Do I Need System Management aka Lot Management Software?
November 18, 2021
If most or all of your construction portfolio consists of capital, commercial and/or civil infrastructure projects, then you know the challenges involved in managing builds of such complexity and scale. You’re very likely already breaking each project down into hyper-focused scopes of work. These are commonly known as “systems” in the U.S. and “lots” in Australia. For a multi-story building, a lot would most likely be a floor; for a highway, it could be broken into one-mile lots; for a large footprint structure, it could be a portion of a grid.
The practice itself isn’t new. What matters, though, is the software used to organize and track everything within those individual smaller scopes — from labor, materials and equipment, to documentation and communication. But what kind? General business software has long been a popular option, although it can get you only so far before you encounter limitations. That’s because nowadays capital projects tend to require more robust capabilities that allow you to more easily manage at the lot level, and even into sublots. Based on what you experience with the kinds of projects you take on, you may now be wondering if you should consider lot management software, which will most likely be a module within a document control software solution.
Signs that adopting system or lot management software could benefit your construction projects
Proliferating project documents have become harder to find and manage.
The seemingly infinite information and data being generated throughout the typical capital project’s life cycle are contributing to this proliferation. And on top of that, there’ve been increasing regulatory requirements to adhere to as well as more exacting owner requirements to meet. Without an extremely well-organized system, locating specific paperwork can become very much like hunting for a needle in the haystack.
But when you’re organizing scopes of work into lots, it makes sense to also store and organize the documentation that goes with each one in the same way, right? That’s the essence of lot management software. It’s like designating a virtual file cabinet as a single source of truth for each lot. And within each cabinet is all the necessary documentation specific to each one, such as drawings, RFIs, procedures, checklists, communication, reviews and approvals, and punch lists. Think of using the software as an effective way to divide and conquer the way paperwork and correspondence are stored, organized and tracked for the entire project.
Misplaced or lost documents often require documents or tasks be redone.
Tight schedules don’t leave a whole lot of room to spare to completely redo anything that hasn’t already been identified as a risk factor and addressed with proper contingency planning. Redoing compromised information, though? That’s another story. It’s impossible to plan for such a risk scenario; and yet it happens far too often. Paperwork can be misplaced, left unfinished or strewn across multiple computers and inboxes. This has the unfortunate effect of putting task completion dates at risk. How? By having to repeat a time-consuming quality inspection because a checklist is incomplete. Or recreate missing documents meant to be part of the final turnover package to the client.
That duplicated effort adds up, and not just in terms of time — jeopardizing contract retention payments contractors and subcontractors alike rely on. There’s the extra labor and/or back office personnel costs that are incurred, which may cut into the bottom line. Imagine the tallied total when this happens during massive capital projects.
Lot management software is configured to gather and present that information in a systematic way, reflecting how the project is being built. Only the items relevant to that particular lot are included. This significantly reduces the potential for loss of information, and therefore the need for additional personnel, time and money resources at project’s end to play catch up — and makes closeout and turnover a snap.
Lack of visibility into status or progress of work are leading to uncertain project decisions.
Lot management software provides deeper visibility into the history and status of that work, which helps breed confidence in the decisions that go into managing the project. That visibility makes it possible to get as granular as desired, down into a specific item within a lot or sublot — whether to monitor progress, investigate a lot/sublot experiencing challenges or delays, or gain an understanding of the health of that narrowly defined scope of work. As information is entered into the software, summary and detailed reports available within the lot management software can provide a snapshot of what has been completed and what is yet to be done — and where. This has a welcome side effect of encouraging collaboration among those working within a lot to evaluate and troubleshoot any challenges that arise for a quicker resolution.
So how do you find a lot management software solution? If you’re using InEight Document, you may not realize it includes a lot management module for easier control of segmented portions of your capital projects. If you schedule a demo we can show you and your team how this construction document control software can help you better monitor and manage these smaller scopes of work for improved project outcomes.