As the popular saying goes, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” It does not matter how successful a company has become. Every successful business always has room to make processes more efficient. Because when doing so, that is where real growth occurs – growth in productivity, growth in projects, and growth in revenue. Technology serves as an important business process improvement tool which subcontractors should plan to incorporate.
What are the areas your business needs to improve?
In order to figure out where your team needs to improve, it is important to do a business analysis. A consultant or third party would conduct an objective evaluation of your business’ processes. The evaluator can be a team or individual who examine the company’s operations and determine appropriate business process improvement tools.
The evaluator reviews the different departments to understand their workflows. Through interviews and observations, they would answer the following questions:
– What are their bottlenecks?
– What could make their job easier?
– How could they complete their tasks quicker?
Answers to any of those questions identify areas for business improvement. Following the identification of areas of improvement, the evaluation team begins to develop objectives and requirements in order to meet those objectives.
Develop a plan to improve processes
Business and field operations for construction companies are filled with manual processes and paperwork. These can cause delays or usage of incorrect information from data entry. Technology to digitize paperwork and automate processes can improve many areas of your operations. Some common business improvement areas for subcontractors include the following:
The paper work that a foreman must complete on a daily basis includes safety checklists, daily logs, time cards, work orders, delivery receipts. This is all vital information that is at risk of getting lost. Even worse, when the paperwork gets back to the office, the information must be entered manually. This poses a great risk that the information is entered incorrectly, and then the project team is working with incorrect information.
– How long does it take your foreman to complete his required admin work?
– Are you confidently that issues and activity is documented accurately?
– Have you ever had to do any rework because your field team working off outdated documents?
Construction software designed for the field enables foremen to have updated project information easily accessible from the field. This ensures they are working off the most updated documents. In addition, it allows them a quick and easy way to document jobsite activity.
A big challenge in construction is the disconnect between the office and the field. The office team has little to no visibility into real-time jobsite activity. Project managers must micromanage their foreman for information. On the other hand, they are constantly putting out fires because they are learning of scope, resource, and scheduling challenges too late.
– Are you able to determine the status of your RFIs, Submittals, or Change Orders?
– Does your project team have real-time visibility into field operation and jobsite activity?
– Have you ever had a claim rejected due to inaccurate documentation?
A cloud-based construction project management software delivers the ability to manage documents, resources and costs in order to proactively manage projects. With the rapidly changing environment and all the moving pieces, construction software is critical to effectively delivering a project on time and on budget.
Spreadsheets and whiteboards are an effective tool for managing schedules of people and equipment across your various jobs. Whiteboards provide the visibility, and spreadsheets deliver an additional layer of organization. However, both tend to fall short as people or projects become forgotten or mis-scheduled.
– How often are some of your workers idle and not scheduled on projects?
– Is your equipment oftentimes double-booked?
– Are there some employees who are over scheduled and at risk of burnout?
A cloud-based solution for resource management provides centralized access to the most update schedule. Managers are able to allocate resources accordingly based on availability and project needs. They can easily view their deficiencies or double booking resources. Additionally, any changes will update the schedule in real-time, and employees know exactly where and when they need to be.
Many construction companies are realizing the value that technology can deliver as a business improvement tool. The problem that many are starting to realize is that the point solutions that they have adopted are creating siloes within their operations. It is not uncommon for those that have adopted technology to have up to six different solutions that do not share data. While this is automating a workflow, there is still siloes that exist within the company that is hindering collaboration and efficiency.
– Do you need to manually re-enter time card data into a project management solution to track project costs?
– Are you then re-entering the time information into your Accounting solution to process payroll?
– What information do you have to re-enter between your Project Management and Accounting solutions?
All-in-one solutions do not fulfill the needs of each distinct department. They do a great job at having people compromise some of their workflows in order to please the entire team. Integrated systems allow each department to utilize their own tool that improves their own processes. However, an integration, allows them to share the information seamlessly without having to reenter data.
Contractors want to improve their bottom line. There are plenty of ways to accomplish that goal. Business improvement tools allow subcontractors to achieve more efficient operations, so that they can improve productivity. Moreover, it does not matter how successful you are, there is always room for improvement.