Construction Software Selection and Internal Input and Feedback

Any company that is beginning the process of selecting and implementing new construction software hopefully understands the need to have adequate leadership throughout the process. An individual or team must be selected to lead the process of evaluating, selecting, implementing, customizing, and training end users to use the new software. These people need to have a large amount of knowledge about how the company operates as a whole, including intimate knowledge of all processes, as well as a good understanding of construction management software functionality. As such, I have compiled the following lists of individuals that should be included in this team, or should at the very least be consulted with if they cannot dedicate the proper time to the entire process. Additionally, I have listed several factors that should be a part of any software evaluation.

Input and Software Selection Team Members that are Good to Have

While larger companies will have the advantage of being able to assign one individual to oversee the entire software selection process, all companies will need to get input from multiple areas of the company. The following segments of the entire organization should be included, to some extent, in the new software identification and evaluation team. Some of these members will need to be permanent members of the team while others can be consulted on an “as needed” basis. To what extent members are “as needed” or permanent will very depending on the company.

– End-users

– Management (all levels in large companies)

– Accounting (they need to provide input on how the new software will impact their operations)

– Payroll – Regardless of if your company has an internal payroll department or uses an external payroll service, they will need to provide valuable input in terms of selecting new construction accounting software.

– IT (Information Technology) – Your IT department will play an integral role in installing the new software while allowing the company to not miss a beat. Thus, they will need to know what is required from them for any potential software solution to identify areas where current hardware may not mesh with the new software.

– Other interfacing departments

– Sub-contractors

– Suppliers

– Vendors (once selected)

– Other members that are deemed necessary, which will vary depending on each unique company

Factors that All Companies Need to Consider and Evaluate

While smaller companies will likely not benefit from having a full team dedicated to selecting new software, there are still things that all companies much consider when evaluating new construction software.

At a minimum, even smaller construction companies need to give their best effort to performing the necessary in-depth research into the various facets of construction software, including:

– The number of varieties of each product and what makes each version unique

– The number of available vendors

– Product history – look for testimonials from trusted sources or check construction software reviews

– Vendor history – testimonials

– Product functionality

– Product protocols

– The necessary steps require to integrate the new system with current processes

– Product interface – this will come down to personal preferences more than anything, but is important that you choose software that is the most user friendly for your set of users. Again, this will vary based on your unique company.

How Can Construction Software Help Me?

Construction software is specifically designed to deal with the special needs of a construction project. There are several dynamics to consider when undertaking any build. Construction software can be used on something as simple as a project that remodels a kitchen to something as complex as building a skyscraper. Materials, labor, expenses, layouts, financing, etc. are all considerations and are necessary to keeping a construction project on time and on budget. So, what are some of the things to look for in a good construction software program?

Many of the features included in most construction software programs relate to the financial aspect of a build. Contractors can keep a close eye on the budget and the progression of the construction. They can also keep an eye on employees, payroll, account adjustments, and essentially map where the money comes from and where it goes to. Productivity, costs, materials, labor, etc. can all be tracked with this type of software. Not only will a good construction software program allow for the viewing of the entire picture, but it will be able to let the user focus in on the individual pixels (so to speak). Some programs have analytics built into them that can help contractors give accurate estimates to clients, provide data points that can be tracked and trends that can be used to get better deals on labor and materials.

Construction software, however, is only as good as the people who use it. Employees need to be trained to input appropriate data into the software so that information is reported to the overseers of a project correctly. In this way, they can make the necessary decisions about the build to make things more efficient. As an example, an employee may take 10 2x4x8 boards out of inventory and inputs that into the database. The person looking at that data knows how many boards are left in stock and can also surmise that the employee who took the boards should be close to finishing that part of the project.

Construction software can be as expensive or inexpensive as needed for the project involved. There are companies out there whose sole purpose is to analyze a projects need and design construction software around what is needed. For large companies, this may be a calculated expense that saves money in the long run. However, for a small construction project, a simpler over-the-counter program may be all that is needed.

No matter how you look at it, the unique information that is involved with a construction project needs to be recorded, tracked and analyzed. Any good contractor should know that. Inventory needs to be monitored, tracked, the amount of materials purchased needs to be estimated, materials may need to be reordered, etc. If there are extensive problems with inventory, there may be a potential theft problem that construction software can alert the user. Budgets also need to be met and tools, materials, rentals and any other expenses a construction project has can be recorded specifically for budgetary purposes. Finally, the employees need to be paid. Construction software can monitor time cards and payroll as well as schedules and deadlines for all concerned.

Construction Software is For the Little Guys Too

Construction software is not just for the construction giants! Construction software is for the little guys too! The local lawn service provider who hires summer help, and might have 20-30 customers to provide services for; or the guy who plows out residents and local businesses during winter; or the small home-improvement company with a half-dozen employees; and other similar operations, can all benefit from construction software functionality.

It is impossible to say whether or not the price of purchasing and implementing a construction software program in an operation such as those described above would be worth it in all cases since such an evaluation would require complete evaluation of the particular business model and business processes and procedures. As such, let’s just say that “automation is key” wherever it can be easily and effectively applied within an existing business model.

If the business model must be totally revamped in order to fit it to available construction software functionality (out of the box), it might not be the right time to implement. Instead, the first thing to do is to restructure the business model to incorporate the industry’s known best-practices. That way, the construction business will more likely line up with construction software.

The little guys usually manage quite well in their own ways. Perhaps they use an Excel spreadsheet, or an Access database, or maybe a small-business management software package. There are inexpensive, quite user-friendly, and even quite functional small-business software packages available; and some include specific construction-oriented functionality.

The little guys probably don’t need to think about the high-tech RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging of their materials or supplies; nor do they need to be too concerned about real-time communications functionality of construction software. No, the little guys manage well enough to satisfy their small business needs with some of the small business construction software available today.

The most important question a small construction company needs to answer before running out and buying a construction software package is “Will a construction software package enhance and improve my business enough to warrant the cost of purchase and implementation?” That might sound like a “no-brainer” question, but it encourages the company to look closely at current affairs; current processes, procedures, record keeping, communications, and more. And anytime business managers and owners take the time to do that is usually time well spent.

Plan Effectively, and Get Things Done More Quickly With Construction Software

Planning is an integral part of our lives, may it be for our business or for everyday activities. Planning makes things a lot easier to handle and more organized to sift through. With the way current technology is growing in leaps and bound nowadays, it is not a surprise anymore that technology allotted something for planning and effective management. We would particularly explore one aspect of business and activity where effective planning is crucial, the construction aspect.

Construction involves the workmanship and material that result to something being established or put up. It can also refer to the industry of creating and putting to life the structures put on paper, building. Construction has always been a part of human nature, for it is when we build something that we are able to create something of use to us. In our modern times, construction is usually associated with industrialization and the urban life. When we think of construction, we think of big buildings and large structures. Indeed, because construction implies a very sophisticated and larger aspect of building nowadays, planning and management may not be carried out effectively all the time. With what one has to think about in terms of size of structure and aspects of structure, which is quite understandable. This is where Construction software comes in handy.

What is Construction software?
The Construction software is a software program that mainly helps you in simplifying construction aspects in order for you to plan effectively and decide quickly. Construction software usually involves projection and calculated estimates that would help point you in the logical direction with regards to areas of your construction business. A lot of construction businesses cater to this kind of software program nowadays because it helps manage a construction project smoothly, thereby ensuring raised profits.

Why would I want a construction software program?

Easy planning and action-taking.
A good construction software program offers you effective estimates and projections in the areas of your construction. Thus, opportunities for sale are put to the greatest advantage, because planning becomes a lot easier, also resulting to quick action-taking.

The impressing factor.
One can always manage to impress potential clients by giving them accurate estimates of construction projects. A construction software program helps you give accurate estimates which you can then present to your potential customers. And in business, impressing customers usually mean great sales opportunities.

Scheduling and budgeting need not be tedious.
Scheduling for construction activities can usually take a lot of time when you do it manually, for it is important to consider a lot of factors in the construction business when you try to schedule. The construction management software helps you schedule all your construction activities effectively to ensure that you get things done time and by schedule. Budgeting is also a very important part of the construction business, for you have to make sure that everything is on budget to maintain credibility and reputation. The software program can help you project actions that you need to adhere to in order to keep within the budget constraints.