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Why Great Company Systems Attracts Great Employees

We all know there’s a labor shortage in construction. But did you know that your company processes and systems, or the lack thereof, could play into your hiring difficulties? Good employees are looking for companies that are organized, use technology to their advantage, and help them feel useful. If you’re still using outdated software and systems, you could be turning away future star employees.

Almost one-third of senior leaders cite finding talent as their most significant managerial challenge. The problem isn’t so much finding workers (although that may seem to be the challenge right now), it’s finding quality workers. Workers you can trust and that have the skills your company needs.

As top talent becomes scarcer, the best companies will cherry-pick the best workers. But you won’t even be in the running if your systems aren’t up to date. Employees are choosing companies with the best systems because they provide them with a feeling of security, reduce stress, make them feel productive, and provide professional development.

Feeling of security

Job seekers want to know their new job is secure, that it won’t be cut, and that they are protected from layoffs and other events that might affect their employment. If the position provides a key role in the company’s business processes, workers are more likely to feel that their work is important to the company and that their job is secure.

If company systems are disorganized or are still heavily reliant on paper, it can be frustrating for new employees, especially younger workers who are more comfortable with technology. If your company is slow to adopt technological advancements, your pool of potential workers may be smaller. Top producers will be attracted to companies with better organizational systems.

Reduced stress

Learning a new job is stressful enough. When it’s paired with learning unproductive processes, it can increase the stress felt by new workers. This may lead them to make a hasty exit and look for greener pastures.

Before bringing in new workers, it pays to assess your existing processes, discovers why you do things the way you do, and make changes to improve efficiency. This will reduce the stress felt by your existing employees, as well as those you are hiring.

Increase productivity

Streamlined company systems and processes help workers perform their jobs in the most efficient way possible. There are no extra steps or unnecessary workarounds, saving employees time so they can concentrate on more important tasks. By reducing extraneous or duplicative processes and harnessing the power of technology, work will be completed more efficiently and productively.

Professional development

New employees can learn a lot from the companies they work for. If your company uses effective company systems that take advantage of technology and other efficiencies, new workers learn how to implement these processes and can use this knowledge throughout their professional careers.

What does a great company system look like?

We all know what a poor company system feels like, but how can you identify if your system is truly good enough? Here are some characteristics of a good business system:

  1. The system is designed with the end customer in mind. Does it help you provide better service to your customers and vendors?
  2. It represents the best-known way of doing something. Is it the best you can do, or could the process be improved?
  3. It has one primary purpose. What is the objective of the system, and does it help you meet your company objectives?
  4. The system has an owner. Who is accountable for and reports on system results?
  5. It is as simple as possible, written down, understood by employees, and repeatable.
  6. Results are measured against performance standards. Improvement requires measurement. Can the results be quantified?
  7. You provide ongoing feedback to employees on the system’s performance, and workers are recognized for good results. You celebrate victories and give frequent feedback.
  8. Waste is reduced, including bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and rework.

If your systems aren’t matching up with these characteristics, then you probably have some work to do. Meet with your team, document your current systems, and see what you can do together to improve them. Even incremental change is better than keeping the status quo.

To hire the best employees, you need the best business systems. If you’re still relying on paper and analog systems, it’s time to upgrade. Premier Software can help you streamline and digitize your project management and accounting processes, making your company more attractive to the best candidates.

To see how Premier can help your company get ahead, request a demo today.

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.

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Company News Industry Insight Resources Tips & Advice Ultimate Guide

The Importance of Employee Training for Construction Software

Software training is key during new software implementation. For workers, it helps them learn the software’s workflow, allows them to test drive the solution, ask specific questions and get more help when needed. For companies, it reduces the transition time, improves morale, and improves efficiency. For more on these benefits and some additional ones, see the list below.

Employee Benefits

1. Learn the software’s workflow

One of the reasons many companies upgrade their software is to gain efficiencies. If you use the same process or workflow in new software, you won’t gain anything. However, through training, you’ll learn how the new software handles data entry, processing, and reporting. Without training, you may spend more time trying to make it do something the way you want it to work, and this wastes time, and money, and reduces your ROI.

2. Concentrate on learning

If you’re trying to implement new software while keeping up with your other duties, it can get stressful fast. The strain of juggling your existing work can make it more difficult for you to learn how to use the new system. By setting aside training time, you can fully concentrate on learning new processes and workflows without the added stress of your other duties.

3. Test drive the software

Training gives you the time to work with real-world examples in the new system. During training, you’ll enter transactions, process data, and run reports, just as you would in your daily work. By “test driving” the software with real data you get a chance to not only see how the software works, but also learn by actively performing the work. Once you go live, you’ll have the data you worked with during training to remind you how each process is performed.

4. Ask specific questions

Every company has situations that are handled differently in that company, and training gives you a chance to ask questions about these situations and work out what needs to be done with an instructor. In addition, you’ll get a chance to learn from questions that others ask during the training, and you’ll receive direct feedback from the instructor.

5. Get added help when needed

Your training time is the time to ask for help. If you’re having difficulty performing a process or knowing what to do next, it’s time to ask for and get the added assistance you need so you can be fully confident using the software. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s during a class or one-on-one. Our team is here to make sure you get the training and information you need to make the most of our solution.

Company Benefits

1. Reduce transition time

Anytime you change or update a software solution, there’s going to be a learning curve and it’s going to take time to get the new system up and running. However, when employees aren’t trained properly, this transition time can be extended as they use trial and error to figure things out. But with training and assistance from the software team, this time can be reduced, as well as the number of headaches.

2. Get the most from software efficiencies

You probably didn’t buy new software because it was going to take just as much time to do things as your current solution. You’re probably looking for some efficiencies or cost savings to justify your purchase. In order to take advantage of the efficiencies and improved reporting promised, you’ll need to learn how the developers intend the software to work. Training will walk you through each process and show you exactly how you can save time using the new system.

3. Save time on trial and error

Some teams will work diligently using trial and error to figure things out. This takes a lot of time, as data is entered, deleted, and reentered in a different way. Workers may be trying to use an old system with new software, and that just isn’t going to cut it. Why waste time with trial and error when training can give you the answers you need, allow you to practice using the new system, and get you up and running faster?

4. Improve morale

Software transitions are stressful. Team members can get frustrated with delays and time spent fixing errors and reentering data. When everyone gets trained on how to use the system properly, there’s reduced stress and employee turnover. Workers develop a sense of teamwork as they work together to implement the new system. They help each other solve problems and work through the process more quickly.

5. Track training progress

Employers can quantify and track the training progress of their employees, so they know at a glance who has practiced what skills. This can help with cross-training and job shadowing. If an employee is going to be changing positions, make sure they have time to review their training and refresh their knowledge about the new process.

Buying new software and not providing training is like throwing a person in the water and telling them to swim. They’ll figure it out, but it’s going to take a while and they won’t be very good at it. Software training provides an opportunity for workers to learn new skills, practice them, and see how the new system works. Employers benefit from reduced transition time, improved team morale, and the ability to quantify and track each worker’s skills.

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.

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Company News Features Industry Insight Tips & Advice

The Top 5 Features to Look For in Drawing Management

Every journey needs a roadmap to take it from start to finish. This couldn’t be more true in construction, except that a project’s journey typically requires an entire atlas: a collection of drawings for every stage. But, keeping that collection organized, up-to-date, and accessible is a serious challenge. And, the more folks who need the drawings, the more confusing it gets.

Luckily, there are ways to simplify the drawing management process. Instead of working from paper plans and printing new revisions at every turn, digitized drawing management programs keep everything saved (and updated) in one database. And while adopting a digital future might be the right move, not all drawing management programs are equal, so it’s important to know what to look for. The five features below are a good start. 

What is Drawing Management?

Before discussing its most critical features, it’s important to understand exactly what drawing management is. Drawing management is a digitized, cloud-based system that collects and organizes architectural plans, structural drawings, mechanical schematics, elevations, and other drawings related to construction projects.

As a cloud-based database, the drawings are available from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. Users can log into the system, peruse the appropriate drawings, and review them or send them without going back to the home office. 

The Importance of Drawing Management

Drawing management has become one of the most influential forms of technology for construction companies. These online-accessible databases allow for better collaboration, less waste both environmentally and monetarily, and smoother-running projects.

When a construction company uses a drawing management program, they’re able to give instant access to drawings to whoever may need to see them. This includes designers and engineers, subcontractors, material suppliers, inspectors, and owners. This type of instant access ensures everyone is always on the same page and working toward the same goal.

Let’s also look at this from an environmental perspective: Digital drawing management means that there is less paper being printed every day. Revisions performed on a computer can be saved directly to the database, meaning users won’t have to travel back and forth to the shop and site for the latest prints, saving gasoline at the same time. 

Drawing management can also help make well-informed decisions faster. Any time there is a design change, the design or contractor can send the proposed change to the customer with the drawing attached. They’ll be able to review the proposed change and the drawing, allowing them to make an informed decision and approve or deny the request.

Drawing management also ensures that the folks actually building the structure are working from the correct plans at all times. With instant access to the latest revisions, users are less likely to be working off of old drawings, ensuring that the project is completed according to schedule the first time. 

The Top 5 Features To Look For in Drawing Management

Choosing a drawing management system goes beyond understanding its importance and role in a modern construction company’s day-to-day operations. The following are some of the best features to look for when shopping for a drawing management system.

1. Add Comments

Traditional paper management systems involve several copies of the same drawings. Management typically makes individual comments on these copies and hands them to the folks who need to see them. This is a lot to manage and there’s no guarantee that everyone will receive their plans along with the notes. But with the ability to add comments for each person who needs to see them to one electronic copy of the drawing, everyone stays in the loop. 

2. Modify and Mark-up Drawings

Just as the ability to make comments is important, so is the ability to modify or mark up plans and drawings. Changes on traditional paper need to be distributed to individual team members while making a change on a cloud-based drawing allows everyone to see the most up-to-date revision without missing the changes. 

But even more important than the ability to mark up the plans is the system’s ability to make those new sketches available for everyone on the job. If an engineer marks up the plan and saves it to the database, the subcontractor who opens those plans will see the marks and be able to act accordingly.

3. Link to RFIs and Change Orders

Drawing management is all about efficiency, and this couldn’t be more true than it is with RFIs, change orders, and other requests. When a user sends an RFI for clarity on a material or design, they’re able to link directly to the drawing in question. This is essentially like the electronic version of stuffing a drawing in an envelope and sending it directly to the customer, only faster. The designer can open the ROI, better understand the question, and answer in a more efficient process.

The same applies to change orders: Any proposed change that might require a CO can be accompanied by a link to the exact drawing in question. This allows users to review the change order, see how it will affect the plan, and make a decision that works for the project in a fast and efficient process. 

4. Track Revisions

Managing revised plans and drawings in a paper system can be a nightmare. First, all of the copies need to be accounted for, and they need to be kept in revision order. They need to be easier to sort through, and to ensure the project goes off without a hitch, the most recent approved drawing needs to be on top. With a drawing management system, this doesn’t need to be so hard.

Digital drawing management systems make tracking revisions a breeze. With the click of a mouse, users can look at older drawings based on dates and revision numbers, or jump ahead to the latest approved version. 

5. Choose Layers

Construction drawings contain a lot of information. But not all of that information applies to everyone who uses those drawings. Comments, notes, and sketches on those drawings can get confusing, but with a drawing management system that allows users to create private layers, users can hide all of the peripheral information and get down to the heart of their job.

With the ability to create layers, designers and project managers can give specific details to subcontractors and other job site personnel. This streamlines the transfer of information, hiding all of the data, notes, comments, and sketches that the sub doesn’t need to see, resulting in a better understanding of the project. 

Why Drawing Management Solutions Are Worth it

Drawing management solutions make a lot of sense, but they’re often an investment that construction companies aren’t sure they want to make. What makes these solutions worth it? 

Realistically, effective drawing management software will begin to pay for itself immediately. Every time that project manager doesn’t have to drive back to the office for a paper drawing, or every time a decision is made faster because drawings are readily available, they’re saving money. 

Consider the cost of performing a few days of work with old drawings and the expense of correcting the mistake. These costs alone could pay for a drawing management solution.

Ultimately, drawing management solutions save construction companies by maximizing efficiency. Companies looking to streamline their processes and protect their profit margins should adopt a solution that fits their needs, and with the features listed above, they’ll know exactly what to look for. To learn more on how Premier can help streamline your business process with this magical tool, contact our industry pros and request your demo today!

 

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Jonas Premier Favored for Contract Management by Capterra

In a recently published article for Capterra, Content Marketing Analyst, Rachel Burger ranked Jonas Premier in the top 10 best constructions software packages for contract management. Citing Premiers unlimited document storage, ease of use and reputation for customer service excellence as defining features, Burger went on to explain that the criteria used in narrowing down her extensive list of candidates consisted of: Is the software industry-specific? Is it applicable for commercial construction? Are there contract management features, and ease of use.

As a provider of fully integrated Construction Project Management and Accounting Software, Jonas Premier offers cutting edge cloud based software for today’s contractors. With complete access to your data from the office, job site, and even the airport, you can make the right decisions for your business at all times. Good bye Citrix, good bye VPN, and welcome to safer, faster software.

 

About Capterra:

Capterra is a website that offers unbiased third party software advice and reviews, you can check them out here.

Rachel Burger is a Content Marketing Analyst, and you can check out some of her writing here.

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Secrets of Construction Software – Cloud vs Traditional ERP

Construction Software has become more powerful and there are many more options available in the market today. How do you decide what is best for you and how can you hedge your risk? Well, it’s not that easy! It’s important to educate yourself on which questions are crucial to ask so that you can easily differentiate the old from the new and identify software that adds real value to your organization.

 

The main challenge is finding an integrated accounting and job costing software that is robust, powerful, and easy to install and use.  With the introduction of cloud, software companies are challenged to move from traditional ERP to SaaS based models. To build software that is true cloud requires a significant investment. Most construction software companies do not have the development resources and required investment to compete in the cloud market so they take shortcuts such as using a third party hosting provider to host their software in the cloud. This is not a true cloud solution but rather dated technology camouflaged in a new technology framework.

 

Traditional ERP software contracts are structured in a way that locks customers in and increases the risk for businesses. It’s important to review the contract in detail so you don’t invest your hard earned dollars in software that is dated, comprehensive and can take several months to install. Also, traditional ERP software packages specialize in customizations and target multiple verticals. This results in numerous flags which lead to lengthy and time consuming installs.

 

Additionally, traditional ERP software solutions charge a high upfront license fee and lock you into a contract that is very difficult to terminate. In hindsight, they have very little incentive to provide a quality product and exceptional customer service. Under the new model – SaaS, there is no contract which significantly mitigates the risk for your business. It also holds the software vendors accountable to deliver what was promised during the sales demo – a quality product and exceptional customer support.

 

The differences between true cloud and traditional hosted ERP solutions quickly become apparent when you calculate the cost savings. Traditional ERP software vendors try to compete in the cloud market by hosting their software using a third party provider. There is an associated hosting fee and Citrix/VPN are required to run the software application. Not only is this costly but it is very time consuming, slow and usually there are connection issues and delays. Also, servers must be upgraded, maintained and require in house I.T support for back-ups, storage, corruption etc.

 

True cloud does not require a server or hosting fees and all back-ups and upgrades are included.

 

Most importantly, SaaS based companies have shifted their focus on customer satisfaction by taking the time to learn about construction businesses.  Establishing a meaningful partnership drastically positively impacts development and advances the software.  Most traditional ERP solutions set a lower budget for the number of training hours required for an implementation in order to make the quote appear more favorable. It is important to gain clarification around this to ensure an accurate number of hours is quoted. Most vendors charge for additional training whereas most SaaS based vendors are rolling out unlimited training models to ensure high adoption and satisfaction rates among customers. Typically users of SaaS based systems are using over 80% of the software’s capability whereas users of traditional models are left to train themselves and end up using less than 50%.

 

As you can see, the two solutions – true cloud versus traditional ERP – are drastically different. It’s important to take into consideration more than just the purchase price. If you make the wrong decision, it can disrupt your work environment, deter employees from change and end up costing you time and a significant lost investment. Choosing the right software is critical to a company’s success. If chosen correctly, it can increase productivity, centralize your team, provide meaningful reports and help you grow your business with less resources.