4castplus Blog

4castplus Blog

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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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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03 3, 2018

Time-Phasing the Remaining Budget: What Does it Mean?

Time-phasing the project budget is as core to project controls on construction projects as pasta is to Italian food. Or hockey is to a Canadian winter. Time-phasing is so central to project controls, that in 4castplus there are five different time-phasing plans that can be setup on a single project. Actually, there are 10 – but in this article we’re mostly going to talk about one really important one.

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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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20 20, 2017

5 Must-Follow Tips to Keep Your Projects Under Control and Profitable

This is a very big topic that could take volumes to discuss in any detail, but I promise not to bore you with anything like that. So here are 5 little gems of information that you should be doing to make sure you’re projects are consistently in control, on budget and on schedule.

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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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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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