In today’s competitive environment, most construction companies realize the need to take advantage of advancements in technology. So why are some still so far behind in adopting technology?
You can be so busy running your business that keeping up with the innovative technologies may fall to the end of your long list. Even if you do adopt an off-the-shelf software solution, you may end up with a myriad of data points that are interesting in the abstract but do nothing to help you drive the business.
That’s why custom construction management software is a game-changer. It takes all of the data points and combines them into a “single source of truth”—which means anyone in the company can draw meaningful insights from the data to make smarter decisions. When a scheduling change happens, for example, that update is delivered in real-time to the right people in an easy-to-use dashboard so that your plan can pivot as quickly as the variables do. That functionality is just one example of how custom construction management software can shave hours off your process and provide the kind of strategic insight to help you level up with larger companies.
Is Custom Construction Management Software for You?
The right construction management software can harness the power of all the data that is collected so that you can realize a true benefit. Here are some of the ways custom software transforms information into actionable change.
1. Prompt Communication and Collaboration
Wouldn’t it be helpful if data recorded in the field were relayed back to your office before the end of the day? According to the 2019 ConTech report, 93% of respondents said they were using smartphones on the job. However, while smartphones may be good for making calls, sending emails or capturing information, they don’t change anything as long as project managers still have to go back to headquarters at the end of the day to enter information into the system.
With construction management software, your site workers can use custom apps to communicate with the home office, and managers there can immediately monitor important information through push notifications or a custom dashboard. For example, if a particular work site is short a necessary certification because a worker called in sick, a manager can take action right away to reassign someone to that site.
That’s not the only benefit. You can also send out blast alerts about changes in design, weather, scheduling and other updates. With timely data captured in the central database, you can take control of how your job site runs without leaving the office.
2. Precise Planning and Scheduling
One of the challenges you face every day is getting the right people, tools and equipment to the job site on time. Construction management software makes this easier. Once the system is updated with each worker’s name, availability, experience and certifications, the system can match that information with a list of sites and projects to make the schedule for you. It can even assign the right equipment and tools to the right site at the right time and present the whole schedule to you in a dashboard that is as easy to navigate as your smartphone.
3. Enhanced Integration Between the Office and the Field
There’s more than one way that custom construction management software enhances productivity.
Payroll, for example, has always been a hassle for construction managers. Some workers forget to turn in their time sheet at the end of the week (especially if they have to drive back to the office to do it), and some of those who do turn it in have to mentally reconstruct their time, which can be inaccurate. Custom construction management software can be designed to send workers a push notification when they reach the site in the morning and leave it in the afternoon. Or, with geofencing, payroll data can be captured automatically from the worker’s cell phone. However it’s captured, it goes straight into the payroll system, eliminating the need for an employee to enter the information by hand (and taking the guesswork out of time tracking).
This part comes as no surprise. Your workers probably complain the most about tasks that are redundant, mind-numbing and error-prone. The good news is that these are the best tasks suited for automation.
Sometimes, however, automation isn’t enough. The last thing you want to do is to automate processes only to have to manually transfer data from one to the other. In that case, custom construction management software can provide integrations that transmit data seamlessly from one automated process to another.
4. Better Document Management
Construction has always been a paper-heavy business. The problem is that it’s easy to lose things—like records of a change order that no one seems to remember. Another crucial benefit of construction management software is that it can serve as a home for all of your paperwork, which is essential in a regulatory environment like construction.
Document retention and management also allow you to easily access things like records of safety training, certifications and licenses, and safety-modification documents.
With custom construction management software, you can also assign these documents meaningful tags to make them easily searchable, so you can put your hands on them at the exact moment you need them.
5. Increased Safety
Everyone knows that construction can be a dangerous occupation, but new technology is set to make it a lot safer. Wearable sensors can detect dangerous conditions and alert a site manager to take action. Some wearables can even detect a worker’s movements and heart rate to compare them to a baseline stored in the system. If there’s a variance that indicates fatigue or illness, the worker can be pulled off-site to take a break, rehydrate and even receive medical attention, if necessary. Custom construction software can integrate data alerts like these into a project management system that provides management the same level of awareness that a site manager has.
The extensive use of drones in the field also adds to the safety benefits. Drones can go anywhere on a construction site and take pictures and measurements, which can then be uploaded into the custom construction management system, providing an experience that’s just like being there. It’s these incremental advantages that make big impacts on efficiency.
6. Smarter Bidding
Document management is more than a storage tool. You can use all of the data about previous projects—what the conditions were, how long the project took, labor and equipment needs and material costs—to help you make solid estimates when bidding new projects. And better estimates equal more profit and happier customers. Custom construction management software pulls together all these relevant data points so you don’t have to spend time looking at backlogs of information.
7. Improved Decision-Making
If you’ve got one crew working on one project, decision-making is relatively easy. But that’s not how it works—you’ve got multiple crews with different qualifications working on many types of projects and sites. Custom construction management software can help by creating a visualization of all of those variables on a dashboard. It can even recommend the best decision or let you experiment with how changing variables will alter your results.
Custom Construction Management Software Puts You in the Driver’s Seat
Imagine heading off problems before they occur, taking advantage of opportunities you miss while putting out fires, and spending more time planning where your business will go next. The collective benefits of custom construction management software give you the bandwidth you need, designed to fit the way you work.
Whether you go with a fully customized solution or select from a set of pre-designed modules, SPARK can design software tweaked for your business, making it possible for you to drive your business instead of circumstances driving you.