Working in the construction industry requires team members to have exceptional communication and organizational skills. Leading hands, site managers, and project managers alike must be equipped with the tools (and software) necessary to direct efficient and safe construction sites.
Fortunately, in this tech-driven era, several online and digital solutions can be implemented into established workflows. Utilizing digital solutions can enhance team satisfaction, productivity, communication, and optimize overall performance on construction sites. More than 70% of businesses believe that business productivity tools and software help to run their business better, and 97% report that using automated solutions makes employees more effective.
Tools for streamlined communication in construction
The success of organized worksites and efficient project management all boil down to open communication. Establishing a set of key communication tools before commencing projects can benefit all parties involved and decrease costs. The construction sector in the USA alone sees around 56% of total yearly losses due to ineffective communication. Studies show that construction businesses that place emphasis on communication perform five times better than those that didn’t consider it a priority.
One powerful communication tool is the humble SMS. By nature, SMS is direct, concise, and immediate. With over 3 billion people worldwide using smartphones, text messaging is the most efficient way to get messages across to a large group of recipients. Whether you choose SMS or OTT messaging channels such as WhatsApp, instant messaging platforms are the best solution for streamlining communication within the construction industry.
Optimize interactions on-site and off-site with SMS gateway solutions such as:
- Bulk SMS alerts and notifications
- Email to SMS
- Two-way texting
- Keyword and trigger responses
- Dedicated numbers
The concept of instant messaging may seem simplistic. But the flexibility of SMS means it can be used in a range of workflows.
Payment updates and reminders
Whether payments are delayed or on-time, employees must be notified. As a project manager or team leader, you must keep workers informed of their payment status. The ease of SMS means you can send bulk payment updates to large workforces, with the ability to schedule messages to suit your business and employee needs.
Payment reminders via SMS are also an easy way to check-in with clients. You can remind clients of payment terms and due dates ahead of time, or prompt them to resolve outstanding invoices. Through an SMS gateway, you can automate notifications to facilitate timely, recurring pay installments, as well as manually send SMS as needed.
The construction industry employs casual and contract workers to complete projects. This can make employee rostering a tedious and laborious process. Sending rosters via SMS is the best way to ensure employees are aware and up to date with shift times. Unlike printed rosters or online portals, the average person checks their phone around 96 times a day. So, you can rest easy knowing your site workers are across any rostering changes and updates.
Covering shifts is also more manageable with SMS. Text messages have an average response time of just 90 seconds, assuring prompt shift swaps, and shift confirmation. Managers also drastically reduce the number of no shows for any given shift by sending automated shift reminders.
Implementing keywords and trigger responses are also an effective way to automate rostering updates for workers. Employees can text a unique, chosen keyword to a dedicated number or shared shortcode such as ‘41411’, to receive regular scheduling updates.
With 49% of workers opening emails only every few hours, email may not be the most efficient messaging system. However, it does provide a platform for longer forms of communication. Perfect for reinforcing announcements or updates that may be first conveyed via SMS for timeliness. Given its delayed opening time, they should be reserved for more formal communication that needs more context, rather than messages requiring timely action.
Best practice for email communication:
- Emphasizing key announcements
- Issuing of formal warnings
- Sending formal documents, such as payslips or invoices
Construction management apps
Construction management software makes business process coordination between contractors, builders, and project managers structured and coherent. As is the case for most industries, collaboration is vital for optimum workflow. Everyone must work together to ensure the project is running on time, within budget, and meets essential targets upon completion.
Achieving the kind of consistency that generates such project success can be challenging. Managing a team, payment runs, project timelines, stakeholder communication, organizing shipments and deliveries, and resolving issues all take time, resources, and hard work. On a construction site, teams and leaders alike can benefit from digital project management solutions to enhance in overall organization and cohesiveness. The use of project management software has been shown to improve performance, with 77% of high performing projects having used project management software, according to PWC.
Guarantee success with powerful project management applications:
BuilderTrend is one of the best additions to a project manager’s toolkit. Both a management software and app, BuilderTrend provides optimal business processing for daily tasks. The software also provides seamless integration with a variety of popular platforms, such as Google Calendar, Quickbooks, and Xero. So all of your essential tools can be accessed and managed in one place.
The BuilderTrend mobile app means you can receive real-time updates on the go. Instantly notify stakeholders via the app, create employee checklists, and easily change orders with the power of electronic signature.
In-app features include:
- Construction project planning
- Pre-sales processes such as bid requests, proposals, email marketing, and lead capturing
- Cost estimating and online payment processing
- Customer management
- Subcontractor scheduling
Fieldlens make construction sites more productive by connecting you to daily progress reports and on-site discussions in real-time. Gone are the days of physical documentation, reporting, and note-taking. Fieldlens aims to give project managers the ability to gather field data, have remote project oversight, and resolve issues all through the app. Fieldlens is the easiest way to capture everything happening on-site for better accountability, resource tracking, collaboration, and robust reporting. The app allows you to take notes, and snap photos and videos to post straight to the project dashboard.
Fieldlens gives you the ability to:
- Markup photos of any issues or safety concerns
- Pin conversations to relevant site plans for better overview
- Quickly review work for optimal decision making
- Generate detailed reporting from daily postings
GoCanvas speeds up the process of collecting and using data, helping to save time and money. GoCanvas’ construction, repair, and improvement forms and apps are useful for a number of admin tasks, such as:
- Construction contract form drafting
- Filling out property assessment forms
- Managing building inspection checklists
- Contractor time tracking
- Customized PDF reporting
Create your own form or use their pre-built templates to customize your data gathering. If data has previously been entered, GoCanvas’ Smart Fields will pre-populate relevant sections. Once a form has been filled out, automated emails are sent to relevant parties—from customers to other team members, or forwarded to other integrated systems.
Handle’s software enhances current workflows by automating time-consuming manual work. It is the construction industry’s answer to cost-effective payment solutions. The software protects and manages your cash flow by utilizing notifications for deadline management and in-depth credit reporting. The construction-specific credit scores mean you know exactly who you are working with, and any likelihood of poor payment performance. Their credit reporting also generates recommendations for the amount of trade credit you should extend to a specific contractor.
Any existing account management software can be integrated with Handle to amplify your current accounting processes and decrease unpaid and at-risk invoices.
Key benefits of Handle include:
- Accurate data capturing
- Instant owner verification
- Documentation to ensure legal compliance
- Electronic signatures
TimeCamp is your one-stop tracking app for time management, budgeting, and location verification. TimeCamp aims to reduce the hours wasted in a day that can occur without appropriate task management and timekeeping. While highly useful for project managers, TimeCamp is also beneficial to each team member, so that individuals can be accountable for their time spent on certain tasks.
TimeCamp can be integrated with several other project management software such as Smartsheet, Basecamp, Slack, and Quickbooks. Project managers can easily merge their preferred platforms into one while also tracking the amount of time spent on any application.
Regardless of location or time-zone, project managers can get a snapshot of what time their workers clocked in, where they clocked in, and what tasks they are carrying out.
TimeCamp’s computer and mobile app facilitate:
- Attendance and absence analysis
- Start and finish time analysis
- Timesheet approvals
- Weekly email summaries
- Location tracking via GPS
- Auto-filled invoices with timesheet data
Productivity, organization, reporting, and communication are key for ideal construction site management. But it would be unreasonable to think this could be achieved easily without the support of digital solutions and flexible communication tools. By enhancing existing systems or even introducing new workflows, these solutions allow project managers and their team members to work more harmoniously and efficiently.
This is a guest post from Gracyn, a content writer at SMSGlobal, where she works in the digital marketing team.