4castplus Blog

4castplus Blog

07 7, 2018

Notley's $1B Upgrader Plan: Alberta Tech Company Ready to Help

The recent announcement by the Alberta government to invest $1B in grants and loan guarantees to partially upgrade its bitumen, is great news for the Alberta energy industry. As a landlocked province with no access to tidewater for access to diverse markets, and no pipeline to transport its bitumen, Alberta is not getting full value for its products. It’s the government’s hope and expectation that this will incentivize a further $5B in private investment to build and improve the local upgrader infrastructure.

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16 16, 2018

Top 5 Reasons Why an ERP Won’t Work as a Cost Management Solution

It’s not uncommon for organizations to consider the idea of using their ERP as a one-stop-solution for all their technology needs – even when it comes to managing the many-layered complexities of cost management on major projects. It’s an appealing idea: everything in one place, under the tight control and scrutiny of the finance department. The challenge with this of course, is that the target users of an ERP are in the finance department, not those who are managing the day-to-day operations of a large construction project. 

Construction projects have many moving parts and a colossal amount of data to carefully manage in order to keep the project running to plan. Not only that, but there are numerous different types of users that need to work collaboratively in real-time. Such as: Project managers, project controls, engineers, field staff at the jobsite, subcontractors, project owners and others, that all need to work together, sharing data and workflows, to seamlessly bring a project to a successful conclusion.  

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12 12, 2018

Cost Tracking from the Jobsite: 10 Ways to Reduce Project Errors

It’s typically not until the end of the day at the construction site that the field personnel sit down to collect and enter all the time and expenses for their crews, equipment and other charges for that day.  It’s late and they are in a rush to get it done so it’s inevitable that mistakes are made. Things get coded to the wrong place, charges are missed, incorrect rates are used, etc.  All these errors are compiled, submitted and ultimately routed to the finance team for processing. And this is where the nightmare begins.

Finance is responsible for ensuring data accuracy in cost tracking before billing clients, paying vendors or routing charges through payroll. It’s not that site foreman can’t be detailed – it’s just that they have a very different spectrum of priorities. What this translates to, is that the finance team is tasked with finding and correcting data entry errors from the jobsite.

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15 15, 2018

Vendor Accruals... Are You Keeping Track?

You thought you had your project all wrapped up when, SURPRISE, vendor invoices just keep coming in.  Whoops, things didn’t go as well as you thought. The costs on your project keep soaring, and you have to keep updating your project reports to your superiors.

Why Vendor Invoices Keep Coming In

This happens because vendors rarely invoice you at the time they completed the work, or delivered the materials.  The problem is, if you wait until vendors invoice you to show the cost on your project, then you’re in for a lot of surprises.

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02 2, 2018
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27 27, 2017

Make the Move: 3 Reasons to Embrace the Cloud in 2018

Did you know? More than 90% of organizations are using some level of cloud services for business applications and data storage. This is according to last year’s Intel Security cloud security research study, which also made the stunning assertion that, “in the next 15 months, over 80% of IT budgets will be committed to cloud solutions."

As we move into 2018, more and more companies are seeing value in cloud-based construction software systems. This is a vital and strategic move for any organization that executes complex construction projects: there is just
far too much at risk by not adopting a centralized, collaborative cloud platform, so delaying – or accepting the status quo – is no longer a tolerable option.  Here are just a few reasons why it’s so important:

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20 20, 2017
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04 4, 2017

Using Rules of Credit for Percent Complete in 4castplus

How do you figure out percent complete on a project? How is it you go about objectively assigning a reasonable and accurate measurement of how far along you are on an item of work? How many times have you asked, “Hey, where did that number come from?”

Most any manager, VP or director who has to oversee the work of his or her team of project managers has a big worry about this very thing. They know the temptation that exists for a project manager to leverage a little creative license with the numbers to make the project look a little rosier than it is in reality. Customers on the receiving side of a progress draw are equally aware of the tendency to big-up the progress numbers in order to fatten the invoice.

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04 4, 2017

How Technology is Changing the Face of Construction

There are so many new technologies affecting the construction industry today: such as the use of Drones, BIM, Robotics, 3D Printing and significant advancements in fabrication and safety, that it’s now a huge topic that can easily be categorized into the many sub-areas of "Construction Technology".

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06 6, 2017

Top 2 Characteristics of a Good Construction Project Manager

I’m going to start with a basic assertion: to be effective and successful in their job, Project Managers need good information and the right tools. These two things are an absolute must. A bit more specifically: project managers first need current, accurate and complete project data; then secondly, they need the right tools to analyze, and report on that data.

This is especially true when managing large construction projects, where there are so many moving parts, changes, documents, contractors, costs, schedules, etc. to stay on top of. There are other things they need of course, but without these two key things, construction project managers are left feeling around in a dark room, desperately hoping to find a light switch.

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