Why Go Digital? The Future of Construction Management

The construction industry has traditionally been slow to adopt the technology. Many of its work processes are legacy solutions from decades ago, like spreadsheets and yellow notepads. Today’s workers are stuck in the process of trying to digitize an industry that has been stuck in the analog world for many generations.

However, contractors are beginning to realize that they no longer have a choice when it comes to embracing technology. Now it’s a race to decide who will be the first adopters to bring the industry into the future.

We’ve put together five reasons why construction companies need to go digital today.

Why go digital?

Save time and money

Many contractors run several software systems simultaneously – one for estimating, one for project management, and one for accounting. These systems often don’t talk to each other, and each system becomes its own information silo, creating obstructions to the flow of information. Each software system provides information, but it’s difficult or impossible to share that information with the other systems.

Companies soon develop workarounds like entering data by hand from one system to another or using spreadsheets to provide the information everyone needs. Some software systems allow data sharing through import/export, but it still takes time to capture the data, download it, then upload it to another system.

When workers have to manually enter data, there’s an increasing chance that mistakes will be made. Inaccurate information can lead teams to make wrong decisions that can have a profound effect on the financial success of projects over time.

All-in-one software packages create workflows that allow project teams to share data between departments without resorting to workarounds that can cause errors and lost productivity.

Attract a younger workforce

In order to attract younger workers contractors need to upgrade their tools to the latest technology has to offer. You don’t have to be on the cutting edge, but there’s a lot of tried-and-true technology that construction has been hesitant to implement. Companies need to adopt tech more readily to match the skill sets, education, and training future workers are receiving.

Construction management students are learning project management and documentation using the software. These packages make tracking correspondence, submittals, and RFIs much easier than using Excel and other legacy software. If contractors don’t adopt these tools, they could be losing the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest in new talent.

Integration is key when it comes to estimating and material takeoffs. Too many companies rely on outdated software or manual methods to create estimates and perform takeoffs. That data then has to be entered into another software system once the project is approved. Younger workers don’t understand why these systems are separated when there are so many options for integrating them.

Harness the power of new technology

New tech, like AI, machine learning, and automation are changing the landscape. Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than robots and droids. It describes how machines are able to mimic human thinking, like problem-solving, pattern recognition, and learning.

AI is being used to create predictive models based on past project data. These models analyze projects for cost overages, schedule delays, and other potential issues. The software looks for similarities between past projects and current work, and from there it can predict potential problems and bring them to the contractor’s attention.

Machine learning is a subset of AI and uses statistical techniques and calculations to understand project data and gain insights. As more data is added to the machine learning model, the software is able to assimilate the information and refine its predictions in current situations. Contractors are using both machine learning and predictive analysis to assess projects before they start so they know the risks and can proactively manage them from the beginning of the project.

Automation, or the use of technology to perform tasks, is also gaining in popularity in construction. Construction management and accounting software systems use automation to speed up data entry tasks and help prevent errors. For example, automated invoice entry in accounts payable allows workers to pull amounts and codes from commitment records and get notified when budget line items are over their limits. This automation helps ensure data is accurate and cost overruns are detected and managed.

Streamline your operations

With business growth responsibilities and processes are often developed organically. Employees do the best they can, but without a big picture view, they often create processes without knowing why. These processes certainly get the work done, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best way to do something.

The software can provide the overall structure needed to streamline processes that have grown cumbersome over time. With software as your guide, roles and responsibilities can be reorganized based on the most efficient way to perform a process.

Using an all-in-one system also simplifies record-keeping and data retrieval processes. Project records can be stored in the cloud, so now there’s only one place to look for information. Teams don’t have to search in multiple folders and software applications to find the information they need. It’s at the tip of their fingers 24/7.

Manage/control risk

Construction management software can help teams mitigate many of the risks found on a project. Although it can’t address all potential risks, it can speed communication and document what’s being done to proactively address issues.

Project management software allows teams to see and address overdue tasks and documents that may delay the project. Teams can run reports that show outstanding items as well as who is responsible for those items. The software can also track health checks and other safety-related inspections that are required in today’s world. This daily reporting allows team members to see the status of various items and predict potential problems.

Having a central hub where documents are stored is a must, given the number that is created and distributed during a project. Document storage, version control, and distribution are easily managed by project management software, ensuring everyone is working from the latest documents and has access to them from wherever they are. The same is true for project correspondence. Team members have only one place to look when it comes to searching for an email or notice. All communication is tracked and documented within the system, and specific items can easily be recalled in minutes.

Having an integrated system where costs are instantly updated in the field allows teams to respond to potential budget issues quickly. Project managers can manage the project budget and costs from the site, without having to request information from the office.

Digital is changing the construction world

While the outside world and other industries transitioned from analog to digital several years ago, construction has always been behind the times. It’s only now that the industry has begun harnessing the power that has been available for decades. Tomorrow’s workers are better prepared for this change and are sure to lead the effort. See how smoothly Jonas Premier can assist you and your team in the process of going digital. Visit our website or schedule a call with our team of professionals at Jonas Premier today for a complimentary walk-through of our simple and easy-to-use software.

Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.

Industry Insight

Using Construction Software to Keep Your Office and Field in Sync

In earlier blogs (linked below), we discussed various ways the COVID-19 pandemic completely disrupted the construction industry last year. And although we’ve finally put 2020 behind us, we’re still figuring out how to navigate “the new normal” and what that will entail for the future of construction. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Costs 

COVID Changes in Construction

How COVID-19 Has Shifted the Construction Industry in 2020

Despite lingering uncertainty and a lot of unknowns, it’s still necessary to develop a resource strategy for this year in an attempt to make more informed decisions and more accurate forecasting. To do so, you’ll want to start by reviewing and assessing last year’s performance metrics to develop a strong foundation for managing future resources more effectively. 

It’s important to note, however, that the ability to improve your business strategies is heavily contingent upon the reliability of your dataand herein lies one of the major benefits of utilizing Premier Construction Software. Premier’s all-in-one construction software solution features job costing, accounting, project and document management tools to ensure the data syncs real-time, making it easy for businesses to trust the data when making important business decisions.

Read on to learn about five of our core features, how they help keep your office and field in sync, and why that matters:

Job Costing

Job costing relies on accurate, up-to-date data—and that’s where we excel. Our software boosts efficiency by providing real-time, automated job costing data with complete transparency across all your projects. The comprehensive job dashboard is your hub for to-the-second job costing, and helps streamline the entire process by providing all the data you need in one place. 

Using the job dashboard, project managers can track and compare the original contract to the current costs and the estimate at completion, enabling them to make smarter decisions. Using the forecasting module, they’ll be able to account for unanticipated costs and electronically request internal budget transfers to keep the project on track. It also features sections for key performance indicators, at-risk or outdated items, approvals, and pending items.

Time Entry

Our time entry feature makes connecting your field crew to the home office easier than ever. Using our mobile app, employees can log their time in and out from the convenience of their phones. The app automatically tracks dates and times, as well as job numbers, cost items, cost types, and even occupation codes. When your employees enter their time from the field, that data routes directly to your foreman. This workflow creates a seamless, transparent time tracking process for the foreman, enabling them to stay on top of their crew. 

entering time for field construction workers in Premier Construction Software

Change Orders

We understand changes happen—and in construction, they can happen a lot. With our software, your team can send, track, and approve change orders from one convenient place. Upon approval, the software automatically uploads the signed change order to the system with the updated status. It also saves you time by auto-generating progress billing lines, as well as creating and emailing subcontract change orders and purchase orders. Your reports benefit as well, as approved change orders update them automatically.

Document Management

Sometimes the quickest way to get everyone on the same page is to share a document. With Premier’s document management system, you can create customized document folders, making important documents easy to find and share. Every folder has customizable security settings, enabling you to grant safe, secure access to those who need it. And because we offer limitless storage, project managers can quickly and easily refer back to former document versions and track the entire history of a document. 

Compliance Tracking

Premier makes it easy to manage compliance documents across all of your construction projects from one dashboard. You choose which documents to require, update statuses instantly as they come in, and upload them to the document management system for safekeeping. You’ll receive notifications for missing, expired, or soon-to-expire documents and drill down to get to the bottom of it. You can also program the system to automatically place the invoice on hold or initiate a hard stop until there’s a resolution.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page 

While we can’t predict what the rest of the year will hold for the construction industry as a whole, you can utilize construction management software to make more accurate project planning and estimating predictions.   

To learn more about how Premier Construction Software can help get your office and field in sync, click here to schedule a personalized product tour.