If you speak to any long time contractor, they will tell you that implementing a company-wide PM system will enhance the capabilities of your firm. The training, change management, and follow up aren’t as difficult as many contractors in the field believe, but the key mapping out the implementation process before hand. Too many contractors start a new system, without proper planning and implementation. The key to success lies in the preparation, similar to the process of executing a successful project. Since building a successful project should already be second nature to experienced contractors, apply the basic construction logic to your software implementation. This will lessen the implementation pains so you can move forward in anticipation. The following are the basic steps to take:
1. Write an Implementation Schedule
Write a clear and concise implementation schedule. How many hours will be spent learning the new system? Will the PM learn the software and introduce it to the field foremen, or will the entire staff sit in on a training call? The key is to have a completion date, and to set exact times set aside to properly implement the new process. Without proper planning, integrating the system will get set aside to pursue other priorities. Many contractors say that similar systems haven’t worked for them, but ¾ of those same contractors admit they didn’t spend enough time learning and implementing the system appropriately. Plain and simple, plan your implementation schedule as if you were planning your next project, and the software will pay for itself!
2. Use the Software
As silly as it may sound, a big issue is that field foreman and PM’s just don’t use their new software. Many firms will implement new software and then go months without ever touching it. There is a fear of new technology. It’s possible that the foreman didn’t completely understand the software and the PM wasn’t pushing their employees hard enough to learn. This shouldn’t be acceptable. PM software is proven to work, but it’s not magic. You have to take the time to learn the process and have strict guidelines to make sure your employees learn, and use, the new technology for it to work. If you correctly use the software it will pay for itself!
3. Implement Milestones
It’s not realistic to expect your foreman to fully grasp all aspects of a new technology right off the bat. This piggy backs off a proper implementation schedule. You have to create milestones for your employees beyond just the successful implementation. Regular check ups to make sure your employees aren’t left in the dark is a great place to start. Your company is only as strong as your weakest link, so you need to make sure there is not one. If one employee doesn’t understand the process, he or she may take time out of another foreman’s day to ask them to submit their logs. This is okay if it happens once and the field foreman learns their lesson, but if the same person stays in the dark it can start costing valuable time. Regular milestone check ups of your employees understanding of new software is a great place to start!
PM software is known to save construction firms time and money. It’s troubling that so many companies claim failure without giving the software a real chance. If you follow a few simple steps to implementation the software will work. You will find your team saving time and money, improving the overall productivity and efficiency of your firm. Like the old saying goes, if your going to do something do it right!