Construction projects are complex at best and confusing at worst.
Stakeholders from across the supply chain—asset owners, project managers, site managers, contractors, and quality surveyors—use a variety of tools to run their day-to-day operations and complete their tasks.
Point solutions can include pre-built features to improve everything from compliance to collaboration. This can consist of software for CRM, HR, ERP, accounting, takeoff and estimating, bid management, document management, scheduling, and construction project management.
So, what happens when all this information must be brought together to manage the project?
Organizations use various tools and solutions to manage their construction projects—from building in-house to plug and play with out-of-the-box solutions.
Some manually stack together various tools, sticking to the likes of Excel—using spreadsheets to manage complex construction—paired with file storage solutions—SharePoint or Dropbox—to house all their project information.
For others, out-of-the-box solutions help keep their construction projects in check. And then, there are those who choose configurable solutions, such as construction management software, as their project companion.
But which is best? Let’s find out.
1. Manual Tools Create More Issues than Solutions
Despite the abundance of tech and digital solutions, manual tools are still prevalent on jobsites worldwide.
Let’s look at the three top manual tools and why they might cause more problems than they solve:
Managing a complex project while leaning heavily on email is a challenge. This may be where many construction projects and supply chain relationships begin, but it shouldn’t be relied on to keep pace with changes and project updates. Otherwise, you’ll miss critical information, causing issues throughout an entire project.
For example, take communication with contractors. From invitation to bid and beyond, you will struggle if you are using email to send documents back and forth between the project manager and suppliers. The result? Information gaps and way too many emails until the invoice is sent and payment made.
In 2021, the JBKnowledge ConTech Report found that technology integrations remain a big challenge for most companies, with more than half of all respondents in their survey manually transferring data. Of those, almost 14% used email to transfer data when apps do not integrate.
File Storage Solution
File storage solutions like Google Drive or SharePoint may sound like great construction management tools—one collective space to share your project information—but what happens when you’re looking for the most up-to-date document? Is it “floorplan_FINAL” or “floorplan_final_final”?
With everyone across the project feeding into one space with no accurate tracking and auditing, finding the most up-to-date doc is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Sending sensitive documents via third-party file hosting services also puts information security at risk. And with organizations on high alert for security or data breaches, is it worth the risk?
The ConTech Report found the top file sharing and software solutions ranged from DropBox to Google Drive to OneDrive.
Spreadsheets are the oldest of old-school ways to manage your projects. Error-prone, risk attracting, money sapping, and practically un-auditable, the tool is still being used to manage projects worldwide. According to JB Knowledge, spreadsheet reliance in the construction industry has only dropped by just over 2% between 2020 and 2021.
Of those needing to transfer data when apps didn’t integrate, more than 40% used spreadsheets.
While the tool has its use—mainly on smaller projects where information is passed between 2-3 people—the era of managing your project via Excel has passed, it’s time to say goodbye.
2. Out-of-the-Box Solutions Provide Limited Relief
Many in construction will opt to buy software that is ready for use out-of-the-box or off-the-shelf. This means you’ve chosen a vendor to solve a specific problem. Additional coding or customization from developers isn’t required.
These point solutions are mostly easy-to-deploy and ready to use. However, they often only solve one piece of the complex construction puzzle—an accounting tool or a way to improve timekeeping.
But these solutions place limits on what you can do. Take reporting, for example. With out-of-the-box solutions, you can only run pre-built reports. But what if you want a different view? Or include other factors in your reporting? Sorry, no can do.
With out-of-the-box solutions, integration and data transfer is also an issue. In its 2020 Construction Technology Report, JBKnowledge found that more than 26% of software applications don’t integrate. The result of this lack of integration? Data silos.
And these data silos could end up costing your project BIG. According to research, a lack of efficiency in construction could add between 20%-25% to the cost of a project. For U.S. projects valued at $2 billion, this could mean an increase of between $400 million and $500 million.
So, when it out-of-the-box solutions, many construction businesses will find these solutions fall short as they need something more than a one-size-fits-all situation.
3. Configurable Software Gives You Back Control
While cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf, point solutions can solve many problems—from document management to CRM—many construction firms need configurable software.
What is configurable software?
Configurable software can be adapted, automated, and personalized to meet your and your team's needs. It is flexible and scalable, so it can be easily molded and shaped to meet your specific requirements.
This means creating ways of work that suit how you work.
Configurable solutions also are more straightforward and more cost-effective to implement. While a payment and learning curve is involved during the initial phases, once the solution is in place, it should be plain sailing.
With a good solution, you don’t pay for updates, instead, they are provided automatically meaning you’re future proofing your business without having to lift a finger. Additional resources such as training materials and user guides are also provided, with tech support on hand to deal with all queries.
This style of construction management can help save your project time and money.
Experts say automating how construction projects get designed, planned, and built could result in cost savings as high as 20% annually for the construction industry. As such, greater predictability in construction timelines would result in significant cost savings.
Construction management software offers this approach.
Supporting every stage of the asset lifecycle—from design to build ad beyond—construction management software offers construction projects a way to reduce project chaos and manage all aspects of the project in one place. All project information remains in one single location, accessible by all project stakeholders. Communication is improved. Documents are auditable. And data is moved seamlessly from one area to another.
When made well, the software can be intuitive. Good project management software can do the hard work for you.
Improve Construction Management with Asite
Trusted by over 65,000 companies worldwide, the Asite construction management software provides organizations with a configurable way to manage your construction projects.
Through customizable dashboards, document version-control, automatic reporting, and intuitive workflows, organizations can make data-driven and informed decisions in real-time. Data entry is decreased, risk is reduced, and once time-sapping processes become streamlined.
Asite centralizes all your construction project information and documents on a secure, organized platform, providing organizations with the visibility and the control they’ve longed for. It can also be easily integrated with other solutions—through the Asite API—meaning manually transferring data from one tool to another is a thing of the past.
The industry-leading solution is used by notable industry leaders, including Laing O’Rourke, Balfour Beatty, Arup, Skanska, and AECOM, and some of the biggest and most exciting projects globally.
Most notably, the Asite Platform is being used across New York’s Metropolitan Transport Authority’s (MTA) project portfolio.
Here, it enables project teams to share, collaborate, communicate, and report on data across over 300 active projects. The secure and robust solution connects the MTA’s substantial supply chain to support the modernization of the public transport system and, ultimately, positively impact the lives of its nine million daily customers.
Its proven capability to manage construction projects of large magnitude and integrate with existing systems has seen the Asite Platform also used further afield in Dubai, where it played an integral role in the extension of Dubai International Airport. Here, the Asite Platform allowed a widely dispersed and varied project team to work collaboratively and seamlessly throughout the project.
Ready to see how Asite helps you deliver projects with a highly configurable solution that works with your processes, real-time dashboards that deliver complete project visibility, and a secure, collaborative platform that gives you back control over your projects. Learn more here.
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