The challenges of running a construction company are well known. From dealing with tight profit margins, short project timelines and equipment issues, along with an abundance of complex logistics daily, it can be extremely difficult to manage. Not to mention the ever-shrinking workforce the construction industry has been dealing with, further amplifying these issues. Many owners and their teams try to deal with this mountain of information manually, taking their attention and focus away from other important facets of the business.
Fortunately, a solution exists that more businesses are implementing into their budgets. Construction operations software has been on a steady incline, accounting for a variety of improvements in daily processes, including equipment and asset tracking, crew and equipment scheduling, equipment maintenance, and much more.
Here are eight reasons why you should invest in construction operations software — and one reason you shouldn’t.
Why You Should Invest in Construction Operations Software
1. Faster Equipment Tracking
Knowing your equipment location is essential for time and cost savings in a construction business. With so many projects, it is extremely difficult for owners and managers to know exactly where their equipment is located. Trying to remember or track this manually takes the focus away from more important tasks. Why try to remember all these locations when there are systems that automate this process?
Modern software solutions allow for the user to manually move equipment locations or, if a machine is telematics-enabled, to move it automatically. These systems allow construction professionals to have a backbone to rely upon when trying to locate equipment, in turn creating accountability for employees. Instead of frantically calling a vast number of employees to locate equipment, managers can know exactly where that piece of equipment was last used — and who logged the info. Knowing where your assets are is critical to operational efficiency.
2. Efficient Equipment Dispatching
Moving equipment to where it’s needed is a simple task by itself. Unfortunately, it has grown more complicated because things change rapidly in the industry. Constant calls or texts between drivers and dispatchers are often overwhelming for both parties. This results in confusion about where equipment is located and where it should be going.
There are many software solutions available to solve this problem. Companies have options that range from simple and easy-to-use, to in-depth and detailed dispatching/routing software. Electronic dispatch tickets provide a historical log that companies can access anytime they need valuable information regarding a piece of equipment’s whereabouts. Providing accountability for the dispatcher and driver is essential for making sure you’re utilizing best practices.
3. Accessible Third-Party and OEM Telematics Data
Third-party and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) telematics data plays a major role in decision-making for construction companies around the world. Getting insights about idle time and equipment utilization can help add thousands of dollars to your bottom line. The issue is that much of this information is difficult to access in real time.
A variety of operations software now have integrations with third-party and OEM telematics. This allows users to review all available telematics data in one place without logging into multiple websites or apps. This information is critical for informing decisions about equipment maintenance and plans for future use.
4. Digital Maintenance Information
Instead of spreadsheet-based tracking methods, operations software enables construction companies to update maintenance schedules, service history and upcoming maintenance requirements for each piece of equipment in real time. This centralized approach helps avoid missed maintenance tasks and ensures timely servicing.
Digitized preventive maintenance (PM) has helped companies become more prepared to stop issues before they happen. Keeping track of PM is essential for optimal machine performance and saving costs by avoiding expensive repairs. Software systems allow companies to set up PM schedules so users will become notified when a piece of equipment is due for a round of maintenance — a small price to pay for large savings.
5. Electronic Equipment Inspection Forms
Paper equipment inspections forms are subject to not being filled out or turned in properly because of their tedious nature. Whereas electronic forms make it simple to fill in and submit required information. Equipment managers are automatically informed of what’s happening within their fleet. This allows them to deal with actionable items before they become an issue. The most important factor is getting adoption from field employees; therefore, the forms need to be readily accessible and easy to submit.
6. Modern Employee Scheduling
Directing crews and individuals to the correct site is a complicated task for schedulers. Crew members have preferences: co-workers they operate well with, sites that are close in proximity to their home, the number of hours they want, project types and countless others. This is hard to keep track of without an efficient system in place.
Modern crew scheduling can now be done digitally, so employees’ and subcontractors’ information is entered into the system and schedulers can assign employees based upon preferences to different jobs. Automated scheduling is beneficial because fieldworkers are notified about scheduling changes and other important site info. This eliminates an overwhelming number of calls made to the scheduler about minute details, giving clarity to both parties.
7. Easier Project Documentation
Project managers need to know what is happening on a site without being there. Being informed about this information without having to check up on individual sites is important. Operations software can provide that clarity. By allowing field employees the ability to upload photos, documents and other forms, managers can be informed about their sites.
8. Improved Safety Measures
Safety is a principal factor on a construction site. The standard is set high by safety regulators, insurers and companies to ensure that nobody is injured, and best practices are put in place. These safety compliance regulations are vast, and at times, not being followed to the proper standards.
Construction software keeps track of electronic project safety forms (near-miss, inspections, incidents, etc.) that foremen can easily find and submit, instead of searching through countless paper forms. Foremen also have the ability to schedule and manage their toolbox talks, informing workers about safety measures and situations that can occur.
Why You Shouldn’t Invest in Construction Operations Software
1. Don’t Expect Software Alone to Solve Your Problems
While construction operations software has been extremely important in revolutionizing construction workflows, it is not a necessity for every company. Companies that are smaller in scale, with only a few pieces of equipment and personnel, have other more cost-efficient solutions. Spreadsheets are a perfectly fine way to manage your assets and employees if there is a limited number of them and the number of active projects is low.
If your company doesn’t have any built-out systems, then operations software won’t magically fix your workflow. You need to have already created and tried using a system like paper forms or spreadsheets to better manage your processes. Software will not fix poor management decisions or change company culture alone; your workforce and team must push for improvements on existing systems prior to researching software solutions.
Construction operations software has helped countless construction companies streamline their operational processes, ensuring efficient and profitable completion of projects. Owners have seen more profitability, improved operational organization and strategy, seamless workflows, and an overall increase in the availability of real-time insights that inform decision making at all levels. Operations software provides your company with the ability to do more with what you have now.
These benefits are great in the grand scheme of things, but it is also important to note that it needs to be the right situation for the right company. Conducting research on a variety of software solutions is essential to picking the right provider. While the information above is true for most solutions, companies provide different functional benefits in unique ways.