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.
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.
I’m pretty sure any construction project manager would echo my insistence on current, accurate and complete data, that’s delivered to them in a format or system that provides flexible and powerful reporting. I’m positive they’d tell you that they are practically helpless without it. The challenge to any company however – whether they’re a contractor or owner – is that it requires a well-designed process and system to deliver that key data. It’s simply not enough anymore to give the field staff a spreadsheet or pre-formatted paper documents to fill-in at the end of the day; which they then email to someone back in the office to deal with. With a solution like that, you’re just setting yourself up for sloppy entry, re-keying errors, lost documents, and a whole host of other systemic problems that result in messy, inaccurate information getting delivered to your project managers; who are supposed to somehow make sense of it to deliver your projects on budget and on time.
What I’d like to encourage you to think about, is how you can achieve a better solution for delivering current, accurate and complete data on your construction projects. A solution that not only gives your teams the visibility and power to deliver consistent results; but also doesn’t introduce a lot of extra work or cost to you. The key to reducing the overall cost and effort of high-quality project data capture, is to Get it Right the First Time. What I mean by that is, by putting more up-front effort in the configuration of data validation rules, and enforcing data logic, you’ll eliminate gaps and errors in your data upon initial entry. This means that your data will have a much higher degree of accuracy and completeness from the start; rather than allowing people to just throw sloppy, half-complete documents over the wall for someone else to figure out. While this might seem like a relatively trivial thing on the surface, you’d be amazed how much wasted effort goes into fixing someone else’s work. Then having to re-key that data into another spreadsheet or system.
Your construction project cost and hour tracking needs to be well-thought-through and well-executed, otherwise you’re simply managing your projects with the lights off.