The decision to take a partial stake of your construction management systems and automate them can be a big jump. Tradition construction management generally leads by a project management team, is constructed of a series of departments cohesively delivering individual services to a greater and successful outcome. Finding the appropriate software package to suit the needs of your construction project as well as your individual department needs and requirements isn’t always as easy as it sounds so we have some tips on what to look for…
1. A Cohesive Tool
Look at your current management processes; are there areas with a shortfall in communication or experience? Do you have areas that work in sync with each other and create great outcomes? Where the process is working and not working and what will the software package do to fill the gaps? The tool you use should complement the structure in place and help to develop and enhance the processes. To introduce a software package with little or no process in place will simply set you up to fail as the core structure is not there to begin with.
Recommendations are key! Looking for products that are used by others in your field, with similar structures in place, can take a lot of work out of the process. To have an understanding of what is working for others or what hasn’t worked in the past can set the path for your short list and help define what your core requirements actually are.
3. What do you actually need?
When it comes to actually choosing a platform that best suits you, you should factor in an accurate checklist.
- What is my essential requirement, what do I specifically need out of this software package
- Define section criteria, look at the lack of and abundance of need in sections
- Create a list of preferred options, personalise the platform to your need
- Create information requests, flag areas so the relevant information is able to be obtained
- Evaluate responses, is the platform able to perform the way you want it to
- Can I test drive this platform to see if it will suit me
A checklist forearms you for predatorial sales people and gives you something to aim for.
4. Create a short list
Culling you list early means you don’t have to trial too many products, the process becomes a lot easier when you have less to take in, information overload sets in very easily and making the cut early means you aren’t diluting the pool of worthy products with those that are on the cusp. Basically you will measure the product against your need. You have by this stage determined what your core requirements are and probably have a wish list of functionality in addition, balance those criteria against the shortlisted products and see what best measures up. This will also take into account key factors such as:
- Staff/ software balance
- Required training
- Integration into existing systems
- System support
- Ongoing development
- Initial and ongoing costing
With any process integration there are expectations and goals. You want your expectations of a software platform to be realistic and achievable. Looking at products that promise the world will eventually cost you serious money and in most cases will not deliver the desired outcome. Look at the required outcome, thinking laterally will get you the product that does what you require and probably a little more for a sound cost. So what goals to set…? Ideally you want to improve project reporting & tracking and estimating & scheduling, you want to reduce costs and speed up processes without mistakes and most importantly you want to improve communication, encourage team collaboration and upscale the overall project processes.
Hopefully the end result is an effective compliment to your already efficient and successful construction management structure!
About the Author
The TTFS Group supplies temporary fencing to builders, mining and construction companies around Australia.