Be More Productive: Don't Let the Details Drown Your Dreams of Growing Your Business

The potential impact of productivity on the growth of your construction company cannot be underestimated. A study by Autodesk[1] suggests that as many as 45% of construction professionals report spending more time than non-optimal activities. Another report by the McKinsey Global Institute[2] suggests that as much as $1.63 trillion could be saved by productivity changes. Managers and supervisors need to ensure that their time is being spent on activities that are adding value to the organization.

There are numerous issues that the modern-day construction company must grapple with. The study by Autodesk also suggests that 35% of construction professionals’ time is spent (over 14 hours per week) on non-productive activities including looking for project information, conflict resolution, and dealing with mistakes and rework. By relying on emails, messages, and shared Excel sheets companies make it extremely difficult for the key stakeholders to be in control of the various factors which might define project success. The result – a significant decline in productivity and time spent on managing non-value-added tasks, which has a direct impact on scalability and growth.

But before we delve further into how your organization can enhance productivity, let's understand how this lack of productivity in the organization might impact the growth and profitability of your organization.

Challenges Arising from the Lack of Productivity

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  • Inability to scale business and manage properly - The biggest challenge with the lack of productivity in your construction business is the inability to scale and manage the business properly. If you have an active construction project on one or two sites, keeping track of the activities and coordinating in case of escalations might be easier. However, if there are multiple job sites, effectively managing projects becomes a massive challenge. Using spreadsheets or emails/ messages is an ineffective way to manage things. Inevitably, there would be innumerable loose ends and the teams would be struggling to get a tighter grip on the activities on the various job sites. If your company is looking to scale and ensure that you have processes and systems in place to assure that key people always stay productive and on top of everything that’s happening across all your job sites.
  • Requiring physical presence on job sites - One of the most ineffective uses of the manager's time is when he would have to physically be present on the job sites to manage all that’s happening, especially if he is responsible for the deliverables across multiple job sites. Not just is this practice unproductive and unnecessary, but it ensures that he would often be bogged down with the minute details, rather than focusing on metrics and KPIs which he should be monitoring to track the health of various projects. As your company looks to scale and grow, requiring physical presence on job sites should be discouraged.
  • Lower visibility and not being in control of multiple projects - One of the key challenges with a manual approach to managing construction projects is the inherent lack of visibility. Managers and CEOs in head offices do not have visibility on how projects across their job sites are progressing, the challenges that they are facing, and whether they are on track for a timely delivery. This lower visibility ensures that executives are not in control of multiple projects, which often results in cost overruns or delays.

Fit-Out-ContractorsStaying informed and in control will help organizations better organize factors critical to the success of the construction project so that you and your team can make timely interventions to ensure the success of the construction projects across the job sites. But it’s easier said than done – for an organization that is looking to grow and scale operations, how do you ensure that your teams stay productive and in control of all that is happening across job sites.

A construction management platform like Steer enables your organization to gain full visibility of construction activities, tightly monitor schedules, enable on-demand and remote inspections, and minimize project risks. By taking a holistic approach to construction management, Steer can synchronize various aspects of construction, its stakeholders, and existing systems.

The following are some of the relevant features of Steer Platform which ensure that your construction teams always remain in control of all that’s happening across the various job sites:

  • Activity Feed - A social media-like news-feed feature of the Steer Platform ensures that anyone can share updates in real-time on the newsfeed to share the progress of activities on the job sites. Completed a milestone on your project and feel like celebrating with your team – just share it on the activity feed. What’s more – the hashtag ‘#’ feature ensures that items with similar hashtags could be aggregated and reflected on the daily reports.
  • Mobile/Tablet App - The ability to manage your construction projects wherever you can be enabled by applications on your mobile and tablet. Whether in transit or on a holiday, the Steer applications would ensure that you have all the key data and approvals at the tap of a click. Notifications would ensure that any important piece of information never goes unnoticed.

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  • Approvals - An entire sequence of activities can get stalled or delayed if the approvals don’t come in time. Using traditional methods for approvals like paper-based forms or emails, it’s possible that an important approval request gets buried under a lot of pending work. This is not likely to happen if a notification pops up on the manager's phone and all he must do is tap a button. By ensuring timely approvals, one can ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in the project.
  • Reports - It’s true that you can’t manage what you can’t measure; Steer’s reporting module ensures that companies are always on top of KPIs and metrics which accurately reflect the health of their projects. This also helps executives take corrective actions on key areas which need to be improved on.
  • Gantt Chart - While many construction companies might already be using MS Project or Primavera for tracking the progress of their individual tasks, Steer has this functionality in-built on the platform itself. While tracking the progress of tasks might be useful, ensuring project management and its impact on other areas of the project would be something that would give managers absolute control of their projects. Are you someone who is already using MS Project or Primavera? Don’t worry, you could already look to import the file and get started on Steer.

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  • Automation - One key aspect of productivity that we ignore is automation – the ability to augment tasks that require human intervention. Steer is built on top of QuickReach, a no-code platform that has an automation layer in-built. This means that logic could be preset into the platform which would not require manual inputs before completing a task. This would ensure a part of the process could already be on autopilot and you would have less to worry about.
  • Integration - One of the biggest challenges which companies face is integration into existing technology systems and infrastructure. Companies often have legacy systems that do not communicate with each other, resulting in data sitting being isolated. Effective use of RPA technologies or bots can ensure that data could communicate between systems. By using bots developed by the platform itself, Steer ensures seamless communication between systems.
  • Portfolio Dashboard - A bird’s eye view of how your portfolio is doing. At the executive management level, this could be extremely critical to get a grasp on how the different construction projects across job sites are doing and what are the key parameters on which executives should be looking to focus their energies on.

A study[3] by the US Chamber of Commerce suggests that as much as 70% of contractors believe that technology can help increase productivity (78%), improve schedule (75%), and enhance safety (79%). By investing in technology platforms that give you a bird’s eye view of the health of your construction projects, you can ensure that you are in control of all that’s happening across your job sites. All the key metrics are tracked and real-time information is available to ensure educated decision making by the executives in charge.

Are you an organization that is looking to grow exponentially? Are you still using traditional and manual methods for managing your construction projects? Would you want to future-proof your business and let data dictate decision-making? Know how Steer can help you here.

Reach out to one of our digital success consultants to take your first step in improving productivity and ensuring scalability for your organization. You can also subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to get more updates. 

 

References:

[1] https://construction.autodesk.com/resources/construction-connected/?pgr=0

[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/infrastructure-productivity

[3] https://www.uschamber.com/infrastructure/usg-us-chamber-of-commerce-commercial-construction-index-2019-q4

Siddharth Wadehra, Head of Partnerships & Research

Sid Wadehra is a seasoned and a result-oriented professional with varied experience spanning geographies from leading multinationals to fast growing start-ups. His industry experience is well-complimented with business education from a global business school. Sid's expertise include digital transformation, corporate strategy, and innovation management.

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