4castplus Blog

4castplus Blog

Christopher Ronak

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16 16, 2019

Overhead Costs are the Silent Killer of Project Profitability

Most contractors today exist in a very competitive landscape where margins are tight, and customers are demanding.  This leaves them little room for error when executing on projects – otherwise their profits will quickly be eroded, their reputation damaged, and their ability to sustain a healthy, growing company will be severely compromised.

 

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25 25, 2014

New Report Finds Project Profitability and Replacement of Manual Methods as Top Reasons For Project Management Software Buying Decisions

After interviewing thousands of buyers looking for Project Management software, Software Advice has compiled an insightful report that sheds light on key factors buyers are using in their purchasing decisions

Key Findings Include:

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04 4, 2013

Everyone Likes to Pick a Winner

Risk is everywhere in business. Whether you’re a large or small company; or whether you run large or small projects – you are always running the very real risk that you’re project won’t succeed according to plan. How your business performs on a project however, goes well beyond just your own internal issues of cash flow and resourcing. The interdependencies that are inherent in construction projects means that what you do has a direct effect on your peer organizations and the owner. In other words: what you do is not just your own problem. If you blow it, you may end up blowing it for everyone around you. That doesn’t go over well – people talk.

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11 11, 2013

What is the Cost of Inaction?

Businesses suffocating from internal systems they've grown out of should have a close look at what it's costing them to delay improving things.

The Pain of Same vs. The Pain of Change

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07 7, 2013

Ever Feel like You're Buried by Content?

How on earth do we manage to make sense of the chaotic volumes of information that gets thrown at us every day? If you’re anything like me, in any 24-hour period you can get hundreds of emails, documents, txts, tweets and messages filling your inbox and various other mediums. It’s impossible to believe we can do a decent job of cataloging and organizing it all in order to get back to it later.

I don’t have any stats on this, but I bet that over 90% of people use Outlook as an information management system – supported by hundreds of folders located somewhere on a company shared drive. And to some degree that works ok. There does come a point, however, when that system simply breaks down. I talk to a lot of people who plan, manage and procure construction projects, and easily one of the biggest struggles they fight to endure is how to tackle the barbaric amounts of information they need to stay on top of. Contracts, drawings, change orders, vendor invoices, daily site reports, budgets, status reports and on and on it goes. Each document and email thread can contain important information that’s critical to a project’s smooth and healthy progress.

At some point, engineering and construction companies need to upgrade the systems they use for managing all that project-related content. It’s like when you used to have no kids, and now you have three kids: you have to face the reality that you need to upgrade your two-seater car to something that can haul around the whole family.  I specifically wrote project-related content as opposed to enterprise content. There’s a very big difference. The difference is: Project Data should reside with the project – not in a corporate document management system (or in Outlook or on a shared drive).

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15 15, 2013

Why Intelligent Workflows are so Important

Back in the 18th century there was a period of new thinking called the Age of Reason; or the Enlightenment. The thinkers of the time were moving towards a largely fact-based view of the world and all things in it – using reason rather than sentiment or religion to explain things. Dominated by a well-known group of French Philosophers, it’s this period that has significantly influenced our current scientific approach to our view of the world.  Amongst other things, they described the process of understanding things by breaking them down into individual parts. Like, a bicycle is made up of wheels, a chain, handlebars, pedals, etc. As though all whole things in the universe were merely a sum of their parts.  At the same time as the French philosophers were enjoying their breakthroughs in thinking, there was a smaller group of British philosophers, like Edmund Burke and David Hume, who believed that there was more to it than just Parts.

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13 13, 2013

Do Bigger Projects mean Disconnected Teams?

It’s always very interesting to me how much difference there is between how organizations structure the management of major projects.  Naturally, the bigger the project, the more bodies they’ll need for project controls, construction project management, procurement, etc. Adding more people of course, adds more complexity (to anything). When you add more people, those people need to be organized into groups and disciplines; each requiring key inputs and outputs and deliverables. In defining this organizational structure; I’ve found that there is a tendency for major to mega projects to disconnect these groups into individual silos. Working in silos, they coexist with each other, but with minimum interaction. No-one wants this to happen, of course, and any person would tell you that healthy communication is vital for streamlined success.

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18 18, 2013

The Future of SAGD

How can we Make SAGD more Profitable and Sustainable?

Large SAGD projects in the Alberta Oil Sands have suffered an unfortunate reputation for cost overruns, delays and productivity issues over the past ten years.  These results have thrown the whole industry into question as to whether SAGD is a viable and investible solution for extracting bitumen from this oil-rich area of the country. Despite the criticisms and skittish investment community however; these challenges have invited a tremendous amount of analysis and an industry-wide awareness of the need to innovate new technology to prove it as a viable and sustainable solution. In this article, I’ll have a look at some of the lessons learned in recent years and a number of recommendations as to how we can apply better techniques and technology to make it a practical, sustainable alternative that we can all feel proud to be a part of.

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04 4, 2013
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28 28, 2013
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