Ways to eliminate problems with communication, collaboration & compliance
by James Campbell
January 2, 2019

Today, millions of general contractors and construction workers will log into a cloud-based management solution. Excavator operators around the world will reach into their trucks and grab their instant communication systems. Right now, project managers are using their phones to send updates to their bosses; leaders are looking in on safety meeting attendance via a device; and streamlined accounts payable (AP) processes are making paper bills relics of the past.

You too can secure a position of leadership in the industry by adopting these five technologies designed to alleviate—if not totally eliminate—issues with communication, collaboration and compliance.

1. Cloud-Based Management Solutions

Instead of sitting at a desk with a laptop, construction professionals want software they can access directly from a mobile device or tablet. But they also want to update work orders, track project schedules, perform time entry and generate reports—all from the field. To increase project efficiency and accountability, best-in-class companies are utilizing a cloud-based management solution to streamline project communication and documentation.

Cloud-based management solutions document subcontractor work, budgets, payment information and more. Users can monitor the expiration dates of insurance certificates, manage subcontract change orders, eliminate double paying and double billing. The Sage Group plc is a leader in this space, offering multiple packages, including Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

2. Instant Communication Tools

Whether you are building a one-story house or a massive skyscraper, communication is critical. Instant communication tools allow an entire project team—from foreman to project manager—to quickly locate the latest project drawings and information, simplifying jobsite coordination and preventing miscommunication, all in real time.

One such tool, Fieldwire, can help iOS, Android and Windows 10 users streamline project communication and documentation via instant messaging, punch-list tracking, construction scheduling and document management in one convenient app.

3. Positioning Technology

When you are building a large structure, an error of just one inch can cause serious problems. New positioning tools allow you to plot foundations and map out plans on the ground with extreme precision. Integrated hardware and field software make it easy to place footings, retaining walls, formwork, grading and more.

Trimble is at the forefront of these new technologies and offers general construction, interior and underground mapping tools. General contractors will appreciate Trimble ProjectSight, which provides all-in-one collaboration and planning tools for even the most complex jobsites. For location mapping and planning, the Trimble R8S Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is the ticket to repairing complex mapping problems.

4. Digital Compliance Documentation

Workplace regulations and compliance requirements are continually increasing to ensure ongoing employee safety. A contractor’s safety history is an important factor when awarding contracts, so the ability to effectively document and prove due diligence is critical to your success. With a digital compliance documentation tool, you can print predefined PDF reports as needed and reference past documentation on the go from your mobile device.

You can even take pictures of meetings or incidents and save them to your system in case it is ever questioned in the future. The Safety Meeting App, from Meridian Computing Inc., allows you to quickly document meetings, incidents and safety checklists from a single iOS or Android device.

5. Accounts Payable Automation

One constant in construction is a plethora of bills and payments. Handling this manually quickly becomes a full-time job, even for small companies. For large contractors, accounting may even require an entire department. Modern AP systems use advanced matching and digital payments to automate the AP process. These systems allow businesses to lower processing costs, decrease late payments, capture payment discounts, avoid duplicate payments, and better track the end-to-end process from expense to payment.

AP automation solutions, offered by providers like AvidXchange, take the capture, routing and approval process for an invoice down from 28 days to 2 or 3. Automation eliminates error-prone processes, like data entry, and frees up staff time.