Raken Streamlines the Daily Report Process
BY AsphaltPro Staff
Raken is a digital construction reporting software and app from Raken, Carlsbad, California, that aims to streamline project management and communication on construction projects. The platform can be used to collect, organize and share real-time data from the field.
“Daily reporting is our number one feature,” said Tony Bichai, construction specialist at Raken. “As the supervisor or project manager is going about the day, they can document everything that’s happening out in the field in Raken, step by step.”
Daily reporting starts with the work log, where the user inputs what happened on-site, where it took place and other necessary details. Raken automatically fills in as many details as possible, including the date, project name, weather and information about who is completing the form.
The user can fill in additional details by typing them in, using Raken’s voice-to-text feature, or taking time-stamped photos and videos. They can also attach production documents to the daily report via web or mobile.
More than Reports
Although the daily report is the core of Raken, the platform can also be used to track time, complete checklists and surveys, document safety talks and track production.
To use Raken’s time card feature, the contractor can bulk upload crews and allocate hours to entire teams at once or add members and adjust hours from the app for individuals filling in for sick co-workers, staying late, or arriving early. They can toggle between regular hours, overtime or double time with one tap, Bichai said. Once entered into Raken, users can assign time worked to cost codes for detailed payroll processing, time management and production tracking.
Raken can also be used to complete checklists, ranging from PPE reviews, project safety checklists and activity risk assessments to equipment walkarounds, installation procedures and worksite incident reports. “There are lots of steps in the construction process and it can be easy to miss things,” Bichai said. “A checklist gives the crew something they can run through step-by-step.”
The app contains a number of pre-built digital checklists, as well as custom templates for users to create their own checklists. Within this feature, Raken also enables field teams to respond to pre-established questions directly in the app and the office can see answers as soon as the checklist is completed and signed.
Completed checklists and surveys can also be attached to the daily report within Raken, as can the delivery of toolbox talks. The platform houses a library of more than 100 pre-built toolbox talks and allows users to upload their own safety toolbox talks. Management can assign toolbox talks to specific projects or company-wide, and field superintendents will receive the assigned talk via the Raken app.
Once the toolbox talk has been delivered to the crew, the foreman or superintendent selects the workers who attended the talk and passes around the phone or tablet to collect digital attendance signatures to be included in the daily report. For crews that prefer to capture attendance signatures on paper, the foreman can take a photo of the sheet and Raken will automatically include it in the report for that day.
In addition to the features related to Raken’s daily reporting tool, capturing this data can help contractors track field productivity in real time by bringing equipment, time and material tracking into one location. Bichai said this not only enables its users to utilize historical production data to make informed decisions in the future, but also to identify and correct issues as they arise.
For example, one of Raken’s asphalt contractor customers used the platform to check the status of an airport project midway through its completion and noticed he was burning labor hours based on how much material was installed. “He called the foreman and learned it was because there was another subcontractor on the job who was delayed and this delay was preventing their crew from completing their work in an efficient manner,” Bichai said. “That enabled him to bring this up to the client and general contractor and explain how the delays would impact the rest of the project.”
One feature Bichai thinks is particularly useful in this regard is Raken’s automatic projected hours feature based on material installation by hours worked to tell the user how far ahead (or behind) schedule they are.
Production tracking can also assist in bidding, Bichai said. “You’ll be able to see how accurate past estimates for similar work were and estimate more accurately for future jobs.”
The Raken team continues to add new features, whether in the form of integrations with other platforms or Raken’s new chat feature similar to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. “Users can create project groups, a group for all foremen, etc. to text from within Raken to make group chat easier and enable people at their computers at the office to chat there, too,” Bichai said.
Raken also aims to make it easier for subcontractors to comply with the prime contractor’s daily reporting requirements, if needed. “Subcontractors can use Raken free of charge if the general contractor uses Raken and invites them to the project in Raken,” Bichai said. “You’re able to see not just your company but also the daily reports from the subcontractors.”
“Our clients have found that the professional reports they generate with Raken build trust with their prime contractors, sub-contractors and clients,” Bichai said. “The daily reports from our platform show you’re on top of the day-to-day.”