This is a guest post from our friends at Geniebelt.
Construction is a very complex business. A vast number of stakeholders need to work together in order to deliver a project on budget and on time.
In that sense, the building process is many times like a jigsaw puzzle. All pieces need to be placed at the right spot before you can reach to a successful outcome. However, given the lack of trust in contractual relations and the fragmentation of the supply chain, this task is far from easy.
The good news is that the rise of digital technologies is acting as a catalyst of change for the industry– it’s helping people both on the field and the office to start working smarter and much more efficiently.
That is extremely important if we take into account that the slightest delay in a task may have a negative impact on the 3-6 week plan and delay the entire construction process.
For instance, a subcontractor might need to go back and forth to a construction site 20 times before they get to complete their tasks as a result of an unforeseen delay or change. It goes without saying that things can get even more chaotic when there are multiple projects running at the same time.
Such cases are much more common than may think and highlight why the digital transformation of the industry should be perceived as a priority. Of course, this is an exceptionally long journey as construction needs to reinvent itself and knock down systems and processes that have been part of the daily working routine on site for decades.
In other words, the biggest enemy for this paradigm shift in the sector is the power of habit. Below, we present five ways in which an organization in construction can improve efficiency across multiple projects and ensure that all tasks are running on schedule and with no budget overruns:
1. Keep your processes standardized
Standardization is consistently gaining more traction in the course of the last years and goes hand in hand with the rapid development of modularization and prefabrication. Typically, standardization is considered as a step that an organization takes after the implementation of a digital solution.
Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you streamline all your processes before you adopt a new digital tool. That might sound confusing but it will actually help a lot with increasing efficiency both on the boardroom and the field for a number of reasons.
First of all, it will help your team map out in detail the sources of pain for your project. By identifying your needs, you can look to the right place in the market for the digital tools like project management software that will transform the way you collaborate and work on your projects.
On top of that, standardization will add a substantial element to your building process. That is predictability. By replicating the same processes again and again your team can work faster with fewer mistakes and better coordination.
Lastly, thanks to this approach of repetition you can locate the areas where there is room for improvement and push your team to achieve excellence in terms of design, planning, execution and maintenance.
2. Choose the right software
We already referred above to the importance of standardization in choosing the right digital tool for your construction projects. The selection of the right solution can play a decisive role in improving the on-field performance of your team.
Before you choose a particular software, you want to make sure that you have studied and analyzed the existing systems and processes. In that manner, you can see where there is room for improvement and what type of support you should provide to your team.
This may vary from project to project, but there are some core tasks and procedures that should always be addressed (eg. site-to-office communication, snagging, planning etc).
Regardless of the type of solution that you decide to go with in the end, there is one element that should be available no matter what. You need a tool (or tools) that is able to interact. Simply put, a tool that can connect with other digital solutions (through integrations for example) and will help your team to exchange in real time crucial updates and information across projects or even across organizations sometimes.
Such an approach will decrease the waiting period from task to task and will provide a great boost to your construction project.
3. Focus on implementation and training
Standardizing your processes and purchasing a digital solution is great but it won’t get you that far if you don’t focus on implementation and onboarding. A common mistake that many organizations do is rolling out to the entire company really fast adding more confusion to their already stressed teams.
Ideally, you should start this fundamental project small focusing on a particular project and assigning clear roles to the task force that will be responsible for using the new solution. This will allow them to test the new tool in a real project without risking the progress of the project.
As soon as you start seeing the benefits of this implementation, it’s time to roll out to the rest of the business and start measuring the results of this decision. Ideally, your team should start working more efficiently and addressing the problems that led to the purchase of that software in the first place.
Training is another area you want to focus. Hold detailed sessions for the entire project squad in order for them to become familiar with the new tools and processes. The faster they assimilate the new status quo the better the results you will witness.
4. Learn from the data
It is no secret that this quest for more efficient boardrooms and construction sites is never over. For that reason, you need to continuously monitor how the project develops and act when necessary based on the information that you have.
The construction industry is one of the industries that produce the largest amount of data on a global scale but it still struggles with taking good care of these valuable beats of information.
If analyzed properly, data can help the project team redesign the areas of the project where a change is required and predict (thanks to historical data) problematic situations before they even emerge.
More important, it can provide a unique overview across projects allowing you to know which projects proceed smoothly and which require further attention. This prioritization across projects based on performance can be a game changer for your organization in terms of efficiency.
5. Bring the right people to your team
Last but certainly not least, you want to pay extra attention to the team that you are putting together before a construction project even begins. The construction industry is currently, battling against one of the most serious labour skills shortages in history.
It is of paramount importance, then, that you recruit and retain the right people for the right positions. Every project should be seen as a great opportunity to attract an ambitious and digital-oriented workforce which will become your most valuable ally in succeeding in your digital transformation journey.
In general, the members of your team are always the biggest assets for your projects and in that aspect you need people with great experience in similar projects or at least individuals who are eager to learn, evolve and help you revolutionize the industry.
All in all, it easily becomes clear that improving construction efficiency across all your projects is a very broad and complicated project as it depends on a number of different parameters.
The advent of digital solutions has already started to have a substantial impact on this process as it paves the way for new ways of collaboration, planning and project monitoring in the construction industry.
About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is Content Marketing Manager at LetsBuild, the end-to-end digital platform for the construction phase.
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