Buying is half the battle: Using the right technology and mindset for the job (Dimensions 2012)

Scott Threet shows off his collection of construction gadgetsScott Threet shows off his collection of construction gadgets

Scott Threet of Yates Construction in Philadelphia, Mississippi led a pretty interesting session at Trimble Dimensions 2012 Monday afternoon on the importance of diversifying your technology toolbox. It was cool to see Scott’s massive locker of gear and to hear from someone who loves emerging construction tech and has seen the results it can provide.

Threet’s main message during that session was to always make sure you’re using the right piece of technology for the job. “Just because you bought some GPS equipment doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for everything,” he said before outlining a situation where GPS could be used, but Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) equipment would have been much more accurate.

And of course, there’s always a little more research you can do to maximize your investment, but maybe the most interesting thing Threet said during that session had to do with attitude and mindset. He opened up the session quoting several contractors he heard from years back when he was working as a salesman for Trimble. “Our guys aren’t smart to handle this new technology,” they’d tell Threet as to why they chose to stay away from GPS and other solutions.

Many of thoe same people are now investing in those solutions. But the problem according to Threet is that they’re not remaining dilligent to ensure they’re 1) using the right equipment for the job at hand and 2) entrusting that equipment to an operator that’s willing to learn how best to use it.

“If they don’t have a phone as smart as this,” Threet said holding up an iPhone, “they don’t operate one of my machines. … They’ll just end up fighting you every step of the way because they’re likely not very interested in learning.”

Threet said buying new equipment is only half the battle. Having the right people operate that equipment is key, as is having a person dedicated to managing it. To that end, Threet recommended each contractor have a person who manages the technology their compnay is so heavily investing in.

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“Somebody’s got to take ownership of the technology,” he said. “It’s important to know whose fault it is that something didn’t work or who’s to blame for a piece of equipment being broken.”