The key to efficient project management in construction is people. So wrote Philip Greer, a product manager at Trimble Buildings in a recent article in Construction Business Owner. Good project managers tend to run good teams which produce good results.
With many, long-tenured professionals retiring, the measure of a good project manager has changed — not so much in the ability to get work done, but in the way the work gets done. Today, Greer says, its more about real-time transparency. So talent shortages notwithstanding, technology — the ability to track projects/time/materials/people increasingly is key. But, according to the 2015 Global Construction Project Owner’s Survey released by the accounting firm KPMG, only half of the owners surveyed are using project management information systems, and nearly one-third of those say their systems do not integrate “with their accounting and procurement software.”
What’s that about?
Knowledge is power and profitability
Imagine you could access every aspect of every project’s lifecycle — from bid, costing, and estimate to execution, oversight, and invoice. As a business owner or advisor, the ability to have transparency and visibility of what is going on at a job site (or company-wide) at any given time can be very powerful information.
Are you making money and are your teams and material where they should be when they should be? Imagine, says Greer, that you could have real-time access to data so that you and your managers would know whether:
- The workers assigned to each site showed up? And if they did, how long did they work?
- Did they have the materials they needed?
- – Is the project on schedule?
Teams working with clipboard headcounts and calculators are insufficiently efficient. Running an estimating or purchasing function on spreadsheets is no better. With so many contractors and subcontractors already running their bookkeeping functions on QuickBooks or other software or cloud-based packages, selecting the right business management and project management technology would seem to be a logical extension of good business practices.
Not any technology; the right technology
Although he was speaking specifically about project management technology, the issues Greer raises transcend all business management technology. Too often, he says, companies buy a specific technology to resolve a specific problem, “without considering other value the system may have for your business operations.”
The acquisition of different systems for different purposes can create information silos. Does your accounting package integrate with your bidding system, or purchasing system, or project management needs? “The goal,” Greer says, “is for the technologies to be compatible with one another…[systems] should support other software applications while still providing timely and detailed data on deliverables and personnel” and materials and…
Greer believes that technology…”offers a gateway for instituting best practices…[delivering] complete transparency into hours, job assignments, credentials and productivity to…ensure the project stays on schedule and on budget.”
So how do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors integrate their business management needs with their accounting systems from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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