By Eric Foster, VP Tech, Maxwell Systems
Technology is being adopted by construction companies at an accelerated pace, as contractors come out of the recession with pent-up demand, limited resources, increased competition, and tight profit margins.
Those contractors with an eye for an edge are leveraging technology to improve their efficiency and profitability. Plus, those businesses with leaders having a willingness to be more tech savvy are deploying software to close the information gap and improve documentation and workflow across the company. Doing so, they can more quickly identify profit opportunities, react to costly issues, and monitor project and financial activity closely for real-time insight as well as better forecasting.
Technology will continue to increase the visibility and understanding that construction businesses have of their productivity challenges or ways to improve efficiencies, and so increase competitiveness on bidding and execution of projects.
Taking Charge of Change
Construction business owners are realizing that technology alone will not create instantly efficient organizations, but the combination of the construction management software, people, processes, and training is what’s required to establish standardized, repeatable practices and make the real difference in productive change and a better bottom line.
To establish those processes, owners are applying best practices for managing organizational change and demonstrating commitment to change with a top-down approach –identifying key influencers, investing in relevant software training, securing buy-in from team members prior to implementation, and rewarding behavior that supports transformative change.
Collaboration Between Office and Field is the Key
By investing in all-in-one construction software to handle the entire construction project lifecycle from bid to cash, construction companies can better work effectively toward the same goals, managing with shared data and documentation, and simplify workflow between office and field.
Using one software solution that seamlessly brings together applications for estimating, project management, and accounting, contractors are empowered to communicate faster and react smarter, and so can best keep pace with the quick and changing climate of any construction project.
Why one solution for the whole team? It all rolls up to streamlined communication and standardized processes. Having a single solution for all construction management eliminates disconnect among owners, estimators, project managers, back office administrators, accounting, and so on, which tears down those departmental silos that exist when each is using its own software system and methods. Furthermore, the company increases visibility of business performance and profitability through improved communication, awareness, accountability, and decision-making.
Mobility Unlocks Untapped Profit Potential
Mobile technologies have enabled construction companies to extend the power of an all-in-one solution beyond those working in the office. Project managers gain convenient access to valuable project data and documents in real-time no matter where they are located. That’s thanks to the latest technology innovations, like the iPad, that put true data at their fingertips, allowing them to stay ahead of issues, minimize risk, and maximize profit throughout execution.
In an industry with a predominantly mobile workforce, contractors are readily embracing technology that gives power to those in the field where the activity really happens day-in and day-out. Contractors taking advantage of all-in-one software and mobile devices are especially agile and stay connected.
They can make more informed decisions and better handle the complexities of project management – driving down costs, increasing productivity, and improving customer satisfaction.
This has been a significant change in the past year and an explosion of contractors adopting mobile solutions in the field is on the way. That’s a dramatic shift from the traditional practice of implementing applications to help back office staff make better, more prudent decisions, while the field crew had limited access to that desired information.
Now, with the combination of all-in one software and mobile technologies, crew in the field gain access to valuable data and more easily report to and communicate with the office, while staying on the job sites where needed most. Project managers and superintendents can more accurately and with more granularities provide timely progress reports that can be reflected accurately in job costing, back office operations, as well as in change management. Owners and executives reap the ultimate benefit of this improved exchange to better forecast profit and manage cash flow.
The Future of Construction Technology The U.S. economy took a hiatus from investing in construction projects during the recession, but now that there is a pending upswing, contractors that survived the downturn are beginning to see the start of resurgence. The merit of all-in-one software and mobile technologies have been proven worthy of investment among those contractors that invested during the downturn, which bodes well for wider adoption and broader implementation.
Leveraging technology that streamlines processes and improves connection among team members is not restricted to those within a construction company, but rather goes beyond to all critical players on a project. That is to say that to maximize investment in a software solution, contractors should be sure that all people – including design professionals, stakeholders, subcontractors, vendors, and more – and of course those in the company (estimators, project managers, owner, accounting, etc.) – can collaborate efficiently, save time, improve responsibility, and have a true foundation and framework for best management.