Staying profitable in the field is often easier said than done. Yet mobile devices and cloud-based solutions tailored for builders and contractors are making such a prospect easier than ever before.

Last week Sage North America, www.na.sage.com, Irvine, Calif., announced new mobile time collection and project file capabilities in its cloud-based software Sage Construction Anywhere. With these updates Sage is helping builders address a key process improvement in the field, which is the ability to automate the collection and approval of employee time worked in the field.

Jon Witty, vice president and general manager, Sage Construction and Real Estate, calls this a common area of opportunity for a construction company to strengthen the financial performance of a project. Too often, a lack of visibility into labor costs can become a major threat to the profitability of a project.

What Sage is hoping to do is make it easier for employees to provide employee timecard information in the field through devices like phones and tablets. This will enable them to collect all necessary labor information sooner so they can make corrections before profitability goes south.

With the new Time capabilities within Sage Construction Anywhere, employees and supervisors are provided the ability to use an iPhone app for submitting employee time. The company says such capabilities will soon be available for Android as well. Submitted time can be reviewed and approved using the mobile app or online within Sage Construction Anywhere. Once this information is approved, it flows to payroll and job cost, which provides the latest view of labor costs on the job.

In addition, this latest release also features Project Files. This provides project teams with online access for the sharing and retrieving of project documents, drawings, and photos from one central location. By having this information easily accessible at the jobsite foremen and superintendents can spend less time tracking down necessary information for completing a task. In the end, this helps increase risk management capabilities for construction companies.

Sage Construction Anywhere integrates with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, which is formerly Sage Timberline Office. The company says it has plans to soon integrate Sage Construction Anywhere with Sage 100 Contractor, formerly Sage Master Builder.

Cloud-based solutions are rapidly proliferating the construction industry. Coupling the capabilities of these solutions with those of connected mobile devices for the field will help construction workers better capture and record data straight from the source. Automating a mission-critical process like time collection and working with this information in the cloud can help builders stay productive in the field, while ensuring the project doesn’t fall too far off of the course of profitability.