Connected Construction is not a new term. For a couple of years now, think tanks like Delloite and other publications and solutions providers have used the term to describe a gamut of ways construction companies can leverage technology to address their biggest challenges. From preventing costly delays to minimizing cost overruns, it is known that technology can help better manage construction projects and help companies of any size gear up for growth.
Managing engineering and construction projects are known to be complex and difficult. This is, in part, because there are many moving parts (general/EPC contractors, developers/owners, fit-out contractors, and other trades, suppliers, equipment, labor, and supply chains) to synchronize. Doing this well is almost impossible if your company is still stuck with manual processes. Much worse than this headache for management teams, companies face constant disappointment from customers because of delays and budget overruns. This, in turn, affects profit margins and the eventual growth of construction companies. Even with some tech solutions in place, the more technologically-advanced construction companies use several point solutions that are disjointed and end up reaping just minimal benefits from going digital.
What is Connected Construction, Anyway?
Connected Construction is another way of saying digital transformation for the construction industry. While digital transformation is another business/IT jargon that has a myriad of interpretations/definitions, the Steer team has created a very simple conceptual framework to help leaders identify how to go about achieving it. The benefits of Connected Construction are all found here, and the different features/solutions that can help you achieve it are found here so we won’t dwell on those anymore.
Connected Construction is about aligning various aspects of your construction activities, stakeholders, and systems in one place. We’d like to emphasize “one place” because as mentioned, a lot of companies employ “patchwork digital transformation” where they cobble together (and unsuccessfully do so) different systems to make sense of everything that happens in a construction project. And this is exactly where a next-generation construction management software like Steer comes in.
Connected Construction is about synchronizing activities, stakeholders, and systems in a construction project
Managing construction projects properly is a multi-faceted endeavor that goes beyond digitizing paperwork and monitoring each aspect of construction. It involves “connecting the dots” across the entire project lifecycle. This means being able to establish how each task (planned or unplanned) can lead to variances in your project’s cost and timeline, which cannot be established by any point solution alone.
Steer offers 6 key modules that cover the entire construction phase of any project: Materials Procurement & Usage Tracking, Field Work & Schedule Monitoring, Design Coordination, Change Order Management, Labor & Equipment Management, and Quality & Safety Management. Unlike other construction management software, Steer is able to correlate these different activities and empower management teams with the information they need to manage projects better.
Visibility is very important in construction projects, and it’s not limited to one organization - general/EPC contractors, developers/owners, and fit-out contractors all need up-to-date information accessible anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Any challenges in decision-making can lead to costly delays and rework that affect all stakeholders.
With Steer, you get easy access via web browser, tablet, or mobile phone for all stakeholders. In addition to accessing real-time project progress information, Steer also enables paperless approvals. This spans from approving scheduled/ad-hoc material orders to approving change orders after assessing their potential impacts on timelines and budgets, to closing out punch or snag list items. Through reports, Steer also empowers management teams to proactively address issues and potentially prevent them in current and future projects.
As mentioned earlier, it’s not enough for construction companies to invest in software solutions and call it a day. These solutions need to “talk to each other” because the information from one aspect of construction is needed in another aspect in order to efficiently manage construction projects. This is where the third and last piece of the Connected Construction framework comes in.
Oftentimes, construction companies’ IT departments are unable to properly integrate different systems together, leading to the failure of digital transformation initiatives. With Steer, integrating its built-in solutions with existing systems can be a breeze. This saves a lot of time and effort for administrative staff to manually transfer data from one system to another, not to mention it avoids the error-prone manual entry of data. And lastly, this helps companies maximize their initial investments in software. We won’t go much into detail about how systems are integrated with Steer, but you can book a demo and have our customer success team walk you through how integration can be easily done with Steer.
The ultimate goal of Connected Construction is to connect everything in a single platform and have a seamless experience running your construction business. It’s time to stop patching solutions together and deal with things falling through the cracks on a daily basis. Just remember: whether you use Steer or another construction management software, make sure that you use this framework and make sure that your bases are properly covered if you want to truly achieve Connected Construction for your company.
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