Between blueprints, contracts, permits, and general documents, it’s hard to imagine that the construction industry could readily ditch all that paper and still ensure streamlined, organized operations.
This impression could perhaps be the reason why adoption of technology in construction lags significantly behind other businesses. In fact, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, the construction industry trails behind in productivity compared to other fields.
However, given the competitive nature of today’s business landscape, organizations are beginning to look into how they can use technology to improve and optimize operations. Despite their continued reliance on manual documentation, they’re actually beginning to consider whether or not going paperless is possible for their company.
The good news is — yes — it is entirely possible for a company to shift from manual processes and leverage on digital technology to achieve this. However, there are a few things you should consider to ensure a seamless transition:
1. Start by assessing your current processes
Going paperless isn’t just about saving the environment, it also means you can update project details in real-time, send blueprints at the speed of need, and mail contracts anywhere in the world with a few clicks.
To understand what kind of digital platform you actually need, take a look at your current systems and understand which functionalities you need to prioritize. For example, is time, or lack thereof, a major issue for your company? You can also review your last few projects and check how much your company spent on rework due to outdated plans. Is the cost of paper and printing — an often-overlooked expense — steadily rising?
These are some of the things that a digital solution such as construction management software (CMS) can address.
2. Choose your options carefully
Once you’ve identified key areas of your operations that technology can address, it’s time to choose the right digital solution. However, it’s important to note that not all platforms are built equal, so be sure to do your research.
Look into whether the functionality a CMS offers addresses your current operational challenges. Does it support centralized document access? Will it integrate into other systems you’re already using? Is it compatible with common devices used by your team such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops? Is customer support readily available?
3. Get everything ready for implementation
Once you’ve selected a CMS for your business, take the time to prepare for the big switch.
Start by informing relevant members of the team about it. Go beyond simply announcing your intent to go paperless. Give them access to the new platform and guide them as they learn about it. Make sure they understand the benefits of the technology and how it can help their day to day tasks. Remember, the construction industry is partial to the old way of doing things and you might meet a lot of resistance if team members are not trained to use the CMS and maximize the technology.
Once the team is onboard, you can review all your paper documents and plans, then scan and upload everything that is needed into the new platform. Make sure your file and naming conventions are standardized to make it easier for your team to search and find files.
4. Roll out the platform and evaluate results
With a new system up and running, all documents uploaded and accessible, and key company members ready to train their own teams on how to use the software, you can easily roll out the platform for company-wide use.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that you should always evaluate the results of your efforts. You invested a lot in acquiring the system, training, and rollout in order to go paperless. Make sure your new system is able to save you money and time, increase efficiency, boost communication, and reduce risks.
If you are interested in trying our software to help your construction company go paperless, contact us for more information.