We all know how labor-intensive and time-consuming operations tend to be in the EPC world. We also know how vulnerable they are to human error given the scale and the scope for confusion. In the quest to find little fixes to big problems, organizations are sometimes inclined to turn to point solutions, unconnected, stand-alone software that has only one purpose. In the EPC space, we see a plethora of these point solutions that claim to cater to the needs of timekeeping, inventory management, resource scheduling solutions, payroll, etc.
At the superficial level, the application of such point solutions seems reasonable. These, often free or inexpensive, apps downloaded from the internet seem to be easy-to-use and easy enough to roll out. All it takes is a download from the app store. However, just a scratch below the surface shows just how inadequate they are for any specialized task within the complex EPC environment.
As is apparent, the EPC operation runs the risk of getting swamped in point solutions that don’t play well with each other. They fail to integrate data across multiple independent systems. Over time, this only serves to fragment the EPC processes into separate silos — making operations fragile, slow, error-prone, and costly.
Imagine being tasked to coordinate the payroll of several workers while driving hiring in a facility and simultaneously updating the timesheets for all personnel involved. That works fine when that facility has its own well-defined interconnected payroll system, HRIS, applicant tracking system, etc.
But what would happen if you were to manage through a collection of standalone point solutions, all of which are incompatible? You’d have to maintain multiple databases, information could only be collated manually, data quality would be questionable, and most importantly, the time spent making these processes work would be longer than it needs to be. Your project closures would be unmanageable beasts and your payroll would run the real risk of falling short of Union and Certified guidelines.
A project is only as good as its weakest link. And while the plug-and-play software you’ve employed for maintaining your construction Daily Log might theoretically seem like the first easy step on the migration towards a paperless, digital workflow, the reality remains saturated with hassles.
Indeed, a Daily Log App Isn’t Enough
In the EPC industry, the inability to adequately integrate data across multiple independent systems increases the susceptibility to human error, vulnerability to non-compliance, and inefficiency at managing projects.
But what does this integration actually entail?
The ability to obtain real-time status updates
The cornerstone of any integration is data exchange. Be it within an organization or across them, the movement of information without any lag is the goal. For example, when you integrate with a safety system, the data that comes in should automatically be updated on your inventory program. The same holds true with construction asset management, project management, payroll, or other departments using independent software. If there are any extra steps that need to be taken to access data, you have an integration problem.
Common data elements
When you can tie all of your systems together through a common thread, you can make it significantly easier to manage the project from all aspects. A good example is the inclusion of common data elements such as warranties, service dates, spare parts availability for various products, etc.
And, how is an off the shelf daily log app not enough?
1. It doesn’t integrate with inventory systems
Without integration with inventory systems, you can’t track materials and equipment in transit. All you have is a list of documents that needs to be manually collated, leading to delays and costing you lost time and resources.
2. It doesn’t integrate with HRIS
Without integration to an HRIS, you can’t accurately track labor costs and labor hours. This can make it hard for you to plan a budget for future projects or define the financial performance of the current project.
3. It doesn’t integrate with safety solutions
In concrete terms, you can’t track incidents, injuries, and maintenance-related activities. You can’t ensure that your employees are working safely and without any potential health risks. Your construction daily reports from your jobsites should push this information directly to the managers who need to see it, without them asking for it.
4. It doesn’t deal with dynamic data
Without integration to a dynamic data storage platform, you can forget about efficiently managing your inventory. All you have is a cumbersome list of manuals, which is matched to the paper trail only when the equipment arrives or leaves.
McKinsey’s analysts outline that the inability “to continually track and grapple with all the data a project generates” results in an “incomplete picture of the project’s daily progress” and can “lead to flawed decisions on the ground.”
What’s the Best Way to Deal with Integration Issues?
To deal with integration issues, you must:
- Emphasize transforming data into intelligence before it gets too old to act upon.
- Focus on a daily log app solution that offers a ready path to connecting with an ERP system.
- View the entire project as a cross-functional activity, not as a series of sequential process steps.
Essentially, the only way to realize all these is through a daily log application that enables you to harvest maximum value from your data. The “value” could be:
- The ability to track the project’s progress in multiple dimensions (e.g., equipment scheduling, employee scheduling, safety, etc.)
- The ability to make decisions based on the most current data
- The ability to have all relevant information readily accessible, enabling you to run meetings at the most opportune time
- The ability to automatically consolidate the data to generate reports for better resource planning
- The ability to respond to issues on the fly
- The ability to automate everything (from data entry to reporting)
- The ability to integrate with the applications that are crucial to the project lifecycle (e.g., ERP, accounting software, HVAC control systems, etc.)
Experience a Paradigm Shift with CEM’s Daily Log & Attendance Software
By enabling your daily log to integrate with different applications on a common platform, CEM’s Daily Log & Attendance Software enables you to harness the full potential of your information. You can take 360 degree look into the project’s progress, run meetings on time, streamline quality checks and safety submissions, automate daily routines, and more.
This ensures that your project remains on schedule and on budget. Besides, the tool lets you manage the activities literally anywhere.
It takes more than just an output-driven focus to create a well-rounded EPC software platform. Bridging the data integration gap between systems is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity — one we’re focused on. So, if you’re ready to experience a paradigm shift and drive results unlike never seen before, we invite you to explore our solution. To learn more, get in touch.