If you’re like most companies that run construction projects, getting accurate cost data live from the jobsite can present many challenges. If you’ve never considered a software system to take on the heavy lifting of that process – here’s a list of signs you need to have a serious look at it.
First, I’ll summarize the signs, and then further below, I’ll provide more explanation of each one.
- You Have Way Too Many Spreadsheets
- There’s too Much Time Spent Re-Keying Data
- Your Project Data is Inaccurate or Incomplete
- You struggle with information Delays: Project Managers Can’t Make Key Decisions
- Accounts Payable Spends Far Too Much Time on Vendor Invoice Approvals
- Your Billing Cycle in Accounts Receivable is Slow and Inefficient
- You Have an Overwhelming Feeling of Chaos
- Your Executive Teams are Demanding Better Reporting
- You Can’t Monitor Subcontractor Productivity
#1 You Have Way Too Many Spreadsheets
Your Site Foremen probably use one or more spreadsheets to capture the daily hours and activities of your crews and equipment for each of your jobsites. Let’s call that spreadsheet the Daily Field Report. You likely also have a few contractors working for you that also submit their spreadsheet to your site personnel for approval – which need to get included into your Daily Field Report. You may also have some expenses, documents, scanned receipts, safety & inspection reports, etc. that you need to include into the mix. If you’re a contractor yourself, all this needs to be combined to present to the client’s Site Superintendent to be signed & stamped.
Your Site Foreman then sends the Daily Field Report and associated Documents to an email address for processing. The person back in the office responsible for unpacking this email likely receives many similar emails from the various jobsites, and saves the files to a shared drive somewhere.
All that critical data for Finance, Project Management, Payroll, etc. is sitting invisibly in thousands of spreadsheets.
Rather than having spreadsheets sitting on shared drives, imagine if your site personnel could simply upload the spreadsheets and documents into a Construction Cost Tracking system where all the data gets validated and stored in a centralized database; and is available in real-time to your many teams.
#2 There’s Too Much Time Spent Re-Keying Data
Those Daily Field Reports, subcontractor timecards, and other documents will likely be opened and re-keyed into another Master Spreadsheet or your Accounting system. This re-keying of information is not only inefficient, it presents a great deal of risk in errors and data loss. It also introduces a delay in getting critical information to decision makers.
With a Construction Cost Tracking system, data gets entered Once – then used and reused by many people in many places for many things.
#3 Data is Inaccurate or Incomplete
When using paper or spreadsheets to capture jobsite costs, there is no system to validate that the data being entered is either accurate or complete. Without complete and accurate data from the very start, errors and omissions are simply passed down the line for someone else to correct.
Construction Cost Tracking software is designed to ensure the information being entered is both correct and complete from the very beginning.
#4 Information Delays: Project Managers Can’t Make Key Decisions
Information delays can cause significant project risk – including budget overruns, schedule delays, HSE issues and even claims risk. For a project manager, getting accurate data in real-time is critical for them to do their job properly. To make key decisions, project managers need to know what’s happening NOW. Finding out a days or weeks late cripples their ability to take corrective action.
Construction Cost Tracking software delivers accurate and complete project data instantly. With timely information, project managers can make critical and effective decisions to keep projects running smoothly.
#5 Accounts Payable Spends Far Too Much Time on Vendor Invoice Approvals
As many CEO’s will tell you, the AP group is one of the most expensive in the whole finance department. This is largely due to the time-consuming effort of approving vendor invoices.
With Construction Cost Tracking software, the AP function of invoice approval is largely automated – allowing you to operate AP with an efficient, streamlined staff.
#6 The Billing Cycle in Accounts Receivable is Slow and Inefficient
To complete a billing cycle, the AR group need to have reliable and accurate information to invoice clients. They need supporting information for invoicing backup like documents, reports, scanned receipts, etc. They also need to ensure they have complete coverage of billable data so that they can confidently close off the period.
With Construction Cost Tracking software, AR has all this information at their fingertips, when they need it, all the time. It eliminates the time-consuming and error-prone process to get invoices out the door.
#7 You Have an Overwhelming Feeling of Chaos
Without a system in place to manage all the data and provide critical reporting, it’s very easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. There’s too much information coming at you from too many places and you don’t have enough hours in the day to structure it so that you can get the full picture of what’s going on.
Let the software take on the heavy lifting and deliver one-click reports on all your projects, programs, resources and subcontractors. Managing projects in the dark, and in the past, leads to chaos. Good information and the right tools are essential for managing construction projects.
#8 Your Executive Teams are Demanding Better Reporting
If you have many projects and many jobsites on the go, it’s probably a significant effort for you to put together a consolidated status report with all those projects and costs and progress into a consolidated report to look at things from a bigger picture. When a client or your boss asks you for a status report on a project or program – wouldn’t it be nice if you could just click a button and like magic the report is right there?
Or better still, imagine if your stakeholders had their own Executive Dashboard tailored for exactly what they want to see, anytime they want to see it. When you implement 4castplus as Construction Cost Tracking software, you’ll get powerful, flexible and customizable reporting out of the box. On top of a rich set of pre-built reports, you can customize dashboards for your project managers and your executive team as well.
#9 You Can’t Monitor Subcontractor Productivity
If you engage subcontractors to perform some or all the work on your projects, you’re probably in the dark as to which ones are performing well as compared to those that are not. This can introduce significant risk into your projects as you’re not able to make key decisions on current and future planning. 4castplus provides deep visibility into vendor productivity in production units, hours, etc., and is able to provide short and long-term comparisons against planned productivity.