Categories
Tips & Advice

Why Tracking Progress is Essential in Construction

Tracking construction project progress in real-time is one of the biggest challenges many project managers face, largely due to using disjointed systems that don’t sync with one another to provide accurate, up-to-date information. Without having reliable data available and accessible whenever it’s needed, effective project management becomes nearly impossible. Because of this, a growing number of construction companies are shifting to cloud-based construction software due to its ability to prevent costly errors, schedule delays and budget overruns by providing a holistic overview of projects in real-time with just a few clicks.  

If you’re interested in implementing cloud-based construction software to manage your project needs, it’s important to develop a game plan that outlines your primary areas of focus so you know where to begin. 

Here are some tips to help:

Determine a central source of data

One of the major reasons real-time project tracking is so difficult is because there are multiple parties involved—e.g., internal team members, external stakeholders, subcontractors and more—who are typically all using different systems. This creates a disjointed workflow where communication is siloed, and data is lagging and inaccurate. 

Before a project begins, it’s important that project managers invest the time up front to establish a digital ecosystem where all project-related information can be stored and accessible. Using cloud-based construction software, project managers can establish a single source of truth for all project needs. This allows everyone on the project to access the most up-to-date information and to communicate back-and-forth seamlessly, providing both confidence and accountability for everyone involved.

Clearly define workflow

With so many different parties involved, it can be easy to lose track of a project’s status if the workflow isn’t clearly defined. Cloud-based construction software gives project managers more peace of mind by providing the ability to establish—and customize—workflows. Complex projects may have hundreds of steps with multiples teams involved, and most of the tasks will have dependencies that make organization and automation critical to project success. 

With cloud construction software, project managers can break out large tasks into smaller pieces to create a workflow chart that outlines deliverables and milestones required to get the project done. Having clearly defined expectations, dependencies and due dates helps get everyone on the same page to reduce confusion, mistakes and errors.

Set up task tracking

Project managers need to know the status of a project at any given moment, which is one reason why task tracking is so important. In addition to that, task tracking provides project managers with insight into how much time each team member is spending on each task to help them determine if time is being managed appropriately and efficiently. Not only does this lend to greater accountability on current projects, it also provides critical insight needed to improve forecasting on future projects.

Document everything

Documenting everything that happens during the course of a project is necessary to mitigate risk and to avoid claims should any problems arise during or post-construction. Photo documentation is becoming a standard part of the reporting and monitoring processes, which means there also needs to be a system in place as well as a central hub to store all supporting documentation. Fortunately, many cloud-based software providers offer unlimited storage options, so you can store as much as you want without having to worry about running out of space or deleting older files should any claims arise in the future. 

Integrate your systems

Managing a construction project from ideation to completion entails the use of multiple different technologies—for example, BIM, drone footage, CCTVs, and more. In order to create project synergy, it’s important to utilize a platform that can integrate multiple systems and provide a centralized hub to store all information. Not only does this help expedite and streamline some of the administrative tasks, it creates a more efficient and reliable system for project tracking. 

Conclusion

Keeping track of a construction project is extremely difficult if you don’t have the right tools to do so, and any delays or mistakes ultimately impact the project’s bottomline. If you’re interested in learning how a cloud-based solution like Premier Construction Software can help meet your project tracking needs, click here to schedule a personalized product tour. 

Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.

Categories
Tips & Advice Trends & Technology

5 Tips for Successfully Implementing New Software

Implementing new software can be difficult, time-consuming, and stressful. Planning ahead with the employees that will be affected by the change will help everyone feel more comfortable with the process.

The keys to successful implementation of software are listening to your team and maintaining an open line of communication. From there, it’s a matter of being realistic with your goals, starting slowly, and not being afraid to change course when problems occur.

1. Listen to your team

Listening to your team members, especially those that will be most affected by the new software, is vitally important to the implementation process. You’ll want to get feedback regularly from everyone about how the process is going and any concerns they have.

When starting software implementation, listen to your teams concerns and even fears about the process. They may wonder how it will affect them individually, how much additional work they will be expected to do, and who they should go to for help. Listening to these concerns and addressing them in your implementation plan will help build trust and teamwork.

Work with your team to develop goals for the process as well as a timeline for when implementation will be completed. There are several steps involved in implementing a new software program, and you want to make sure you have enough time for each one. Also take into consideration the fact that everyday work needs to continue throughout the implementation process. This may mean that you will need to hire additional help on a temporary basis to keep things running.

Throughout the implementation process and once the software has been rolled out, make sure that you encourage your team to provide feedback. This feedback will let you know how successful the process has been, as well as directing any changes that may need to be made.

2. Provide consistent communication

Be open in your communications to your team. Let them know the good and the bad about the implementation process. Keeping everyone informed will help to dispel rumors and prevent incorrect information from being broadcast throughout the company.

Provide regular updates to your team on the progress of implementation, how you are doing in regard to reaching your goals and the proposed timeline, any setbacks, and any changes that have been made. Being completely honest with your team will continue to build trust and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

3. Be realistic

When setting the timeline for the implementation process, be sure to include time for training and testing the software, reacting to setbacks, and addressing how the day-to-day work will be done while the team is working on the implementation process. Training and testing often take longer than expected, so be sure to include some additional time here. Planning for setbacks and how you will address them will help your team feel more prepared to deal with potential problems.

Goals for the process should be realistic as well. Be sure to start with a small group of employees who will get trained on the software and begin implementing it. Once you see if the test was successful, then you can roll it out to the rest of the company. This testing phase allows you to work out the bugs and develop standard procedures that everyone will follow once it is rolled out company-wide.

Include time for changes or potential setbacks. Not everything will run smoothly the first time you do it. You may find that you need additional resources or need to revise how you’re doing things in order to match the software’s workflow. Building time for changes into your schedule will reduce the stress on the team.

4. Don’t be afraid to change course

During the testing phase, if you find that something is not working the way you expect it to, address it as soon as possible. Start by contacting tech support or your customer service representative to see if there is an answer. If the software can’t address your problem, brainstorm with your team about how you want to handle it. Be open to all potential solutions.

Once the team has provided ideas on how to solve the problem, make a team decision on what your next step will be. If everyone buys in to the next step, it will avoid miscommunication and keep the team more cohesive.

5. Start slowly

When implementing new software, it’s best to start with a small group or one department within your organization. This will allow you to test the processes of the software and learn how to best perform the work. During this testing phase you can make changes to your workflow to improve efficiency.

The test group should work to develop standard operating procedures for the rest of the team. This will help with training the additional members of the team and providing structure for the work.

Don’t roll out software too quickly. Make sure the test group feels comfortable with the processes and the performance of the software, then invite everyone to use the new procedures. The test group can then be the experts that everyone can rely on when they have questions.

Continue to improve

Once the software has been rolled out and everyone is using it, keep the lines of communication open so you can receive feedback from your team about the performance. This feedback will allow you to make changes to your processes, upgrade services, and address potential problems before they become widespread. Continuous improvement in your processes will improve efficiency and accuracy, saving you more time and money.

Change can be scary which is why with Premier Construction Software, our implementation team will be there to hand-hold you throughout the 6-week implementation process. We’ll schedule a business process meeting prior to the start of your training sessions to ensure we fully understand your business needs at the start of the process. When your team is ready to go-live, your team will receive a copy of their personalized business playbook to refer to anytime.

To learn more about how to get started, schedule a call with our sales team today.

Categories
Tips & Advice

How General Contractors Can Stay Organized and Generate More Leads in 2021

With the new year brings time for professionals in the construction industry to review business processes and efficiencies. That being said, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of room for reflection as a result of unprecedented challenges faced in 2020 that have impacted the way we all work. In particular, for general contractors, it is a time to analyze what worked and what didn’t to ensure best practices are in place moving forward. Much like every transition from year to year, contractors should reflect to revamp their organization and lead generation techniques. Using these tips will help contractors start the new year off with not only peace of mind, but also with a plan to confidently move ahead in 2021.

Organize Your Office Space

With every project, making sure your business has a solid foundation from which to expand is the key to success. Perhaps your construction team has moved to a semi-remote or flexible arrangement, and ensuring everyone is on the same page and project management practices are being upheld is key. You and your assistants should set up your home offices appropriately so that you have a dedicated space away from distractions. If your home is not suited for an effective office space, you may want to consider a mini-renovation. When renovating a room in your home, it could be beneficial to invest in a home warranty to preserve the most essential home appliances amidst the renovation process. Investing in a home office is well worth the benefits. Your team might even feel more comfortable and more productive while working out of their home.

Once you have your home office set up to your liking, keep it organized and clutter-free. To stay even more organized, opt for an electronic cloud platform to keep everyone on the same page and save headaches. It is also essential that distributed teams are not working in silos and have access to vital job resources such as business purchases, invoices, and job site information at all times.

Use the Most Efficient Software

Laptop displaying a dashboard for a construction job

Having the most efficient construction software at your disposal will help your business stay more organized in comparison to your competitors. Having an organized office space is just half of what it takes to be as efficient as possible. Without the right software, itemized data can get lost in the mix, leading to hardships that are easily avoidable. Certain construction software systems provide a diverse range of organizational features from accounting all the way to time and compliance tracking.

The best construction software systems have all of their features in a cloud-based solution. Such software provides a wide range of different industry practices such as reporting, document management, time entry, forecasting and more, all in one solution. Some handy specific features include job costing and accounting. A job dashboard feature displays real-time KPIs for project managers to assess the status of projects, instead of developing a report. With built-in accounting features, accountants can create live financial reports for multiple groups while saving time and energy. Leveraging the advanced features of construction software gives you vital time back into your schedule to work on more customer-facing responsibilities.

Manage construction projects with the job dashboard in Premier

Be Attentive to Customers

A crucial aspect of generating leads in the construction industry is being as attentive as possible. To simplify, this means always answering your phone. Answer with a purpose and show the caller that you truly care about them and what they have to offer. Doing this will make the customer feel like a priority and will be a step in the right direction in how your business is perceived.

Another way to show your customers that you care is by returning quotes in a timely manner. Understandably, contractors are very busy and ultimately, the client is waiting for you, and all they can think about is their job. Being honest with quote prices and being rapid in response can not only help the client with a quick turnaround, but can also lead to potential referrals down the road. Lastly, to show your appreciation for the customer, consider sending a thank you note showing your appreciation for the business opportunity. Hopefully, over time this will lead to impressive reviews and meaningful relationships.

Stay Busy and Keep Your Costs Down

An important part of being a contractor is to stay busy with the right jobs for the right money. Some contractors tend to overshoot when going about their business. This can often lead to an overwhelming feeling and missed opportunities. Although taking on large, lucrative projects is desirable, it can cause you to be burned out, and smaller guaranteed opportunities can slip away.

Keeping your schedule full for a reasonable rate will not only lead to consistent income but will also lead to an improvement in production. Fundamentally, smaller jobs can often lead to larger jobs. If you show consistent communication skills and honesty about the project, clients will remember that. There are a variety of ways for contractors to save money, but the most effective ways are using a cost-efficient fleet, buying quality equipment, and renting your most expensive gear.

Be Open to New Ideas

It seems that almost every year social media grows much faster and larger than in previous years. Social media can be a great way to strengthen the community and can also be a landscape of learning and can lead to new project opportunities. Be open to new ideas and find more innovative ways to do your job. Finding innovative ways to do your job can help separate yourself from some of the more traditional contractors.

Use social media to your advantage; it can be a great way to learn new ideas about the business, but can also help market your business. Creating a social media presence that is constantly up-to-date, attractive, and shows previous customer reviews can be the most influential. Having established social media pages that customers and clients can easily access will drive more revenue by creating a space that is organized, reliable, and known for quality work.

Conclusion

To conclude, 2020 was a challenging year full of twists and turns that forced contractors to do things they’ve never had to do. Having the ability to plan out ways to generate revenue and gain new clientele is one way to prepare for what 2021 throws your way. Use these tips to attack 2021 with a sense of purpose.

Categories
Tips & Advice

How Investing in Construction Software Will Save You More Money in the Long-Run

Once upon a time, construction projects were managed by hand with pen and paper. The construction industry has since evolved to be heavily centered around and contingent upon the use of technology, and it continues to evolve as technological advances make it possible to manage and complete projects more efficiently, saving businesses money in terms of both time and resources.

Every construction project consists of a number of different processes, with a team of project members and stakeholders responsible for various aspects. Even a small project can have hundreds of moving parts, as well as numerous construction documents that need to be managed, stored, and shared. Without the right organizational tools, clear communication, and close oversight, things can get out of hand pretty quickly and result in budget overruns and schedule delays.

Construction management software provides the tools and structure to help you more effectively manage all phases of a construction project, from initial planning to closeout—but not all construction management software offers the same benefits. In a recent blog, we outlined the key differences between a cloud-based vs. on-premise solution. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into how a cloud-based, SaaS solution will save you more money in the long-run.

No Extra Costs

One of the biggest advantages of a cloud-based solution is the immediate cost savings, which ultimately translates into long-term cost savings. On-premise systems require a large initial investment because of the server hardware, software licensing, deployment, and IT support staff. In addition to the large upfront investments, on-premise solutions require ongoing maintenance to the physical infrastructure, in addition to the time required to perform routine software maintenance, back-ups, and updates. With a cloud-based, “pay as you go” model, all of those costs are eliminated. Everything is saved on the cloud, updates and maintenance are handled by the service provider, and all you have to do is pay a subscription fee.

Efficient Resource Management

One of the most fundamental aspects of successful project management is understanding how much time and resources are required to complete various tasks. This information is not only important for monitoring current projects but also provides critical insight that helps project managers more accurately forecast future projects. Construction management software offers time tracking capabilities that give project managers the ability to constantly monitor progress, and to see exactly how much time and resources are being spent on each individual task to ensure resource management is optimized.

Streamlined AR Billing

The construction industry utilizes several different types of billing methods, and sometimes there may be multiple payment methods required for one project. Because of this, knowing how much to bill clients, and when to bill clients, can be tedious to track—especially considering most companies have multiple projects occurring simultaneously. Construction management software can take the guesswork out of your AR billing by streamlining the entire process, saving you valuable time, while also providing a higher level of accuracy than manual entry.

Automate your cost-plus billing process using Premier Contstruction Software

Less Paperwork

Paperwork can be a huge pain—and a huge cost—in the construction industry. Construction documents can be hundreds of pages long, making it a cumbersome job to manage manually, especially when you consider the number of changes and revisions that are made throughout the entire process. Construction management software not only saves money on paper and ink by providing one centralized location to store all construction documents digitally—which also means you’ll never have to worry about losing a document again—it also saves a huge amount of time by updating documents in real-time to ensure everyone has the most recent version at their fingertips. And with a cloud-based solution, you’ll have the added benefit of unlimited storage.

Organizational Performance Improvement

Construction management software can help you improve organizational performance by providing detailed reports with the information you need to make better, faster, and more informed decisions. With a number of different reporting options and a customizable dashboard, project managers can easily view high-level KPIs, pending items, approvals, as well as cost and revenue summaries, each with full drill-down capability.

Conclusion

Running a construction company and ensuring its ongoing profitability is no easy feat, but investing in construction management software is well worth the cost in the long-run given its ability to save you time and money in so many different ways.

To learn how Premier Construction Software can meet your company’s specific needs, click here to schedule a personalized product tour.

Categories
Industry Insight Tips & Advice

What Makes a Successful Construction Project?

The goal of every project manager (PM) is to run a successful project from start to finish—which begs the question, “What makes a construction project successful?”

Generally speaking, a project’s success is gauged by the amount of time, money, and resources required to complete it. Therefore, the success of any project hinges upon the project manager’s ability to create a detailed process plan that can also adapt to real-time changes and unexpected situations. Because, let’s face it, in this industry you have to expect the unexpected—and find a way to plan for it—in order to keep your project on track. 

While it’s no easy feat, with the right people and strategies in place, project managers can consistently deliver projects that are on-time and within budget. 

Implement continuous planning

Project Manager sitting in office and working on desktop pc. Businessman looking at construction project spreadsheet while working in office.

During the planning phase, project members and stakeholders will establish deliverables, define goals, and outline project milestones. A well-planned project will provide a timeline and a step-by-step roadmap to complete the work on time and within budget as agreed upon in the initial meetings.  

But anyone who works in construction already knows that even a “simple” project is never really simple—it can, and almost certainly will, morph and evolve and require some level of change. For example, encountering unexpected environmental issues during the pre-construction phase could result in the need for design changes, which could then impact the entire construction plan and timeline.   

Because you never know what could happen, project managers should continuously revisit and rework plans as necessary throughout the entire project lifecycle to mitigate risk, as well as unexpected costs and delays.

Have your risk log ready

Being able to identify, monitor, and mitigate risk is fundamental to successful project management.  During the planning phase, project managers should prepare a risk log that outlines any foreseeable risks the project may face, as well as an action plan for what to do and how to resolve any issues that arise. 

Once the risk log has been drafted, it should be distributed to project members and stakeholders to equip the team with the confidence and know-how to resolve any issues, as well as to provide comfort to the client by showing there’s a game plan in place to tackle any foreseeable risks that may arise.

Hire the right people

Project Manager sitting in office and working on desktop pc. Businessman looking at construction project spreadsheet while working in office.

As is true in any industry, the people on your team will either contribute to your success or failure. Because construction project management has so many different components, variables, and moving parts, it’s absolutely critical to have the right people assigned to every aspect of the project to create high-performing, cross-functional teams. 

Every core project member, vendor, supplier, and stakeholder contributes to the overall team dynamic, so it’s important to make sure they all share the same level of commitment, understanding of the project, adaptability, and desire to succeed. Any inadequacies or dysfunction within a team can easily send a project spiraling in the wrong direction.  

Establish an effective communication plan 

Every single phase in the construction project lifecycle requires constant communication and collaboration. Any delays or miscommunication can lead to costly mistakes and project delays, so creating an effective communication plan is critical to ensuring the most accurate, up-to-date information is getting to the right people on time. 

One of the easiest ways to build an effective communication plan is to utilize a cloud-based project management software. Project management software provides the ability to add specific team members to projects where they can access all of the pertinent information and contract documents in one secure, centralized, and easy-to-access location. Using a centralized platform not only provides transparent communication that facilitates coordination between all parties, but it also creates accountability among team members. 

Constantly monitor progress

laptop with Jonas Premier Dashboard screen in construction office

For a project to be successful, the project manager needs to keep a constant pulse on what’s going on. This is another area where project management software can add significant value and help avoid costly mistakes. As we’ve touched on a few times, all projects—large and small—have a lot of moving parts that need to be constantly monitored to keep projects on-time and on-track. 

Project management software allows PMs to monitor data in real-time and provides the ability to generate custom reports that can be shared with other team members and stakeholders to keep everyone informed and on the same page. Additionally, consolidated dashboards make it easy to digest and consume multiple reports on one screen, and to identify any red flags, items pending approval, or actions required for next steps. 

Manage construction projects with the job dashboard in Premier

Conclusion

The best way to improve the likelihood of successful project completion is through careful planning, ensuring you have the right team in place, maintaining constant communication through defined channels, and continuously monitoring progress to mitigate risk, cost, and delays.

To learn how our cloud-based project management solution can help you do all of this and more, click here to schedule a free personalized product tour.

Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.