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Paper is the Enemy in Construction Projects

The data in construction projects is complex and expansive. It must be correct, consistent, and timely as it flows across multiple participants, teams, stakeholders, and departments.

As construction projects get more fragmented and complex, the the need for appropriate document management capabilities emerges to enable greater productivity, traceability, and better information management. Documents like invoices, financial information, timesheets, etc., are the lifeblood of the construction business.

However, with growing information volumes, paper-based systems will inevitably become barriers to success. Creating, managing, and storing paper-based documents impede velocity and accuracy. They can be exhausting as well as potentially catastrophic.

Research from McKinsey shows that the construction industry is now ripe for disruption. Large projects across asset classes typically take 20% longer to finish than scheduled. They are also up to 80% over budget. Paper-based project planning, contracts, and poor information flow are vital contributors to these inefficiencies.

In that light, improving information and document management capabilities to capture accurate data and create a single source of truth are becoming essential as construction projects become more extensive, fragmented, and complex.

The growing demand for environmentally friendly construction and more sustainable lifecycle management compels the industry to move away from traditional paper-based systems for transparency and compliance.

Here’s a profound elucidation of some of the main reasons to break up with paper-based systems to drive better construction project outcomes.

Manage Payroll and Timekeeping

Managing field operations using paper-based systems is an arduous task. With time cards on paper, tracking hours and payroll can be a nightmare for HR. Ensuring the accuracy of the same with paper-based systems is effort-intensive, time-consuming, and often error-prone.

HR also ends up wasting inordinate time on low-value tasks like tracing and reconciling timecards for payroll. Furthermore, paper-based systems do not allow companies to integrate union rate changes and timesheets into the payroll and billing software, making payroll management and time tracking complex and time-consuming jobs.

Digital timekeeping and payroll solutions, on the other hand, easily bridge this gap. They assist HR departments in construction companies in managing payroll for multiple states and unions without having to re-enter rates, fringes, and dues on a regular basis.

Improve Field Operation Seamlessly

Ensuring proper field information management allows construction companies to make intelligent, timely, and impactful decisions to drive project progress. However, using paper-based systems to log in field operation data isn’t an optimal process.

Capturing every activity of importance from the job site manually on paper can be counter-productive. Again, this is an effort-intensive and time-consuming exercise. We also cannot ignore the chance of human errors or information loss due to misplaced documents.

As it turns out, digital solutions help in managing field operations seamlessly and cover a gamut of activities that elevate productivity without increasing cognitive load. For instance:

  • Tracking timecards and production material, along with monitoring equipment usage, site visitors, and inspections, become easier.
  • Managing safety checklists and inspections on the job site, mapping input crew time or individual timecards with workflow approvals, and keeping track of events such as injuries and weather becomes possible with digital solutions.

Digital solutions enable seamless connectivity of the field operations with the office. They facilitate field agents to serve all the progress from the job site to all the devices in the office, making information flow and managing job site activities simpler.

Manage Project-Related Data Accurately

Construction project information is both complex and data-heavy. Paper-based systems just do not serve the needs of the industry anymore as projects become global, teams become disparate, and operations become global.

Paper-based documents are not only harder to share but also can be lost or destroyed easily. They make it hard to exchange information easily. It is also challenging to create a single source of truth, build transparency and drive compliance accuracy with paper-based documents.

Plus, the entire document must be amended, and all the information must be re-written accurately for every correction. In addition to the tons of paper, companies also have to invest in printers, photocopiers, stationery, and other office supplies and make arrangements to transport documents every time information needs to be exchanged. This makes the information exchange process complicated, slow, and inefficient.

Intuitive construction project management software is now a critical enabler of project success. Such digital solutions manage project-related data accurately and provide complete visibility into every aspect of the project. Mobile app integrations ensure the office can keep the field connected with schedules, checklists, and daily reporting.

With such digital interventions, construction companies can manage budgets, commitments, forecasts, progressive billing, and revenue recognition.

Besides, the engineering and project management teams can seamlessly conduct activities such as planning, scheduling, resource management, task tracking, and completion and ensure that reliable data drive project-related decision-making.

Create a Single Source of Truth

Paper is a major foe of effective document management. It is especially redundant and fragmented in today’s complex, large, and distributed construction projects.

Construction companies can use digital solutions to enable perfect and accessible document storage and sharing. These solutions also enable those operating in the construction industry to create a single information repository that serves as a single source of truth.

Cloud-based construction project management solutions, in particular, help organizations in centralizing  project information in one place. This makes reporting simple and rapid while making it infinitely easier to glean insights from reliable and accurate data.

Digital solutions are also becoming critical as the compliance and regulatory landscape continuously evolves. They enable better safety and incident tracking with comprehensive safety checklists.

Complete and accurate tracking of all project data allows construction companies to stay ahead of any compliance issues before they arise. It also ensures accurate  reporting to the state and federal agencies for certified projects.

Conclusion

Paper is emerging as the enemy of construction projects as it impedes collaboration, is difficult to manage, share and store and hinders easy information flow.

As such, companies must invest in digital solutions that:

  • Simplify information recording and management and create a single source of truth for data
  • Facilitate timely, accurate, and real-time access to data
  • Manage complex tasks like union payroll and certified payroll reporting for federal and state jobs
  • Ensure proper management of all aspects of construction- right from field operations, back office, HR, and payroll.
  • Manage union, fringe, and tax rates and their history
  • Manage prevailing wage and Davis-Bacon data with automatic calculations

Digital solutions infuse more accuracy, time effectiveness, and agility. They emerge as the enablers of productivity and profitability and help those operating in this space drive competitive differentiation and significant cost savings.

Want to try them out? Book a demo today!