Transformation of Information Flows and Work Processes for Field Superintendents

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This paper addresses field information flows and work processes of one of America’s largest residential homebuilders. This residential contractor currently uses a combination of; 1) web based scheduling, allowing subcontractor to self schedule, 2) an e-order process for material procurement, which allows field superintendents to make simultaneously orders for multiple houses, 3) web based subcontractor payment authorization and 4) a mobile phone network internal to subdivision contractors to help deliver a portion of the parent company’s 50,000 houses a year. The objective of the research investigation is to understand which real time information in which format, will best assist construction supervision. The information mapping process for a sample of residential field superintendents is documented. Differences between the corporate workflow and information system and the system actually used by the field superintendents are highlighted. These differences guided the development of a revised information system and workflow that better serves the needs of the field superintendents. The basic field communications mechanisms and connections to the corporate database are documented. Observed ready, set, go points that connect information processes to field task initiation are also, identified within the paper. The reconfiguration of these established trigger points is addressed and identifiable information gaps are discussed. The information exchange techniques to ultimately self-activate work processes are also explored and presented.