Is it Time to Upgrade your Construction Data Management Process?

Are you considering upgrading from an excel spreadsheet based process to a mobile software management system? It might be time to drop your spreadsheets for something more tailored to the construction industry.

According to a study from Carnegie Mellon University, spreadsheets have an “overall error rate of 94%.” The study also found that a majority of respondents could cite a time when the error led to a poor management decision.

Eliminate Data Re-entry

5532384048_f42e928f70_zOne can expect user error in every business, but software exists to minimize the common errors. Excel and handwritten spreadsheets not only leave plenty of room for error, but if there is an error, it’s difficult to go back and figure out where the project was 3 days ago, let alone three months ago. This is a concept that just isn’t feasible in the fast-paced environment of the construction industry.

With a centralized data management system data is captured once, logged with time and source, and securely archived, with no re-entering of data or the associated typos. When reports or inspections are being executed, you can control what people enter, removing or limiting the inconsistency of free-form answer fields. This will ensure valuable time will not be spent just chasing people around. Also, a good system will eliminate the process of gathering and checking documents one at a time. Dashboards tell you equipment status on demand, with no pulling and organizing data.

Growth Requires Change

Companies just starting out can get by using Excel or similar software to organize their assets and data collected. It’s when they start to accumulate new employees, new equipment, and more jobs that project management issues will start to arise and disorganization will be apparent. Often by the time these pain points are obvious, everyone is too busy to research and implement a solution. These antiquated methods also usually only allow for one user, which lacks effeciency. Having just a one user system also puts too much strain on the person responsible, which in most cases, is the equipment manager. They get swamped with incoming papers and are asked to retrieve data that was collected months ago. Having one sole person responsible for these tasks will lead to frustration and incomplete work.

What to Look for in a Solution

The differentiating factor between construction management solutions is if it was created by and for construction companies. A system built by an organization with first-hand knowledge of the industry will understand niche construction problems and will be familiar with construction-specific questions.

In addition, it will include a support team that has an extensive background in the industry and a passion for solving construction related pain points. It can be a much more effective and pleasant experience to be dealing with people who have experienced the same pain points and are now working to help other overcome them as well.

Another factor that will help in implementing a construction management solution is the customization ability of the system. Many large software systems that run across all industries are out of the box with minimal ability to customize to each individual company. This leads to a longer adoption time as companies have to adapt to new operational processes. Having a software service that allows customization enables a company to keep their same processes while executing more efficiently with the help of the management system.

To put a number to the ROI of a system it is important to outline current pain points, their current cost to the organization, and to set milestones for overcoming them. Asking these questions and setting specific, achievable goals will help in measuring progress as well as implementation. Investing in construction management software is an extra step that construction managers can take to alleviate work-load and increase job-planning accuracy.