Implementation: How to get started with Knowify… and succeed!

Maybe you’ve already decided to move forward with a business management package like Knowify. Maybe you’re just starting to think about it. In either case, you should be aware that implementing powerful, fully-integrated software packages is no small task. Please: go in eyes-wide-open. Knowify will transform your business for the better, but it does require an investment from you and your team – not typically in terms of monetary outlay (which is small), but rather in terms of time and a commitment to change old, stale business processes. If you’re ready to make the change though, and to embrace more streamlined, automated, and modern ways of running a contracting business… then read on!

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Feature of the Week: Communicating with your Team in the Field

With your team all onboarded to Knowify , communication is so easy! We provide many ways for you to communicate with the rest of your team and for them to communicate with you. You can connect with your team through comments on jobs, uploading photos, scheduling, and push notifications.

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The biggest challenge to delivering projects on time and on budget is…

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.”

ProjectManagement The biggest challenge to delivering projects on time and on budget is...

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 support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

How much time is your team wasting in the field?

A recent blog by Al Levi in Plumbing Perspective asked what contractors could do to stop timewasters from eating into a company’s profitability? Levi’s response was to take the time to invest in sound management practices. Work with your people rather than spy on your people. We agree.

Like us, he advocated engaging management. Rather than training cameras on your teams, inside the office and out, pay attention to your people. People, wrote Levi, “actually like when you pay attention,” so long as it’s not just to criticize or complain.

Levi recommended encouraging interaction between managers and their direct reports. It’s not to spy, but to be in touch with what’s going on, “lending support when necessary, seeing how time is being spent, and trying to catch them doing something good and making a big deal about it.” Creating a positive environment. We agree again!

Treat your people like grownups

Levi advocates treating your people like grownups. We say, go a step further and give your grownups the right grown up tools.

He cited an example of employees loading up for a job early, and then moving up the block to the coffee shop rather than heading straight to the jobsite. He said, I could have run down the block screaming, “Hey! I’m watching you. Why aren’t you working?” But instead, he gave them the opportunity to manage their own schedule, saying: “You can stop for coffee…but you need to be at the jobsite or first service call within 30 minutes of the start of the day.” That way, he said, they managed their time so long as they called in their arrival within the correct timeframe. We say, don’t call…click!

Just give ’em the right tools

Being profitable is all about having the right people, the right tools, the right materials, in the right place, at the right time. Right?

Rather than make your teams call in, use the right technology. Replace the whiteboard: create and maintain your schedules in online and accessible from any smart device so that everyone can see what needs to be worked on while they are in the field.

And as your teams deliver materials or work on work orders, they can punch in time and reimbursements right from the field. Knowify, for one, makes it possible via our mobile app. As your people put in time, Knowify tracks how you are performing (and profiting) on each job compared to your budgets and estimated costs.

So what can you do to help your business from going down the tubes due to time-wasters in the office and in the field?

Be a good boss, of course. Hire great manager, of course. Motivate workers…it goes without saying.

Make sure you have the right technology

As the contracting business evolves in all sectors, those who survive and thrive are contractors who pay attention to running their businesses…who monitor jobs and profitability…who keep the lines of communication open between  their GCs, subs, field teams, and clients.

You still need to have the processes and procedures in place to run your business. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Ask us about how we’ve helped other contractors like you get a handle on their business . Or…you could keep running your business on Excel spreadsheets.

Knowify. Built for the real contracting world.