Construction project management and accounting have long been complex, challenging matters that define each individual business, with those that excel reaching the top of the marketplace and those that falter losing ground to the competition. About two decades ago, construction firms did not have a very large range of options when it came to the management of their accounting procedures, budgets, resource planning and more, other than either simple software or manual entry.
Now, there are plenty of management tools out there that can be used in virtually any situation, as well as some that are specifically focused on the construction industry rather than being overly wide-reaching. Thanks to constant refinements to solutions throughout the past 10 years, the most advanced construction project management technology vendors have approached far better functionality, as well as an enhanced ability to customize and personalize the features involved.
In 2016, all signs point to continued growth in the construction sector, both for commercial and residential matters, while state governments have increasingly looked to expand upon their public works projects to repair deteriorating roadways and infrastructure. This bodes well for the economy. BDC Network reported that the Census Bureau recently announced a revision to its previous reports, and that construction spending actually took up 6.1 percent of American gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2015.
What’s more, the source cited the commentary of analysts who believe that the construction industry enjoyed 2.6 percent growth in 2014 compared to 2013, and most are under the assumption that this figure will be higher once the final tallies are released for 2015. To ensure that the highest rate of contracts are acquired in 2016, construction managers will want to focus on internal improvements for their various processes and operational frameworks.
Here are five tips to make 2016 a breakout year:
1. Modernize accounting
There is perhaps no task or process more important to the sustainability, reputation and profitability of a construction firm than accounting, both in terms of administrative and project reporting. Financials can make or break projects, specifically with respect to the accuracy of forecasting and benchmarking, as an inaccurate budget will tend to directly lead to delays in completion or inefficiencies elsewhere. This cannot be a weak point for construction firms in 2016.
Enriched, automated processes can work to reduce the risk of errors in data entry and general accounting management, while cloud-based solutions can give project managers the relevant insights in real time to improve decision-making. Leverage construction project accounting software that can act as a single point of truth for all managers, administrators, leaders and others across departments.
2. Focus on innovation
International Data Corporation recently estimated that about 40 percent of executives involved in general lines of business believe that their chief information officers are truly the leaders of innovation. Considering the fact that organizations have had to quickly and seamlessly adapt to an ever-changing landscape in construction and beyond, it is important for decision-makers in the C-suite to take a more innovative approach to their responsibilities.
This will not be a straightforward objective when the business does not have plenty of management solutions in place, as well as accurate reports and analytics tools, to help them navigate the relatively complex waters of oversight. With a strong construction management solution in place, this can be a far more simplistic and efficient process, enabling more innovative thinking and action among leaders than ever before.
3. Go mobile
Many construction firms have yet to bring their management and enablement processes into mobile territories, and this represents a relatively large missed opportunity. This is not to say that the deployment of non-mobile solutions are pointless, but rather that construction firms have so much riding on field operations and processes that not providing access to core systems can prevent the organization from reaching optimal performances across the board.
Should a construction management solution already be in place in the business, going mobile might be an option offered by the service provider, while newer tools will come with the opportunity to do so right from the start. Enable mobile access to construction project management solutions and systems for leaders and other staff members in the field and these individuals will be more likely to drive maximum productivity and efficiency in 2016.
4. Get a handle on content
Content management is a critical aspect of business operations in every industry today, but with all of the actionable data flowing through construction systems today, these firms should be especially vigilant in their handling of these matters. When content management is not handled properly, the chances of projects running into issues and setbacks, as well as poor administrative oversight of the construction firm at large, will be inherently higher.
On the flip side, optimal content management can help to empower leaders in the construction firm, as well as all of the employees therein, as access will be smooth, insights will be derived and decision-making will be better-informed at all times. With a solution that acts as a single point of truth for the organization, content management can reach the next level of functionality and performance.
5. Ace enterprise resource planning
Perhaps no matter is more important to the success of project completion than resource planning. Should construction project managers fail to plan properly, resources can run out before the job is done, meaning either a failure or setbacks that keep the company from timely completion. With the heavy increases in competition for contracts seen across a range of construction sub-segments, this can quickly translate to poor financial performances.
ERP should be a high priority for all construction leaders this year, and leveraging the right solutions can help to automate and streamline the various tasks involved, leading to more accurate insights. When ERP has been optimized, construction businesses will be better-positioned to excel in their respective marketplaces and avoid a range of common disruptions in the process.