The Official Publication
of the Mason Contractors
Association of America
Are You Keeping Up With Tech?
Are you finally convinced computers are here to stay? Many construction companies still haven’t embraced technology as a required business tool to be a leading company that stays ahead of the competition, maintains loyal customers, and always makes an above-average profit.
In a recent survey of 2,000 construction companies, being on the cutting edge of technology is not a priority. Most companies are scrambling to catch up with computerization and are happy just doing the minimum required to answer a few emails. When I speak at construction industry conventions, I observe older company owners hoping to retire before they have to learn their way around a computer. The top companies have a goal to be a technology leader. Today, you can’t consider hiring a project manager or superintendent who isn’t 100 percent computer literate in email, word processing, scheduling and estimating. It is too risky to hire someone and hope he will become technologically savvy later.
Customers are No. 1
Only 10 percent use email to submit invoices or progress payments to customers. Our industry is considerably behind the times compared to others. In the retail business, products are ordered, produced, shipped, paid for and re-ordered without a single piece of paper. Construction still requires paper invoices, original and notarized signatures, conditional and final lien releases, joint checks, architect and bank inspector approvals, and copies for everyone involved.
Years ago, we bid a large office building project. The specifications required us to submit a construction schedule as a part of our bid using Microsoft Project software. Until then, we were drafting simple bar chart schedules by hand. This bid requirement forced us to finally move to computerized scheduling. Once we computerized, schedules became simple and easy to modify or update, reducing what once took hours to minutes.
Of the companies surveyed, 50 percent now use some type of scheduling software. A few years ago, we upgraded our scheduling software to a more sophisticated, cutting-edge comprehensive package. Now, when we propose or bid on projects, our schedule puts us ahead of our competitors and, often, is a major factor to winning the job.
Tech saves cash
To my surprise, the survey shows only 20 percent of subcontractors and 33 percent of general contractors use a comprehensive project management software package. What are they waiting for? Recently, I spoke at a Marriott construction conference. Marriott requires all of their contractors and subcontractors use the same software system for every project. On most governmental projects, a project website is built to handle all job-related matters, including scheduling, correspondence, changes and everyday communications.
Spend money to make money
|Last Updated on Friday, 29 April 2011 12:00|