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Construction

How to Get Started with Construction Project Management Software

By Robert Armbrister December 5, 2019

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It’s one of those days that makes you wish you had chosen an easier profession -- like neurosurgery. You have crews and contractors coming and going from multiple job sites, but you’d be hard-pressed to say where a particular worker is. You’re trying to reassign a drywall crew because the plumbers and electricians are running a couple of days behind.

Meanwhile, you need to track down an essential piece of equipment that has gone incognito. And you’ve been trying to dodge your boss because you know you won’t be able to answer all of his questions.

You’ve read about the huge strides some companies have made with customized construction management software. But those companies invested months of time and more money than you want to consider. And none of the off-the-shelf products you’ve looked at were a good enough fit to be worth the trouble. 

But what if there were a middle ground? A modular approach that lets you choose the features you need, ignore the ones you don’t need, and use apps and integrations to close any remaining gaps.

Sound too good to be true? Many organizations have already discovered that a modular approach can be the perfect solution.

Just what can you do with modular construction management software?

Imagine a tool that could…

Get rid of paperwork

Construction project management software can take all of those RFIs, estimates, contracts, schedules, timesheets, purchase orders, change orders, etc., off of your desk and put them in the cloud so that you can easily find what you need instead of digging through piles of paper. You can upload documents showing proof of compliance (labor, environmental, etc.) so that you can quickly resolve any questions from regulatory agencies. Plus, think of all the disputes over payment, deadlines, and more that you could avoid if you could pull up the pertinent documents on your cell phone. 

You can also upload all of your records, creating a database that can generate valuable insights about your business (more on that in a minute). And, going forward, you can set up a template and create documents from within the software program, eliminating the need to start each bid or contract from scratch.

Discover what SPARK Select, a personally configured app for construction &  trade contractors, can do for your company.

Improve scheduling

Scheduling contractors and construction crews is tough, both because there are so many moving pieces and because you have to think about dependent work (the drywall crew can’t do their work until the plumbers and electricians have finished, for example). You also have to make sure you have the right mix of skills, licenses, and certifications at each site.
 

A robust, SMART scheduling solution can handle all of those moving pieces for you. It can keep track of where contractors and crews are and, once you’ve uploaded your crews’ certifications, it can help you make sure you’ve got the right people on the right site. It can even flag you when a worker’s certification is about to expire, so you don’t get caught off guard during a surprise OSHA inspection.

And, if something changes, it can help you adjust on the fly, because all it takes is one late materials shipment to throw everything off, leaving you to spend the rest of your day juggling crews and suppliers around while mentally calculating how much the delay is going to cost you. A construction project management platform builds agility right into your business processes.

Collaborate in real-time

You can’t possibly visit all of your construction sites each day, so you’ve probably come to rely on end-of-day reports from your crews, and maybe a phone call if someone needs an immediate answer.

Construction project management software lets you stay on top of what’s going on at each of your sites in real-time, allowing you and your crews to adjust in step with circumstances on the ground. If one of your crews has questions about whether something has been installed correctly, they can upload a picture for you. If a crew at one site is short on supplies, they can check to see if any nearby crews have some to spare so that they can keep the project on track. 

Being able to collaborate in real-time is the next best thing to being at all of your construction sites at once. In fact, it’s even better, because there’s no getting stuck in traffic! Moreover, collaborating through construction management software saves all of that information in the cloud, so you don’t have to scribble notes on the back of your hand with a pen you found on top of a pile of construction debris. 

Monitor what happens on each job site in real-time 

Not only can job site logs help with payroll, but they can also help you keep track of how supplies are being used as well as where all of your tools and equipment are. That can make a considerable impact, given that construction workers spend an average of an hour and a half each day --- that’s per employee -- “looking for stuff.”


Make better decisions

Check out these examples of how incremental improvements you gain through a modular approach can help you make your customers happier and your business more profitable.

When you capture field data digitally to your construction management software, you start building a database full of information about your clients, vendors, employees, and jobs. A visual representation of that data can give you insights you would never have spotted on your own.

For instance, you may see that a particular vendor has a tendency to make late deliveries, or that one employee has an unusually high rate of accidents. You can then use that information to find a different vendor or send the employee to training on safety procedures.

You may see that one contractor uses more raw materials than the rest. You could then do a little digging to determine whether it’s a matter of sloppiness on the job site or a case of pilfering.

You might discover that inefficient processes are causing bottlenecks at the same place in your workflow across all of your construction sites, causing you to miss deadlines. You could then redesign your processes to remove the obstacles that are holding things up.

When you look at them one at a time, these might seem like small improvements. But, over time, they add up enough to give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

Putting it all together

Off-the-shelf construction project management software is built to give all construction companies most of what they want...but that also means they’re unlikely to provide you with precisely what you want. And a fully customized, “everything-you-ever-wanted” solution, while valuable, can be prohibitively expensive, take a long time to implement, and disrupt day-to-day business.

A solution like Spark Business Works’ Select, on the other hand, offers an array of modules that you can customize even further with integrations and extensions. Together, you and SPARK Business Works can construct exactly the solution your business needs.

SPARK Select: A Personally Configured App for Construction & Trade Contractors  Discover what Select can do for your company. Start Your Specs

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