A job site is an orchestra of labor, equipment, and materials that leads towards a pre-defined final state. Do things always go as expected? of course not. How much does an hourly delay cost the job and eat into the bottom line? What is the root cause of things inevitably not going as planned? It’s simple: somewhere along the line, information has been wrongly handled either by you or someone else on the team. The external master schedule was defined during the pre-construction phase and aims to provide a view of the path to completion of the project before the actual work begins. It sets the course for everything from time, sequence, cost, labor management, materials, quality, to job site health and safety risk points. For executives, schedulers, and field managers tasked with meeting the expectations set out in the master schedule, there has always been a painful interruption in alignment between what actually happens in real time in the project and the parameters set in an external plan. “The CPM schedule is essential in convincing the project team that we have a well-thought-out plan to achieve project milestones,” said Nathan Thompson, scheduling manager at Lee Kennedy Company, a full-service construction company. “A solution that bridges the gap between the master schedule and the daily plan can provide a huge advantage.” In the absence of an integrated solution, teams resort to ineffective solutions. Supervisors and field staff who are not trained in how to use widespread master schedule software platforms, such as P6, will spend hours manually trying to correlate the outside table with information written on trailer walls and sticky notes using paper forms or spreadsheets. This leads to a greater likelihood of human error, poor communication between field and office, and lost worksite information resulting from the reality of daily on-site re-planning. The most worrying outcome for owners and general contractors: unnecessary delays, cost overruns, poor workplace flow, deal backlogs, unbalanced expectations and less secure business environments. The industry has recently started taking steps to solve this problem by adopting basic digital production / planning tools. It can be difficult for professions to embrace many, including those that are primarily targeting ‘lean’ teams, are not easily accessible in a remote environment and lack reporting and analytics that meet the real need to relate the data that is generated daily on the job site. The highest level of project controls is in the master schedule. A new breed of data-driven building performance platforms, led by Boston-based building technology firm Touchplan, not only solves the problem of aligning job site data from daily field plans and external schedule but also provides dashboards that dramatically improve the overall process all the time. Accessible anytime, anywhere, these cloud-based technologies can be configured by teams in the field to capture daily schedule changes in the collaborative implementation plan that affect work productivity, materials, quality, safety requirements and easily connect field activity to the external master schedule. Easily connect the field activity to the master schedule to keep all teams aligned. Touchplan With critical project updates now connected in real time to the master schedule, everyone knows where the project is in relation to the big picture. Project executives can quickly visualize and answer the question “Does your outlook schedule match your master schedule?” Supervisors can focus more on managing job site performance and less on data entry. The scheduling manager now has much easier access to the commitments made in the daily plan and confidently understands how the overall schedule is moving. Top management can analyze data across single and multiple projects, and make better and faster decisions that allow more effective communication with the project owner or representative. Thompson added: “By connecting Touchplan between the two, we are easily transferring the conceptual milestones of CPM from our scheduling software to set goals for the daily planning effort. As the project progresses, we are re-entering the progress gathered from our future plan into our schedule program for insight Insight into the overall condition of the project. It’s a real game changer. ”Implementing platforms that link the external master schedule to the real-time data collected on the job site is the next critical step in the development of a construction project improvement. Teams from owners align to the professions and work collaboratively to manage project controls. When commitments are fulfilled and jobs are completed within budget and ahead of schedule, it means happier owners, happier workers, and most importantly, happier communities served by completed projects.