When you hear about software, efficiency and productivity; you’d be forgiven for automatically going to a business-y office-based place in your mind. Certainly not the building site. But arguably with the number of different systems being used for project management, people and HR, finance and invoicing plus the bureaucracy around planning permission and consent; software to help with processes is arguably most effective in the construction industry.
Making sure that there are effective communication channels between all of the various different aspects of a construction company is extremely important to ensure that there is maximum operational efficiency. With this in mind, the ability to have constant communication between those different levels of a business will help everyone to fully understand what is required of them with a minimised chance of misunderstanding leading to errors. This system of communication will ensure that wait times can be reduced and therefore improve the efficiency of any project.
Making sure that you schedule work properly is obviously important in any business, not just a construction company but going the extra mile and using software to record step by step productivity can reveal a vast amount of information about your business, the people that work within it and the external factors or forces that could potentially be costing you extra time and money. Having the ability to analyse and review parts of the entire construction process will give your business in this industry a massive boost in being able to figure out what changes need to be made to improve productivity. Are labourers taking too long preparing houses for tradesmen? If so, why? With the right software in place, you will be able to figure this out, among hundreds of other eventualities; and fix the issue quicker.
Hackathon style challenges
Some of the best ideas come directly from those of whom you would least expect it; and why not? They’re the people that are at the front end of the processes, procedures and work being undertaken by your construction business. So ask them! While a “hackathon” style challenge will make you think more about software developers than architects and site foremen but the premise is still applicable. It is a creative opportunity to allow teams to solve a problem in a different way than they would originally have done. This would challenge people in your organisation to think differently and could even spur people on to embrace change and new ways of thinking. The Global Architecture and Construction (AEC) have been running hackathon style events since 2013.
Having written about the best way to create process maps to help understand customer churn and improve business efficiency in a previous post, this one can be extremely beneficial in ensuring that your construction business is as productive and efficient as it can be. With this ongoing, living map; you will be able to track and monitor each part of the process your business goes through, right from winning a new construction contract, all the way through to final delivery. Understanding each element of this map will help you to go through a process in which you can silo each specific process and start to understand ways to improve it. Perhaps the back and forth between architects or building consents is taking too long each time; maybe there is always a back log in communication or preparing documents. You will find out with these experiential process maps.
It is time consuming but starting with this creation of an entire map will help you get through the project in a much more managed, streamlined way; inevitably leading to cost savings, improved efficiency and a higher quality output at the end.
Better Use Of Data And Analytics
You can’t argue with numbers, right? Astonishingly, 95% of data in construction is either not being used or just disregarded completely; which is absurd considering how much a problem data management can be within the construction industry already. With this in mind, being able to properly capture, store, process and analyse data – legally and keeping logs of the process – is paramount to making your construction business more profitable. Without understanding the existing metrics of your business, how do you know where you can improve? Well, the answer is (unless you’re planning to put a finger to the wind) you don’t. So proper analytics and data is extremely important and having access to this through the correct use of software that has been developed bespoke for your construction business, is an absolute no brainer.
Bespoke business management software utilising the cloud
“The cloud” – it appears an evergreen tech buzzword that still crops up when talking about efficiency, profitability and “the future of business”. The simple way of putting it is that it will allow you to access your data and systems from almost (internet permitting) anywhere. That’s something that is especially important for construction businesses because of the different locations, stakeholders and sites that people may need to access platforms from. It makes sense in a digital age to have this functionality; enabling you to cut down on manual processing and paper form filling out in the field; reduce human error and improve accuracy.
In terms of the actual software that is built, this can be anything from the project management software that has been tailored specifically for your company, right the way through to infrastructure planning, workflow software, process mapping or even productivity tools – We recently put together another post on the 7 key benefits of bespoke software development; take a look here and see what you think.
Finally, we also have a case study about the work that we completed for Renaker Build construction company in Manchester; in which the managers were struggling to administrate complex projects across multiple sites. They found that the system for uploading, approving and paying contractors was letting them down. Click here to read more about the case study.