Are you managing construction technology or is it managing you?
BY TROY GUEVARA
Construction technology has seen substantial growth over the last 30 years. In my early years, it was common to have 1 phone on site (in the job trailer) and then the important people on site had pagers hooked to their belt. The means of communication were very limited and the gap between the office and the field was quite large. Information was usually exchanged via the person delivering paychecks on Friday or by having the superintendent go into the office once a week to share information and get updates. If something urgent was needed, it usually created a scramble of resources to ensure that production didn’t stop.
Fortunately for us, that method of construction information exchange is long gone, as is my brick phone. But that first brick phone did help to bridge the gap between the job site and the office, and much has changed since then. Our ability to communicate quickly via smartphone or tablet means that information can be exchanged in a matter of seconds, not hours, days or even weeks as in time past.
This “technology revolution” we are going through is bridging the gap between the office and the field, but is this enough? The construction company of 2019 can exchange information in REAL TIME using REAL DATA that can produce REAL RESULTS. The question becomes, are we using this technology to bridge the gap because we are told to for the convenience of the office staff, or are we closing the gap and truly using this technology to its fullest potential?
We all know that increasing production is the “Holy Grail” of construction. With Labor being the single largest variable on any construction project, we are continually looking for ways to increase production and make sure our labor numbers come in on budget. What I see most is construction companies purchasing construction software to improve workflows in the office. This new software will often require the field employees to make changes that to them seem insignificant or inconvenient to them. We often don’t realize that the solution to increasing production that we are looking for is in the palm of our hand.
How do you know if you are managing construction technology? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you measuring job site production daily?
- Do you adjust your labor budget, manpower, and equipment
If you answer is not to either of the above, then you are not managing this technology it is managing you. That is why I ask the question: DOES YOUR CONSTRUCTION SOFTWARE BRIDGE THE GAP OR CLOSE IT?
Construction technology will certainly make office workflows better and simplify project management, but the often-overlooked power of construction software is that it brings us REAL TIME data that can be used to increase production and reduce errors and rework.
Let me share with you a few things that when used correctly will not just bridge the gap, but will CLOSE the GAP:
- Estimating software and E-Take off solutions will reduce and eliminate errors in estimating and expose errors in plans so you can prevent expensive labor mistakes and delays. This will increase productivity!
- Digital drawings make for much better collaboration and eliminate errors that result from plan changes that don’t get communicated. This will increase productivity!
- Project management software gives you much-improved project overview and insight to daily happenings from contract to punch list and beyond. This will increase productivity!
- Timekeeping software will provide you REAL TIME Insight to manpower and equipment usage. This will GREATLY increase productivity!
- Accounting and ERP software will not only bring efficiencies to the office but will provide valuable insight into labor and productivity. When used to its fullest potential, REAL time decisions can be made that allow you to make timely adjustments to manpower, schedules, equipment. This valuable oversight will ensure increased productivity and help to ensure that labor and equipment and being utilized to their fullest potential. This will GREATLY increase productivity!
As I said before, the Holy Grail of construction is to increase and better manage productivity. There are so many factors that can affect labor, the best way to overcome them is not just bridging the gap with a “convenient construction software” but close the gap entirely by utilizing that construction software to its fullest potential. I promise you the gains in production will help you smile all the way to the bank.
Illustration adapted from Freepik.