Contractors are no strangers to challenges and risks involved with construction projects. Often, the general population takes for granted how much goes on within a construction company and only see the top layer of the building, the layer that is visible with the building they are visiting, a restaurant, a museum, etc. Some people outside our industry sometimes even go as far as stereotyping members of our profession as stodgy-old contractors incapable of using technology. Being a provider of construction technology solutions offers a unique perspective that comes with the unique benefit that results in tremendous appreciation and admiration for the men and women of this great industry and the accomplishments which occur daily.
We know as well as any group of construction industry professionals that contractors are far from inept with technology. The sophistication, trade skills, pride in craftsmanship, commitment to construction quality and safety, and having the passion to persevere through countless challenges are the cornerstone of any elite construction firm. As the boundaries of excellence continue to stretch, elite contractors understand the importance of capturing and leveraging data. Notice, we did not say historical reports! Data is not only important; it is a significant competitive advantage for contractors who seek to tap into the benefits of having a better understanding of a given process within a construction operation.
At PeerAssist, we have developed several software solutions for our customers. Data management is core to who we are and helping contractors move on from manual and outdated processes is not only a satisfying accomplishment, we know it’s just a step towards unleashing a team’s potential to make better, more informed, and “predictable” decisions that positively impacts their organization. As construction technology professionals, we are not talking solely about business intelligence with more informative “historical reports”, but rather on being able to better understand business processes within the construction operations to identify gaps that leak profit, consume unnecessary time, and pose a risk to an organization. Elite contractors have a clear understanding of how important an additional two to three percent of profit can be to the organization, whether it be during a tough stretch on a project or during an unfortunate economic downturn. The industry’s top builders understand that actionable data is much more meaningful and valuable to the future of a contractor’s operation than to simply be drowning in data that is buried within reports that gets reviewed too late, or possibly never!
A recent analysis with a PeerAssist customer shined a refreshing and proud light on this aspect of how important “intelligible data” is to a construction firm. The contractor we worked with knew their process was far too labor intensive, delivered information late to executives and project leaders who needed that information in a timely manner to have been able to make better decisions that could have been leveraged to positively impact a project and in turn, the organization. The problem here is being able to quantify the impact involved with not having the information needed to make better decisions as a contractor evaluates whether to invest in technology. Often, people are consumed with other projects or daily duties that prevent them from having the time necessary to ask, “what if we did it differently” or “why do we continue to have to do it the slow and outdated way just because that is how we’ve always done it”? How many times are key opportunities missed because a stakeholder was afraid to push through the barrier or a vendor did not demonstrate the predictable impact for the customer?
There is a fine line between a safe-bet and courage, not to be confused with being reckless. This contractor had the passion and desire to break through the barriers that limit operational efficiency in many contractors throughout the industry. They did not know the full extent of “the magnitude of the impact held for their organization” and instead formally quantified the impact after transforming a heavily manual, paper-based, and outdated process with a digital solution that collected real-time data in the field and presented information in ways that decision-makers were now able to take action on the data and understand where their process could be improved. Additionally, they learned how and where they had opportunities to maximize profits on every project they do as well as streamline a once time-consuming process. What the contractor lacked in statistical data before the implementation was more than countered with courage, passion, and the belief that data is king! They had the courage to push through the boundaries that many of us self-impose upon our organizations and sometimes get stuck in a rut and forget to challenge the status quo. An elite contractor having the courage to achieve excellence combined with an understanding of capturing and leveraging meaningful data makes for an incredible combination that continues to push our industry forward. So much for the men and women of this great industry being stodgy-old contractors!