With proof that team collaboration and better visibility improves profitability, construction businesses are moving swiftly toward more streamlined communication and standardized processes. Such operational improvement includes tearing down barriers that inhibit connection between owners, estimators, project managers, back office administrators, accounting, and other team members. Better and easier collaboration improves accountability, awareness, productivity, and decision-making.
Accomplishing all those brilliant business goals sounds excellent, but how? Leveraging technology is a critical component. Using a single construction software solution that brings together the whole team across the project lifecycle—from takeoff and bid through project execution to close out of job—allows everyone to share information and simplify workflow between those in the field and those in the office or other sites.
Ranked as one of the top commercial general contractors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, TRINITY Construction Group, Inc. utilizes construction software with mobile functionality to allow project managers, owners, and others to gain easy and convenient access to important project-related data at all times, whether they are in the office or in the field. Documentation at-hand and easy reference to an accurate trail of communications helps the contractor keep projects and profits on track.
Mil L. Wallen, III, CEO of TRINITY, explains: “Our superintendents can easily enter timecards and process other documents from the field. They can also have up-to-the minute information at any time when on a jobsite or during progress meetings at the site. If I’m meeting with a client and they owe us money, for example, I have all the information I need at my fingertips and can pull up the details right then and there.”
Steve Galles TRINITY’S CFO, agrees and has great expectations for using the full breadth of their single solution: “Our project managers can be better able to receive and track information on projects, budgets, and schedules in the field. And, with streamlined processes, our data will be synchronized with one system to produce monthly statements, such as WIP reports, which enables us to better understand our profitability on each job.”
Another example of collaborative success comes from Lewis Environmental, a leader in the environmental contracting and emergency response industry headquartered in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The team at Lewis is using a construction software solution with mobile app that improves interaction between office and field, avoiding miscommunications.
Max Yocum, branch manager at Lewis, explains: “We certainly reduce the amount of paperwork and back office operations required to produce or handle timesheets, work reports, and such. Plus we have an organized way of storing all that information. We recognize ways that technology allows us to automate, speed up, and manage more effectively.”
He describes why this is so valuable to their unique business: “Work is typically out of town, away from our main office, so our personnel don’t get into the office often. And now they don’t need to as frequently because the flow of information is so improved. We easily upload or download information to keep office and field in step. That makes running projects easier, communication is improved significantly, and documenting and transferring information is great. We used to spend hours on the phone relaying what was going on at a jobsite to those in the office, and vice versa. Now we can transfer information so answers are accessible whenever needed … no more chasing people down.”
The quality of the communication is also improved and translates to better client service, according to Yocum: “Having that information helps us all communicate more effectively with each other. The project manager and foreman communicate better and the quality of that exchange is improved, which rolls up to time and cost savings. Plus I can also communicate more effectively with our clients. I save time preparing details and can send them along to a client much quicker. So we are able to spend more time thinking about our clients and less time thinking about how our paperwork flows.”
Another scenario comes from Magleby Construction, a builder of estate homes, commercial projects, and complex remodels, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah. This contractor moved away from a system where much information was disconnected in spreadsheets and other manual processes, creating many challenges when managing projects and finances.
Now, by having everything in one system and adding the use of iPad mobile devices, they can cut costs while speeding up workflow. J. Bradley Simons, Magleby’s CFO, explains: “The use of iPads in the field will enable us to get information out to our guys instantaneously. With this real-time access to daily reports, change orders, and other project-related information, we will make fewer mistakes and be able to increase our productivity and profitability.”
Simons shares a specific cost-saving example: “We are doing about the same volume of work with less staff. Before we had two project managers at a cost of about $180,000 a year and we are spending about $50,000 total in labor. That is another $130,000 a year in savings that we have achieved because we now have everything in one system.”
Using construction software that seamlessly brings together applications for estimating, project management, and accounting, as well as accommodates the growing desire for more mobility, contractors are communicating faster and more clearly. This allows construction businesses to keep pace with all the moving parts of any construction workflow as projects move across an organization—whether activity is happening in the field, in the office, or everywhere! ■
For More Information:
Dan Lehman is product manager at Viewpoint and can be reached by phone at 800.688.8226. Viewpoint is a recognized leader in meeting the collaborative and information needs of the AEC industry, providing construction-specific software that addresses all points of the construction lifecycle from preconstruction to building maintenance. For more information on Viewpoint, visit www.viewpointcs.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, March 2014
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Contractor Solutions magazine.