4castplus Blog

4castplus Blog

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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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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08 8, 2019

How to Link a Change Order to a Purchase Order Revision

In this article I’m going to go through the basics of how, after creating a change order in 4castplus, you can go on to make any revisions to purchase orders based on the details of that change order. First, however, I’ll clarify a bit of terminology in terms of the difference between a change order and PO revision:

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16 16, 2018

4castplus in Action: Multiple Divisions Under One Roof

A few months ago, the team at SECURE Energy Services approached us at 4castplus with a situational challenge that they needed to have resolved. The problem they were experiencing, was that the multiple business divisions using 4castplus as their core operational solution, were deployed into separate 4castplus accounts. While each division was happy with the software and its value to their business unit, this approach introduced some corporate-level challenges.

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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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20 20, 2018

Spreadsheets for Cost Management are a Lot of Work for Little Return

"Excel just wasn’t designed to do some of the heavy lifting that companies need to do in finance.” So says Paul Hammerman, a business applications analyst at Forrester Research Inc. Despite that generally accepted fact, spreadsheets continue to be widely used as the default tool of choice for managing the finances of construction projects large and small. Most individuals that find themselves in this situation however, would enthusiastically agree that the use of spreadsheets for this level of complexity requires a ridiculous amount of meaningless effort for very little return. Far too much effort is put into getting the data into the spreadsheet – and all the formulas straightened out – that little time is actually spent analyzing that data.

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19 19, 2018

Paper-based Ledgers are a Thing of the Past

Several decades ago, organizations used to manage all their finances using big paper-based ledgers, where they’d spend much of their day “doing the books”. These large ledger books worked for hundreds of years, however it would be a challenge to find any modern company today that runs their business on paper-based accounting methods.  

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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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27 27, 2017

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

By Mary Ellerslie | December 27, 2017 | Categories: business process improvement | 1 Comment

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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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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