As co-founder of one of the most valuable companies in the world, Bill Gates knows a thing or two about efficiency. He has just two rules when it comes to technology and streamlining:
Rule #1: “Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.”
Rule #2: “Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Put simply, technology can’t fix bad procedures. This isn’t meant to dissuade construction firms from investing in new technology. On the contrary, Gates’ rules simply emphasize the importance of maximizing the benefits of technology, instead of using it to perfect obsolete tasks. When optimized, software has the power to increase productivity, reduce risk and allow companies to grow.
If you’re starting to explore new construction software, now is the perfect time to take stock of company-wide workflows and determine where you need an overhaul. Think of it as an opportunity to optimize the way you do everything. After all, digital transformation is more than just the swapping of tools, it involves re-engineering entire processes.
Here are 3 ways to make sure that your digital transformation will make operations more efficient for years to come.
Stop Looking for Fast Solutions to Deep Problems
Over the years, we’ve seen lots of firms looking for out-of-the-box solutions that they can implement within hours. They’re not interested in systemic change. Instead, they want cheap and easy software that will solve only their most urgent concerns. Thankfully, we’ve convinced many of these firms that quick and easy is the not the path to long-term growth.
Fast solutions just don’t have the level of functionality that most construction firms need. Some firms try to make up for this by stitching together multiple apps, a process that just adds more complexity to operations that are already falling behind.
Investing in powerful software for all your operational needs will make your life easier in the long run. Granted, it will take longer to train your staff and switch-over to the new solution. But the benefits of investing in deep change multiply over time.
Focus on Improving Communication
According to ENR, 80% of readers surveyed who are involved in purchasing IT tools said that what they needed most from technology is interconnectivity. Why? Because interconnectivity means better communication.
Not too long ago, e-mail was the go-to tech tool for staying connected and communicating with colleagues. But times are changing. Today, businesses are finding that tracking communication through email is messy and time consuming. Email is also disorganized. Sometimes, to find the information you need, you have to search through a thread of 20 or more emails. Finally, email gets employees in the habit of waiting for information instead of finding what they need to do their job.
ERP platforms made for the construction industry have collaborative tools that improve communication. These tools organize conversations for easy searching, standardize workflows and provide all team members with access to a single database for finding the materials they need to complete a task.
While these benefits are impressive, they’re useless if you can’t move employees away from inefficient methods of communication. When implementing a new tech solution for facilitating collaboration, make sure to train employees to get the most from the software. It also can’t hurt to provide a little incentive and find a couple of employees to act as ambassadors for the new tool.
Learn to Sweat the Small Stuff
With many moving parts and lots of tiny details, it can be difficult to spot inefficiencies within construction projects. On a small scale, little inefficiencies — a couple of minutes wasted on an unnecessary task, an extra small expense, one additional step added to a workflow — are no big deal.
But as a company begins to grow, wasted time and money accumulates. When profits are rising, it’s easy to ignore the extra costs. It’s only when business declines that leaders realize they need to find ways to cut costs.
Pay attention to every cog in the machine and learn to spot even the smallest inefficiency. By sweating the small stuff, you’ll free up time, energy and money to take care of the larger issues.
Investing in advanced ERP technology, like CMiC’s unified platform, can help construction firms perform an efficiency overhaul that will transform their operations in ways that are long-lasting and profitable. Ready to start delving into the details? Find out exactly how much time your firm is wasting on basic accounting procedures.