4castplus Blog

4castplus Blog

Michael Wilson

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27 27, 2019

Real-Time Project Information: Start a Revolution

By Michael Wilson | June 27, 2019 | | 0 Comments

Getting daily real-time data from the Jobsite on your construction projects is like finally driving with the lights on.  Having detailed information today on costs, activities and progress that happened today, gives you tremendous power to act swiftly on that information.  

 

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21 21, 2019

They’re Only Mistakes if You Keep Making Them

Making mistakes is a normal part of life. Equally, mistakes are a normal part of business. Mistakes, however, shouldn’t be perceived as somehow a failure or a sign of incompetence – they should instead be met as an opportunity to learn and grow; to strengthen your team and tighten your processes.  Clearly what I’m saying isn’t any new wisdom, as mistakes are as old as dirt and great thinkers over the millennia have been preaching about how to spin them to the positive.  Dozens of old expressions like “Fail-fast-forward”, “Corrective Action”, and “Lessons Learned”, point to a common theme about the constructive management of when things go wrong. 

A key corporate value that separates a well-run business from a not-so-well-run business is in how they handle mistakes, errors and failures.  An important business mantra to live by is that, “They’re only mistakes if you keep making them”.  Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is not just a sign of insanity, but a sign of a business improvement opportunity. For example, a company that is consistently under-performing on their projects, or not achieving profitability targets on their projects – and does little to correct that but hope for better results next time – is obviously not learning from their mistakes.  Hope, as they say, is not a strategy.  What is a strategy, is to examine and rethink processes and systems and apply corrective action towards eliminating chronic mistakes.  

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12 12, 2019

Project Procurement Belongs with the Project Team, Not Finance

If you were to ask any CFO or Controller which department should be responsible for all Procurement for the company, they would naturally respond with the Finance Department. On the other hand, if you were to ask any project controls professional about procurement, they would naturally respond with the Project Team, they should own procurement. 

So, who’s right?

 

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12 12, 2018

Your Corporate Data is a Gold Mine - Take it Seriously

 

For any organization, their corporate data is one of the most important assets they possess. The information they gather on a daily basis forms the core of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The monumental technology changes going on in the world today have made ‘Data’ the central element that determines success or failure for most any company.

 

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22 22, 2018

Get it Right the First Time

On any day of any major construction project, a ton of information is being collected about that project. Including: costs, hours, activities and progress; along with a variety of documents, photos, invoices and receipts.  Feeding all this data to the project managers is critical to enable them to bring the project to a successful completion on time and on budget.

 

Construction Cost Tracking Software

 

The thing is, all this data that’s collected needs to be both accurate and complete, otherwise it’s not much use to anyone. Not only that, but it also has to be timely – meaning that, giving project managers data that several weeks old doesn’t really help much. It needs to be current, like from today, otherwise you’re managing the past, which is not only ineffective, but frustrating.

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15 15, 2018

Contractor Profits at the Mercy of Higher Construction Costs

Construction costs in the US have been escalating for months now, and it’s so far the contractors who are carrying the weight of absorbing these price increases. This, according to a recent study by the Associated General Contractors, who went on to point out that recent tariffs on non-US foreign materials have further intensified the issue.


The Pain of Higher Construction Costs 

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23 23, 2018

Top 5 Tips: How to Help Lean Teams to do the Work of Many

Everyone wants to run a ‘Lean’ operation. But how do you do that when there’s so much work to do, projects to stay on top of, reports to run, etc.?  The behavioral challenge most organizations suffer from when it comes to running lean, is what I call the “More means More” syndrome.  Put simply, this means: as you grow and get more work, you just add more people to do that work. More work, therefore more people, right? Well, hang on a second. 

 

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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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17 17, 2017

What's the Difference: Project Spend and Project Cash Flow Forecast?

Cash moves at a different pace than activities. Maybe that seems obvious, or maybe you’re not sure what I’m talking about; but it’s an important distinction to understand in construction project management.

Project Management = More Than You Think

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16 16, 2017

Which is it... LEM or a Daily Field Report?

Construction contractors are increasingly adopting technology to track their daily costs and activities from the jobsite. Some will refer to this as tracking their daily LEM – which stands for Labor, Equipment and Materials – however others may call it Field Data Capture; and some may call it the Daily Field Report, or Site Superintendent Report. Although we’ve adopted an industry term, “Construction Cost Tracking” as a general name to describe the activity and process, we tend to use “LEM” as the term that describes the final document(s) that contain all the jobsite data that gets tracked.

If you’re familiar with 4castplus at all, you’ll know that the system enables contractors to track much more than labor, equipment and materials. There’s clearly much more going on than that – so a “LEM” is just a term used that encapsulates the broad variety of everything that gets tracked. Other data that gets captured in the LEM includes: labor expenses like subsistence and meals; along with 3rd party vendor expenses; material field receipts; daily log and the weather. Field personnel can also input production quantities as progressed items that are completed. It also allows field personnel to upload any number of documents into organized document repository categories. There’s additionally a very powerful Vendor LEM option to track the costs and expenses from subcontractors.

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