Simon Meyer, Operations Director at Human Recognition Systems explores how technology is aiding the effective management of construction workers at both a site and corporate level.
Technology’s swift evolution has led to many within the construction industry discovering new methods to effectively operate sites, increase the bottom line and ensure that workers are both safe and secure. Technology provides the ability to approach operations in an accurate and automated manner that can free up personnel to manage construction projects rather than the associated processes. The challenge, however, comes when determining how new systems can be effectively implemented from a corporate standpoint in order to maximise individual site performance.
The construction industry is witnessing a shift from traditional access control and security considerations towards a more sophisticated purchase approach. A new corporate agenda is driving an increased number of functions into the procurement equation including health and safety, IT, Facilities and Environment. Increasingly, organisations are looking to provide a single framework for procurement at a corporate level, making the management of key stakeholders critical for any successful site-wide product rollout.
The arrival of new technologies is challenging traditional methods of procurement, with additional features offered by workforce management solutions such as MSite in part responding to a growing need for sites to adhere to increasingly complex reporting and policy requirements.
When it comes to securing sites and workers, many products are underpinned by the certainty of identity that is provided by biometric technology. For nearly ten years, the construction industry has embraced this and while different firms are at varying stages of the journey, the use of fingerprint, hand and facial readers is commonplace at the majority of Tier 1 contractors. This was demonstrated during the Olympic Park’s build phase, with secure hand and iris recognition used as standard for all workers. Greater industry collaboration, such as CSCS smartcards’ integration with biometric verification has also helped to add to the assurance that individuals are who they say they are.
In addition, off-site deployments into the cloud have offered the ability to host products securely and centrally, reducing IT overhead expense and increasing flexibility and service to match customer needs. This shift has meant early engagement with IT departments to ensure that the appropriate data protection and security policies, such as ISO 27001 accreditation, are adhered to. As the industry continues to move in a more secure direction, solution providers will need to ensure that appropriate checks and balances are in place, especially around the storage of sensitive data.
The next phase of technology to hit the industry will be mobile, leveraging the latest tablet developments in both the civils and build space. This will enable managers and supervisors to access real-time information on the status of a project and to take immediate action to minimise the impact on the site programme. For example, real-time checks can already be performed on worker accreditations without the need to head back to the welfare cabins and check the traditionally photocopied records, with incidents immediately reported using robust pictorial evidence.
While many of these systems are available today, a number continue to operate disparately. The key benefits will only be achieved through integration into a single system, with the worker as the common link. While managing accreditations for workers is critical, if this is not linked to the site security system, then the ability to implement corporate policies, such as ‘no CSCS, no access’, becomes more complex and manual with additional employees potentially required to perform this task.
As technological developments continue, key questions remain around the selection of the most appropriate technology and when it should be deployed. This decision requires collaboration and partnership between companies, sites, departments and suppliers to ensure that any investment made is done so with an eye on both the corporate picture and site-level operations. Taking this approach will minimise the potentially disruptive impacts of new technologies and processes, ultimately ensuring tangible benefits for all.
To find out more, please visit: www.hrsid.com/markets/construction or call 0151 254 2888.
Simon is responsible for the overall day-to-day operations of Human Recognition Systems including new product development, quality control and on-going customer maintenance and support. Ensuring high quality processes exist across the organisation is key to Simon’s role.
During his time at HRS, Simon has also managed and delivered a variety of high profile identity projects and helped build the organisation to successfully deliver biometric projects of increasing complexity. Making this possible from an operational point of view has been fundamental to the success of HRS in the marketplace.
Simon joined Human Recognition Systems in 2004 from Accenture, the global IT and management consulting company. During this time, Simon developed extensive project management, business process engineering and delivery experience over a number of large and challenging IT transformation projects for various UK and European companies including Tesco, BP and BHS.