Construction is one of the most profitable and complex business industries. Although many huge and small companies all over the world keep successfully constructing buildings, they also face numerous professional challenges daily. If you are involved in construction business then you know how any little unresolved issue can influence the whole working process. This in turn leads to delays, missed deadlines, prolongation of construction process and money loss.
And what about the number of processes any business owner should control and manage? Employees, building materials, machinery, logistics, time and quality control – all this burden lies primary on the shoulders of construction companies. But can anything be done about it? Yes, if you as a company owner consider to develop and implement the software able to address your company needs. So, without further ado, let’s proceed to the topic of software optimization and its positive effect on construction business.
What construction companies are struggling with?
To begin with, let’s clarify what companies we are going to talk about. Construction industry is rather broad and there are numerous companies divided into types depending on the kinds of job they are doing. In this article we would like to discuss the challenges of the following three types:
- Companies that manufacture building materials.
- Companies that own construction machinery (and offer either their rentals or constructing/dismantling services).
- Professional construction managers (referring to the companies offering full range of building services).
Building materials manufacturers
Companies of this type can have a broad or very specialized field of expertise. They can be involved in so called mass production or manufacturing materials according to specific orders. What we also have to mention is that manufacturers of construction materials also offer delivery services.
So for example there are companies that manufacture and supply rubble, concrete, bricks, gluing materials, plasterboards, steel constructions, facing stones, marble, concrete slabs, etc. They strictly follow the production standards and do not produce any custom materials.
And there are other companies that can manufacture standard materials as well as custom-made. E.g. a company can produce standard set of steel or precast concrete constructions but if needed it can make a specific ones too. Or let’s take ceramic and faience tiles or plumbing materials – any client can contact such companies, discuss their requirements and custom design and make an order.
We have already written about our experience in developing software for a company with specialized field of expertise. So if you want to discover what processes can be digitalized and optimized in such companies, take a look at this article.
Now as to the main challenges all companies that manufacture and supply building materials face:
Construction machinery and equipment companies
Heavy machinery and equipment always played crucial role in construction process. It does not matter whether you are building an incredibly tall and complex building like Burj Khalifa in Dubai or fairytale-looking Ice City in Harbin, China. To construct such diverse buildings you definitely need a heavy machinery and a lot of equipment. And thanks to companies that own them and provide rental as well as construction services, many unbelievable project were created all over the world.
But if we speak about business processes of such companies, we will see a number of challenges they are dealing with on a daily basis. Here are just some key ones:
- Logistics. When the machinery or equipment gets rented, you as a company owner have to ensure that it will arrive at the destination at the exact time. You also have to keep under control the condition of the rented machinery and equipment. So to prevent any possible breakage you need to order necessary details and replace bad parts. This all has to do with well-organized transportation.
- Employees control. The companies also tend to offer services of people who drive and operate heavy machinery and equipment. Therefore it is crucial to make sure that the productivity of your employees is at the necessary level and all work is done on time. If anything unexpected happens to a machinery, a worker need to quickly let head managers know about the issue and either fix it or find a replacement very fast. Every hour is precious if you are in construction business.
Professional construction managers
These companies usually provide a whole set of construction services. They can be hired by an investor or an owner of a future object to construct it from scratch. Therefore everything starting with planning and ending with ordering supplies, hiring workers, renting machinery and building is their responsibility. So the number of challenges they are dealing with is enormous. Just check out the most common ones:
- Construction planning. This is a crucial part of the whole building process. Here is why – usually a ot of people works on a project and one company can handle several projects at the same time. Which means that a company is in charge of the beginning and finish of all processes. So there should not be any obstacles preventing continuous construction. That is why companies create plans and schedules. In these plans they need to specify the exact dates when one specialist is done with the job and the next stage should begin. This implies certain forecasting and some precise calculations. Can you imagine that some big companies are still doing this all manually?
- Logistics. Construction managers order both building materials and machinery. So if the transportation is not well organized the budget losses will be huge. But what is more important – there can occur some shifts in the working processes because of delayed materials delivery or some machinery breakdowns and inability to quickly replace them or fix the issues.
- Working hours control. When a group of building specialists is working on an object, it is very hard to control the time and productivity of every single person. You also have to be able to perform quality control and estimate the time that is going to be spent on a certain construction stage to preserve continuous work.
- Supplies control. All employees that were hired should be able to inform about shortage of necessary materials at once. It can be hard to go and find a head manager, so such situations can cause a delay which costs a lot of money.
How can custom software help optimize business processes?
Reading our article you as a business owner may think: “Okay, you’ve just described all I already know about. And now what?” Well, we’ve talked about all those struggles not to remind you about them one more time, but to offer solutions to each of those problems.
Software can be a powerful tool that is able to optimize numerous complex processes. And if you implement a custom software you will be able to save a lot of time, resources and you will even make your team more productive. Digital optimization is a must these days, because it helps to get rid of tiresome paperwork, establish better connection between teams and team members, improve project management and control.
Are you interested what solutions might be of use to your particular company? We can help you with that! Here is the list of the most crucial programs, we would recommend you to consider implementing:
Complex issues require smart and holistic solutions. That is why ERP should be in the list of must have solutions for construction companies. To manage finance, contracts, logistics, scheduling and your team you need a whole digital ecosystem like ERP. You will be able to provide more precise estimations, make value-driven decisions, make data sharing and management easier.
Are you still struggling with improper planning, inaccurate time and budget estimations, complicated team and project management? Do you need to control purchasing, disposing, storing and using of your construction supplies? Do you want to generate reports easily and be aware of your company productivity and determine all possible risks? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it is high time to think about developing ERP for your company.
This software will be appreciated by all manufacturers and suppliers of construction materials and also by companies which provide building services. With CRM you can easily manage orders, track and process them, collect and edit information about your customers. In building industry speed means a lot, so the ability of a company to process an important order fast is crucial. CRM allows to automate this process and avoid human errors which leads to timely supplies.
With CRM it is easy to monitor the status and progress of construction tenders. So if your company is a so called professional construction manager, you will be able to catch good opportunities quickly. You can set up your dashboard, call tenders and keep records of important calls, generate reports and analyze them afterwards.
Software for logistics management
As we’ve already mentioned, logistics plays important role for all types of construction companies. If resources are not delivered on time to the building object this gives a push to numerous issues. So to monitor and control supplies and machinery stream, you need a certain kind of a software.
Solutions for logistics and warehouse management will allow you to plan demand and supply, check out your inventory and make sure all supplies are used rationally, analyze the data about waste and manage it properly, visualize and therefore optimize the transportation matters beforehand. This will save you a lot of time and cost and you will be sure that materials and machinery will be on the object exactly when they need to be there.
System for construction planning
Based on our experience we can say that many companies either have their plans written on the paper or create and keep them in separate Excel documents with tables. However, this takes a lot of time to monitor such plans and create a correct schedule of all works. This in turn decelerates construction process. And what is more important, if you provide whole range of construction services you may face a situation when one team of workers finished their job, the next stage should be started, but unfortunately you’ve forgotten to put this on your schedule and hire team of other specialists. The more projects you are handling, the more planning issues may occur.
So to avoid the described situation, you’d better build a system for planning. It can help you to coordinate the work of teams, make arrangements and order building materials beforehand, set up notifications and create important reminders. No essential information or to-do task will slip your attention. Timely decisions can really boost your business.
Application for team management
If your employees still use paper to mark their arrival and leaving time, if they do not have a tool that connects them and allows to exchange crucial data in no time, then this application is for you. When working on an object, your team of constructors (or whatever specialists you are hiring) should be able to quickly inform you and each other about some unpredicted situations, ask to provide necessary supplies and provide short daily reports.
Application can be a great little helper. Nowadays everyone uses devices and there is no quicker way to get or share information in a couple of clicks. With an app it would be easier to allocate all processes between team members, control their productivity and working time, check out daily progress. It is also possible to set integration of an app with various services that are crucial for your business to make team management even more efficient and easy.
We have recently developed an advanced software for the owner of the great construction company – Nelson Precast. That company manufactures precast concrete constructions and offers a wide range of services (for example, if you need to install large columns, signs, cornices and items like these, then this company employees can be your helpers). The managers of this company have been dealing with repetitive data entry on a daily basis, they were overloaded with paperwork and it often led to lower productivity. There were some issues with prioritizing tasks, taking measurements of materials and needed labor, the quality control also needed improvements.
Therefore taking all challenges into account, it was necessary to implement some kind of software to manage everything. Well actually our client came to us with a pre-developed part of the project (it was around 15% ready) and in despair because it had to be completed and it was not easy to do it. So our main goal was to understand what processes needed optimization and what relevant solution we can offer. As the result our effective cooperation with the client lead to the development of the advanced business management system.
The developed custom software helped him to:
- Track the progression of every project accurately and easily;
- Calculate and track the delivery of materials;
- Reduce workload and boost managers efficiency;
- Create schedules and prioritize tasks correctly;
- Reduce time spent on documentation management;
- Create check-lists for main tasks.
At the moment we can say that our client is totally satisfied with the solution and the job we’ve done. He left a positive review about our company on Goodfirms.
Every year we observe how something totally new and unique is being constructed in no time. Small cities keep growing and more and more companies are involved in construction. To stay competitive any company should offer the best possible services starting with high-quality materials and ending with extremely productive construction specialists.
Being under so much pressure daily it is hard to control all processes and avoid challenges leading to negative consequences. And the only thing that can help construction companies is software optimization. If you take care of automation of many crucial processes, you will likely demonstrate more productivity and better results.