When it comes to digital transformation, it’s not shocking to know that the construction industry has been lagging compared to the other industries. The traditional methodologies and lack of investment in technology, together with the construction professional’s reluctance to embrace new systems, have caused productivity to remain flat for decades. However, this methodological way of managing construction can be improved and digitized.
Imagine this: having the convenience to access an entire construction team’s documents in real-time without having to wait for a paper to be printed, distributed, and delivered; every project stakeholder operating off aligned real-time information, and a close-out and pre-construction process fully transparent to every party involved.
As much as digitization is concerned, it is not just about cutting down on paper, reducing files in the filing cabinets, or adopting new technology for the sake of keeping up with the latest trend. Digital transformation is a more significant phenomenon that can contribute to any business in this progressive time, especially in the fast-paced construction industry where many competitors are bidding to get attention. If you are not yet convinced, here are some of the benefits of adopting the digital solution to your business in the long term:
a. Save time and money;
b. Increase worker’s productivity;
c. Eliminate rework;
d. Protect your documents and plans;
e. and improve accountability between the stakeholders.
Steps on How to Digitize Your Construction Business
For construction businesses hoping to benefit from digital transformation, a proper action plan is vital for success. After all, even the best solution available can have a slow roll-out without any preparation done.
Want to consider digital transformation for your construction business but don’t know how? Here are the five simplest and know-to ways on how you can gear up your company for a digital and physical triumph.
1. Select Your New Digital Solution
Deciding on what solution you will incorporate into your business is not something you should take lightly. The solution you will choose will affect how your company operates overall, and you’ll be trusting the software or program with your valuable data. That is why it is highly encouraged to audit all available platforms in the construction market, benchmark on other companies, try to know what they are currently using, and do as detailed research as you can.
To help you with this first step, the following are a list of critical processes indicators that you should consider in choosing a solution:
a. Construction Documents: In construction, the way a team handles these documents reflects the overall performance. The frequency in which errors, omissions, and issues are captured in these files is critical. A single number or word in any document is detrimental to a project’s failure, and one missing paper can transform into disputes or, worse legal issues between the stakeholders. This is why choosing a digital solution that will l improve your team’s documentation control processes is essential.
b. Safety and Inspection: An excellent digital solution should allow practical solutions that address gaps and lapses in a company’s safety and inspection methods.
c. Labor Productivity: How well communication and coordination, schedule management, and document control are handled all impact a team’s productivity, which impacts the project’s success. In short, a digital solution that allows ways to improve overall construction crew management processes can also enhance the whole project in general.
d. Request for Information (RFIs): This document must be handled swiftly and promptly. Construction businesses should establish a digital solution that makes it easier to ask questions and request information to ensure that a project will not come to a halt due to the inability to submit RFI documents in real-time.
e. Change Orders: One of the critical indicators of a successful construction project is the frequency in which a company collects and documents change orders, no matter how small. Improving resilience in this process leads to better project performance in the long run.
f. Schedule: A great and high-quality digital solution that you have to consider in choosing one for your company is its ability to track construction schedule in real-time, including time-tracking for tasks that allow further evaluation of a team’s productivity and possible slippages.
g. Quality and Close-out: Usually, the quality of a project and punctuality completion schedules are always sacrificed when things go south in construction. With the unforeseen issues that may arise in the construction operations that were not considered in the planning stage, the close-out phase suffers the most. However, with a digital solution that offers proper tracking of project quality and timeline, rework and wasted time shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
Once you have carefully reviewed your key processes indicators and narrowed down your choices on what you should use, you can now evaluate the following factors to help you find the right software that will fit the bill and deliver success for your company.
a. Technology Familiarity: Evaluate your team’s familiarity and comfortability with the technology. Choose easy-to-use software with user-friendly interfaces that will be enthusiastically adopted by your team members, no matter the age group.
b. Integrations: Do you already use other digital systems that integrate with your potential new software? What manual methods will these integrations help to automate your processes?
c. User Satisfaction: Which companies listen to their users and make regular updates on their software and applications based on their users’ feedback? What do the reviews say on their websites and in the application or software store platforms?
d Platform Compatibility: Does your construction team use apple devices, android devices, window devices, or a mixture? Do they use their mobile phones, laptops, or personal computer setup for work-related tasks? Will your chosen web-based project management software work with all the operating systems and devices you use on your projects?
e. Support: What do the user reviews say about customer support? Are there resources reachable and available to make roll-outs even easier when issues arise?
Additionally, construction companies should consult with different functions across businesses to ensure that the digital technology you will incorporate into your company is a good fit.
2. Prepare and Organize
Now that you’ve finally chosen your platform, it is time to get everything set up for your new system. How you will prepare for your new processes will depend on how your company currently operates. This can include purging paper documents and construction plans, purchasing more advanced equipment for your office, or implementing seminars for your team to prepare them for what’s to come.
3. Study Your Tool
Unleashing the full power of any project management tool involved getting to know the platform intimately. Hopefully, you will have chosen a platform that offers initial support and training. Before utilizing this platform in your projects, ensure that you can check-off the following points first for a smoother transition:
– Consult with your team to decide on how you’ll use the chosen platform to maximize your return on investment.
– Properly document your processes so that any member of your team, whether new or old, can refer to them in the future when needed.
– Use all the resources offered to you by your chosen platform so that you’re all geared up when it’s time to go live.
Once your company has selected a new project management tool, cleaned the house, and learned everything that you can from the given resources, it’s finally time to discover how the new system will work in the actual construction world. It’s better to start with a single and small project, learn the best practices you can incorporate, and then expand from there. You can also use this for your bigger and more complicated projects in no time, and eventually, for all of your projects.
While you’re trying to get used to your new software system, record as much detail as possible and attach money values as much as you can. Make sure to answer the following questions when using this new technology:
– How much time are you saving compared to when you’re using your old systems?
– How much rework are you avoiding? What were the potential project-associated costs that may arise?
– Where is your project management tool lacking? This can be valuable feedback for your software provider.
– Which features are being underutilized or not used at all?
Lastly but most importantly, evaluation is the most important of all the steps in your company’s digital transformation. There is no point in using a paperless solution if it doesn’t save you time and money. If you’ve appropriately taken Step 4 and have recorded money and time savings, you might be able to calculate your ROI. Make sure that it helped you save and not lose more money in acquiring this new technology.
Although construction digitization is not easy, the outlined 5-step plan in this article makes it possible to experience transformation benefits without the risks. Right now, the construction industry is experiencing a digital revolution that has the power to influence how construction is managed in the next decade and possibly in the next hundred years. Nothing will ever be the same.
Are you interested in taking the first step in the digital transformation of your construction business? ProCrew Schedule offers a free trial for 30 days with all features included. Everything your company needs, in one tiny package. There is no better time to turn digital but now.