A fundamental goal of all construction businesses is to minimize risk – whether it’s tied to schedule, resources or other key costs – during a project’s lifecycle. As the complexity of construction projects continues to grow in today’s market, the level of risk grows as well. It takes an exorbitant amount of time and resources to ensure the project is operating as efficiently as possible without compromising performance in any key operational areas.
Now, construction firms are using technology to get a “leg up” to maximize profits and preserve margins. Technology is helping increase the speed of collaboration, dramatically improving visibility to key data and reducing costs associated with antiquated, often paper-based processes. In the quest for zero setbacks or losses on any project, technology is helping companies in the construction space take significant leaps – and greatly reduce risk.
There are three key areas where a focus on the right technology solutions can reap big rewards for construction companies.
All construction projects track quantities – a universal necessity. The best companies have technology systems in place that can capably track, manage and report quantity consumption, such as labor, materials and equipment, across all phases of a project. A good quantity management system also should maintain open connections to the back-office management system or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. This will allow teams to manage a project or portfolio level consumption of quantities with the same cost structure used for budgeting and purchasing. A quantity-focused system lets everyone speak the same language across the project.
Estimating can often make or break any project. Unrealistic estimates will almost always (and quickly) lead to reduced margins. Strong technology systems should be able to give project teams greater access to historical benchmarks and when combined with a strong quantity management system, can help ensure more accurate, realistic estimates. Comprehensive access to historical benchmarks also allows teams to more deeply analyze risks and better forecast anticipated productivity levels to provide a broader view for every estimate. Over time, each estimate can get more accurate and predictable than the last, helping construction businesses win jobs at the best price.
The ability to view current data on quantity consumption and to compare that data against estimates is essential. Equally important is the ability to continuously measure labor performance against the original plan – something technology can greatly enhance. With better access to performance information, plan adjustments can be made early enough in the process to have a meaningful impact on overall project results – helping meet or beat an estimate. With a robust project performance toolset, project teams can realize measurable benefits by limiting risk earlier in the lifecycle.
Mobile applications are the last piece of the puzzle, arming those in the field with near real-time information so they can make more timely adjustments to plans faster and smarter than ever before.
With technology strategies and tools focused on quantities, benchmarks and performance, construction business have the ability to better manage risks – and get closer and closer to maximum results and profitability. Start building your technology game plan today.