Google the words “remote work” and you will get over 1.5 billion search results. Most refer to work that people can do from anywhere sitting in front of a computer, but that is not how construction work is done. Where is it?
The use of remote-controlled equipment is on the rise among contractors for three main reasons: First, it significantly reduces the risk of accidents and injuries on the job. Second, it can offer significant benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity. And third, it is proving to be a smart way to address the current operator shortage and skills gap.
Is It Time For Your Business To Get Into The Remote Tech Game? Ask yourself these four questions:
1. Is your work environment harsh or dangerous?
It’s no secret that working in construction comes with risks, not all of which can be avoided. But remote technology makes it possible to remove operators from the cab in situations that are inherently dangerous or where they could be exposed to environmental hazards or harmful air quality. The use of remote equipment also helps reduce fatigue caused by noise, vibration and constant movement of the machine, a boon to the health, well-being and longevity of operators on the job.
2. The use of your machine leaves something to be desired?
When you assign an operator to each machine on site but don’t use each of those machines a high percentage of the time, you are essentially wasting manpower and money. On sites where the equipment is not fully utilized (60% or more), remote operation allows you to switch between machines with a single operator, so you can enjoy 100% of their time and experience. At Caterpillar, we’ve seen operations use remote technology to increase the use of highly skilled operators and reduce downtime from 40% or more to 5%.
3. Are you having trouble attracting operators?
Many entrepreneurs say attracting and retaining qualified operators is their number one problem. Technologies such as remote control open up new opportunities for both recruitment and training. On the one hand, it is very attractive to the younger generations, making it easier for you to compete with “high tech” companies for employees and then upgrade them quickly once they are in place. It also expands your base of potential employees. People of all genders, ages and levels of physical ability can become productive remote operators.
4. Do you work in remote and hard-to-reach places?
It can be difficult to find operators willing to relocate for specific jobs, especially in remote locations. Remote technology gives you the ability to hire someone “on demand”. You can ask an operator to connect to a machine at a specific location and run that machine only as long as needed, from an office anywhere in the world.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s time to take a closer look at how the remote works with tools like Cat Command. Even if your answers were “no”, it still helps to stay connected to what is going on. Remote technology is here to stay, and planning for the future now will help you stay competitive tomorrow.