Growing pains don’t have to be a pain. It’s easy to get stuck in the old way of doing things, but as a construction company grows, the need for more efficient processes becomes clearer. As the number of jobs, bids, and budgets increases, the old models for tracking likely aren’t scalable to the new needs. The only way to scale using the old methods means adding more administrative staff which affects profitability as well as affecting performance and quality of service. Choosing the right software is key to scaling growth and making sure your team is working on important tasks for your company and your clients.
Many construction companies start off tracking jobs through their emails or excel sheets. Here are some areas to look for inefficiencies:
- Business Development:
- Lead tracking – how are you identifying and tracking opportunities?
- What jobs are up for bid? What are the bid dates? Where are the projects located? What is the size of scope of the job (how many people and what materials will be needed)? With growth comes the need to track concurrent projects, so careful planning of what projects you take on and the resources required is critical to success.
- Project Management
- Labor planning – who will be doing the work (current full time, new hires, contract labor) and how do you manage their assignments across concurrent projects or scheduling for upcoming projects?
- Materials planning – how are you tracking material orders and scheduling to ensure they get to the job site on time?
- Equipment usage and scheduling – how do you determine where owned or rental equipment needs to be, when it needs to be onsite, and track its movement?
- Time – how are you capturing time from the field to ensure payroll is accurate and timely?
- Status updates – how are you tracking overall project status and communicating with stakeholders on progress (time and budget)?
- Change management – how are you capturing change requests and identifying how labor and materials are factored into the schedule?
- Financials and Administration
- Managing accounts payable and accounts receivable – how are you handling the additional complexities as the business grows?
- Payroll – do you have the expertise to manage the more diverse composition of labor?
- Billings – do your various softwares talk to each other to ensure efficiencies in the billing process?
As a small company these tasks were managed in your head and using various Word and/or Excel documents, and it was manageable. As the volume of work increases that approach lacks the ability to easily scale.
Tracking jobs through Excel or in email chains is inefficient and can lead to an increase in potential miscommunications and errors. This can hamper growth, because instead of focusing on the work ahead, you might find yourself fighting through a system that no longer suits your needs.
Questions to ask
Construction jobs require a lot of planning and communication between many parties. The right software can help organize the elements needed for success, and help companies gain a clearer picture on areas to improve.
As noted above to support the process ask yourself questions including, but not limited to, the following:
- How are you tracking bid dates and budgets?
- How many projects do you have in your pipeline and what stages are they in?
- How are you tracking project progress – labor, budget, and cost?
- When will you have capacity available for new or current projects?
- How are you tracking completion rates?
- Can you easily identify the factors that result in a successful project versus an unsuccessful one?
- What other information systems must data be shared with? Either internal or external (client or partner).
The technology team at MarksNelson is well versed in the challenges construction companies face as they seek to scale their business. We can help you find the right solutions to help your company stay organized and grow. The right solution should be aligned with your goals and the system should be considered an asset – an enabler for you to grow efficiently.
Whether you need help at a specific step or piece of the overall business or a full end-to-end solution, we can help.