Still fond of the days of clipboards and pencil stubs? Home building's subdivision culture can find mobile communications and its host of buzzwords, acronyms, and mutating “form factors” more than a little geeky scary. Nostalgia can't compete, however, with the strategic imperatives that wireless communication promises. As dramatically slower absorptions and weakening pricing threaten to compress margins, home builders are relying on reduced cycle time and increased efficiency, accuracy, and productivity to make up some of the gross profits they're losing on the volume and pricing side of the equation. Hoping to achieve those imperatives, big builders are embracing wireless technology and tools. The embrace can be hesitant, with good reason. Wireless technology suffers from drawbacks that seem almost intentionally designed to chafe builders. Connectivity, also known as coverage or service, is unreliable or nonexistent in many remote spaces where builders operate.
Why should home builders care about information technology (IT)? Well, when IT is properly tied to business processes, it helps field supers stay on schedule, professionalizes the salespeople, and strengthens communications with subs—all factors that can help home builders double productivity without adding staff.