Construction Through a Collaborative Platform

Aug 18, 2021 11:53:00 AM

One thing that is true of every construction project, be it an office tower, infrastructure project, factory, or production line upgrade, is that nothing gets built without orchestrating an army of engineers, sub-contractors, and employees. Managing that collaboration and teamwork efficiently, transparently, and succinctly is a major competitive advantage.

But how do you demonstrate your collaborative abilities? The answer is simpler than you may think.

By incorporating a unified collaboration platform into your business, you can create standardized workflows, eliminate conflicting messages to your on-site managers, offer clients real-time updates on their projects, and ensure a smooth and efficient supply chain.

Defining Collaboration

While it’s easy to simply define collaboration as “teamwork,” it’s important to be more specific when it comes to identifying and addressing areas in your business that need to improve.

In the construction industry, collaboration is more than just the work your team does together on site. From the beginning of the design phase to the grand opening of a new facility, it takes the combined work of dozens, if not hundreds, of people to complete a construction project.

Much of that work happens away from the job site—maintaining your supply chain, creating and adjusting plans, scheduling resources, reviewing and approving drawings and specifications, assigning tasks, coordinating subcontractors, resolving issues and conflicts, and the list goes on.

That’s why having an online collaboration platform for your company is imperative. It gives you a way to smooth out the wrinkles that can develop as different departments, disciplines, and contractors work together.

Here are some of the biggest benefits to implementing collaboration platform software.

Clear Communication

When you have secured a large contract, the last thing you want is for your teams to play a game of telephone tag with important information. Without a single source of truth that every part of your organization can access, wires get crossed, and time gets wasted.

A collaboration platform for teams that manages content and maintains version control on important documents keeps you from throwing money away on reconciling the different versions of what was supposed to be the same document before multiple people made separate edits.

Your collaboration platform can also be effectively utilized to create, issue and track transmittals. In the construction parlance, a transmittal is an instruction to the recipient to execute a task based on the documents and specifications contained in the transmittal.  As project plans change over time, transmittals need to change too, but changes need to be very carefully tracked and acknowledged to ensure no mishaps.  For example, the original transmittal may instruct a contractor to build a bridge in a specific location.  Due to an environmental impact study outcome, the location and specifications for the bridge need to be updated.  It is critical that the contractor is a) notified of the change and b) acknowledges the change to prevent a very costly mistake and the liability attached with the miscommunication.  This may be an extreme example, but I am sure you can relate it to a more practical example within your company.

When every part of your project team is on the same page, you reduce the risk of costly errors and the associated liability!

A Smooth Supply Chain

When your general contractor is on-site, it is imperative that they have the materials they need to keep the project on schedule. And it is just as crucial that your in-office team can monitor contracts with your suppliers and ensure that you are getting the best prices to keep your project on budget.

This is where your always accessible (from anywhere and on any device) collaboration platform can really make a difference. Your contractor can keep your team apprised of current supply inventories or potential shortfalls in deliverables from suppliers straight from the job site without waiting for an email or phone call to get returned.

By always maintaining transparent supply chain information between your team and your contractors, you ensure that your crew on the ground has everything they need when they need it and also enables a means to make changes on the fly, as inevitably happens in the real world.

Standardizing Processes Across Departments

As companies grow, it isn’t uncommon for different departments to find software solutions for their increased workload on their own. This can result in team members using totally different systems depending on which department they are in.

That can throw a huge wrench into interdepartmental communications and task management. The best team collaborative platform will create a structure for content management and task progress updates that creates standardized operating processes across your business.

Standardizing your workflows has been shown to increase efficiency both within individual departments and across departments. And with your company working on the same collaboration platform, you can eliminate data silos and improve cross-discipline business processes.  In addition, digitally recording tasks and steps, as well as operational data, enables workflow and operational data analysis and continuous improvement.

Creating a standardized way to collect data and store content across your company also creates accountability and a way to identify mistakes. If a team member makes an error, you can let them know right away or even recommend extra training if you deem it necessary.

Accurate Analysis

You cannot make strong business decisions consistently without quality up to date information. There is a great deal of information that overlaps from one team to another in any business. Without a unified platform for collaboration, each team may have minor differences in their data, even though it was initially from the same source.

A collaborative analytics platform ensures that your analytics are coming from a single source of truth. Analysis of that data will provide actionable insights enabling your ability to correct an error and continuously improve at a macro level.

Visualization

Along with analysis, collaborative software gives your teams the ability to visualize their data. That can mean auto-generating graphs and charts for presentations to current and potential clients with the most up-to-date information possible.

Immersive and collaborative data visualization helps you understand your data better. And it can also help your client understand what they’re getting.

Not everyone knows how to visualize blueprints or CAD designs. Being able to show 3D models generated from those plans to your clients can help them better understand what to expect when the job is done.

Having those plans in your collaboration platform can also ensure your crew doesn’t miss any changes to your plans after construction has started. Instead of trying to explain a change, your designer can send a notification of an update to their design to your contractor and subcontractors in real-time.

That practical communication works both ways, too. If an element of your design doesn’t work in the real world, your GC can notify your design team directly. And since everyone is connected through the same platform, those changes can get made and approved in a fraction of the time it would have taken in the past.

Access Anywhere

The pandemic forcing many businesses to pivot to remote workforces in 2020 showed that versatility is an absolute necessity. By implementing a customized collaboration platform, you can ensure that they can accomplish their tasks without missing a beat no matter where your teams are.

And with optimization for mobile and hands-free devices, your crews can have access to plans and up-to-date information no matter where the job takes them.

Build on Your Collaboration Platform

A company full of people working together to accomplish common goals is a beautiful thing. A business collaboration platform unifies your executives with your administrative staff, design team, contractors and subcontractors, the crew on the ground, and most importantly, the client.

Bringing your team together in a virtual workspace ensures that miscommunications are kept to a minimum and collaboration, and information sharing are maximized. Bridging the gaps between your team members, contractors, suppliers, and clients, makes your company more efficient, saves time and money, increases margins, and gives you the most accurate information to drive your business. Let's collaborate.

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