How Specialty Contractors Can Improve Efficiency With Data

Historically, general contractors have been the gatekeepers of construction data. But times have changed and the construction industry has evolved. Projects have become more demanding and complex. More than ever, specialty contractors need consistent access to accurate project data in real-time so they can stay up-to-date on the progress of their projects from any location.

 

Having the ability to track project data with connected construction technology can greatly improve specialty contractors’ efficiencies. Accurate data can help them attain success and remain successful in today’s highly competitive work environment within the construction sector.

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The construction industry used to be one of the least digitized industries. But that has changed as the amount of construction data and analytics general contractors and specialty contractors need to do their jobs increases. For example, Techjury, a tester and reviewer of business software, reports that the amount of data generated from large infrastructure projects can encompass 130 million emails, 55 million documents and 12 million workflows! While that’s a larger scope than most contractors encounter day to day, it certainly is an eyeopener!

 

According to a SmartMarket Report, the most valuable types of construction data contractors should gather includes:

 

— Project performance data such as schedule and costs

— Payroll and man hours on the job

— Productivity data

— Safety data

— Equipment tracking and management data

 

The top three benefits listed by contractors and specialty contractors who reported improved data gathering are:

  1. The ability to better complete projects at/under budget
  2. Greater productivity
  3. Greater profitability

 

Specialty contractors can transform raw data into valuable, easily accessible and usable information by using construction management software. Let’s look at some ways having accurate project data can help improve efficiencies in a specialty contractor’s business. 

 

Protecting Profit Margins

Given the competitive nature of the construction sector, margins are often razor-thin on construction jobs. But making a profit is critical if you are going to stay in business. Construction businesses fail for many reasons, but among the top ones are insufficient cash flow, not charging enough and lack of decision-making data for their construction workers. 

 

Having accurate decision-making data at your fingertips can help you more effectively estimate jobs using collected data from similar jobs you’ve completed in the past. Collected, organized data can also inform you of issues that occurred with past jobs that could potentially eat into your profits for new jobs. By anticipating potential red flag issues and taking corrective measures to cover yourself, you can cost out jobs more efficiently and protect your profit margin! 

 

Getting paid on time for the work you do is also crucial to the health of your business. You don’t want any unnecessary disputes to delay payment. Accurate documentation regarding what your workers completed or accomplished is easy to collect when you use connected construction technology. You can share Daily Reports with construction managers that detail the labor performed and any delay and disruption hours. And being able to track labor statistics — document the staff you had on the job site during that pay period and the hours they worked at the jobsite — is very helpful data to have if you ever have to justify payment on a job.

 

By having up-to-date, accurate data concerning issues beyond your control that arise on the job site, specialty contractors can improve their chances of getting paid what they are due in a timely manner. Collecting this project data and sharing it with the construction manager helps ensure you won’t be held accountable for any decreased productivity and hours lost on the job. 

 

And, having quality data readily available to share can go a long way in making your business popular with general contractors. Any time you can make general contractors’ jobs easier, you’ll earn bonus points! That can translate into more job opportunities and referrals down the road.  

 

Having accurate, up-to-date data about project costs is essential to protecting your project’s profit margins. With all project documentation stored in one database and available at a glance to everyone involved in the project, you can readily predict job profitability and identify savings at a glance. And, with everyone involved in the project keeping track of expenditures, if a cost issue should arise it can be dealt with quickly before it gets out of control and eats into profits. 

 

So, accurate, timely data will give you valuable insight into the health of your project, keep it organized and on track and help you make more accurate predictions. And that means your project will proceed more efficiently and effectively and ultimately be more successful. 

 

Reducing Risk

Accurate data is the key to a successful construction project. But accurate data alone doesn’t do you any good unless you can access it in a meaningful manner. Having all the documentation for a construction work project in one place, sorted in logical categories and easily accessible to all gives you better insight into the project. And that makes it easier to identify any potential risks. It also reduces the risk of errors and costly delays. 

 

Reliable data can also reduce risk that might arise after the project is completed. For instance, what happens if the job is complete and the general contractor or project owner questions a change you made — or didn’t make. Or what if your final figures are not in alignment with theirs? Having your own historical project data can help reduce that risk. You’ll have data from Daily Reports, Requests for Information documents, Change Orders, Purchase Orders, emails pertaining to the project, and more to document your project in detail. With comprehensive, accurate data, you will be armed with information to back up your work, support your claims, and reduce your liability.

 

Increasing Productivity

Accurate project data can also increase your workers’ productivity. Here’s another fact from Techjury to think about: Thirteen percent of construction teams’ working hours are spent looking for project data and information. Imagine how much you could increase your efficiency, and therefore your profitability, if you could channel those lost work hours into more productive work through successful project management.

 

This goes for your back office team as well, like the accounting department, for example. No more trying to find documentation for invoices or payroll. 

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Finally, by collecting data about labor statistics on all your construction work projects, you can also see what type of projects your team is performing well in. If your labor productivity is stronger in tenant improvement projects, then it may make sense to double down on those types of project. If you are looking for reliable construction software to help organize your projects, eSUB can help. To learn more about our services, contact our team for more information. 

 

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