Solving Real Day-to-Day Problems on the Construction Site

Francine HarrisAugust 08, 2019 • 2 min read

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can analyze speech, automate cars, and operate drones.

Virtual reality technologies help people enhance their memories and mental wellbeing. Space travel, such as reusable suborbital flight systems, are designed to carry both humans and robotic payloads. Tracking technologies (GPS) guide submarines, help us locate lost pets, and plan road trips.

Yet while these extraordinary innovations are changing the way we live and work, many industries have not adopted today’s automated technological advancements at the same rate. Companies still conduct meetings with flip charts and PowerPoint slides and manage projects via sticky notes and spreadsheets. And, quite surprisingly still track workers’ time and pay with paper and pen. The dichotomy is not lost on Rhumbix founders, Zach Scheel, and Drew DeWalt.

“When you look at the construction-tech ecosystem, the craft workforce is really the underserved bottom of the pyramid. You have project engineers running around with augmented-reality glasses, while workers still have pencil and paper.” –Drew DeWalt

Zach was an officer in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps managing a utilities construction site and the activities of 3,000 troops around the continent. With the aid of a GPS-enabled tool, he leveraged input from a variety of units to advance production. Years later, while interning with Bechtel on a processing plant project at a vast copper mine in Chile, he noticed that decision making suffered from inefficient gathering of information.

“Each day we collected over a thousand paper timecards, which was the primary source of data capture for managing production and labor productivity on a $3.5B copper concentrator project. The manual, time-intensive, paper-based process resulted in a 1–2-week latency for reporting, and much of the data was inaccurate or lacked the necessary context for drawing insights on how to improve labor productivity.” –Zach Scheel

So, while innovative technologies have improved performance in virtually every industry, Zach knew that the construction industry was woefully lacking in digitized solutions. A better approach was needed. Partnering with Stanford classmate Drew DeWalt, a former nuclear submarine officer, the pair launched Rhumbix with the goal of revolutionizing the construction site and improving labor productivity and worker management. As Rhumbix has grown, and with a workers first mentality integrating with other systems is a critical component of a connected jobsite. With our latest integration into the Autodesk BIM 360 we are one step closer to a connected and efficient jobsite as well as a connected home office. Rhumbix is the number one source for field data, and with the power of Autodesk BIM 360 the two products offer an unparalleled worker experience.

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