6 Investments for Construction Profitability
David Talks ConTech
6 Investments for Construction Profitability
What company doesn’t want to invest a little and receive a large return? Most do, and many companies come to our consultants searching for these investments. In our time with these clients, we’ve seen that return can often be found when lowering the administrative burden for all employees through technology.
This blog is meant to highlight the technology investments that all companies should consider.
1. Cloud Solutions
The term “cloud” can be confusing, but we’ve reduced it to a simple definition.
Technology that allows users to access company data on any device from anywhere.
In the past decade, we’ve seen technology become more complex behind the scenes so employees can simply work better from anywhere. Any company can begin using cloud solutions by following a few simples steps. First, identify which of your programs or software are cloud or web based. Next, decide whether the ones that aren’t should be cloud or web based and if so, can they be? Investing in cloud-based software will limit the burden put on employees that are transferring data from one department to another, or one software to another.
Electronic signature software, like DocuSign, is a necessity in many industries. Despite this wide acceptance, many companies are still printing documents that require a legally binding signature. Although several construction ERP programs have e-signature built into their document imaging and routing feature, many don’t. Others require every document viewer to have a full license of the software, which can be expensive. Make the switch by first identifying whether your ERP/Accounting program provides this feature and if not, look for a program like DocuSign to help your company go “paperless.”
3. Digital Timecards
Most businesses need timecards, but there are many ways to track time. Some companies use paper timecards that supervisors send to the accounting department for processing. Others email an Excel document to an accountant for processing. We’ve used these systems for years, but have come to find that tracking time can also waste time! Instead, digital applications allow employees to log time, route it to supervisors for review and approval, then submit to an accounting system all in one simple process.
Many companies also track the time of salary employees. This assists in tracking the amount of time spent on a specific task or installing a certain amount of material. Making decisions based on productivity data is impossible without the accurate time collection that digital timecards can provide.
4. Digital Daily Reporting
Daily or weekly reports are collected on every jobsite across the United States. The data collected in these reports differ from company to company, and many are still logged in Excel or on paper. Daily reporting applications help superintendents and foremen centralize project data, safety inspections and progress photos in one place. All this data may not be used regularly, but when it is needed to address a claim or warranty request it is vital in protecting project profits.
5. Robotic Total Stations
The surveying process is labor intensive for most contractors, especially those who don’t utilize Robotic Total Stations to scan and collect survey measurements. Robotic Total Stations cut the required labor amount in half because they are operable by one person instead of the traditional method that requires two people (one at the scanner and another holding the target). Surveying devices are also mostly automatic and can identify targets with limited or no human interference trimming the hours dedicated to surveying. These devices are relatively expensive, but most contractors find they pay for themselves within the first few jobs due to a large decline in labor hours.
6. Drones + Post-Flight Processing Software
Drones seem like a fun toy, but they actually have several practical uses for construction. One is the serious value that owners find in receiving updates with drone imagery. Others include:
- Progress tracking
- Stockpile volume calculation
- Terrain modeling
- Documenting existing conditions
Commercial-grade drones exist for these specific tasks, but many contractors find that the DJI Phantom and Professional products fit the bill.
Start Investing in Construction Technology
Fortunately, we can look to past clients and colleagues to highlight these worth-while investments, but without proper analysis of each company we can’t point to any solutions. Take the first step towards better investments by taking our free Construction Technology Assessment, or schedule a time to talk!
Joining JBKnowledge’s consulting division after graduating from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, David started as a coordinator, then a project manager, then to a consultant. He has cultivated a formula for realizing the best solution for each company using analysis, goals with tangible results, and nurturing ongoing relationships.