors find themselves with programs that are stagnant in the development of their systems. They feel they are limited to what their current or former program can do.  Be sure to ask for contractor-driven development.  It makes you a part of the process and not only helps your company but the industry overall.

  1. Own and Protect Your Data

Today’s data is gold and needs to be protected.  Be sure that whatever software company you work with makes your data accessible 24/7 with easy downloads and storage.  Also, it must be secure.  With viruses like WannaCry on the rampage, be sure that data is protected and has an elevated level of redundancy when backing-up.  Be sure that with a push of a button you can download all your leads, workflows, customer info and more.

  1. Process Is King

Look for a strong manageable flow.  Rather than having a few status “buckets” to move your jobs along, look for the ability to create custom workflows based on your processes. Regardless if your job cycle has five steps or fifty, you should be able to design processes and notifications with ease to keep your jobs moving along in a seamless manner.

  1. Evolving, Not Versioning

It can be very frustrating when your favorite app or program gets updated? It probably does everything it did before (and then some), but suddenly, you’re forced to re-learn everything.  Things that were on the left are now on the right, things that were visible are now hidden.  Some software does not release new versions, they simply evolve. In some cases, they can let you decide when you want to move and update interfaces. Ask if this is available and that way, you can learn how to use a new feature when you aren’t as busy.

For additional technical blogs be sure to visit the RoofersCoffeeShop.com Technology Newsroom at https://rooferscoffeeshop.com/category/technology/.