Are you Keeping up With Tech?
Are you convinced computers are here to stay? Many construction companies still haven't embraced technology as a required business tool that is necessary to be a leading company that stays ahead of the competition, maintains loyal customers, and always makes an above-average profit.
A recent survey of 2,000 construction companies revealed that being on the cutting edge of technology is not a priority. Most companies are scrambling to catch up with computerization and are happy just doing the minimum. When I speak at construction industry conventions, I observe older company owners hoping to retire before they have to learn the computer. One of our company goals is to be a technology leader. We won't consider hiring a project manager or superintendent who isn't 100 percent computer literate in email, word processing, scheduling and estimating. It is too risky to hire someone and hope he will become techno savvy later.
Our industry is considerably behind the times when compared to others. In the retail business, products are ordered, produced, shipped, paid for and re-ordered without a single piece of paper. Construction still requires paper invoices, original and notarized signatures, conditional and final lien releases, joint checks, architect and bank inspector approvals, and copies for everyone involved.
Years ago, we bid on a large office building project. The specifications required us to submit a construction schedule as part of our bid using Microsoft Project software. Until then, we were drafting simple bar chart schedules by hand. This bid requirement forced us to finally move to computerized scheduling. Once we computerized, schedules became simple and easy to modify or update, and what once took hours had been reduced to minutes.
Of the companies surveyed, 50 percent now use some type of scheduling software. A few years ago, we upgraded our scheduling software to a more sophisticated, cutting-edge, comprehensive package. Now, when we propose on projects, our schedule puts us ahead of our competitors and, often, is a major factor in winning the job.
To my surprise, the survey shows only 20 percent of subcontractors and 33 percent of general contractors use a comprehensive project management software package. What are they waiting for? Recently, I spoke at a Marriott construction conference. Marriott requires all of their contractors and subcontractors use the same software system for every project. On most government projects, a project Web site is built to handle all job-related matters, including scheduling, correspondence, changes and everyday communications.
"Do your kids know more about the computer than you?"
Fifty percent said, "Yes."
The world is changing, and technology is a reality. Companies who realize it become leaders, while those who don't fall behind and never catch up. Technology can make you more efficient and professional, help you win more profitable contracts, keep track of job costs, and make money for you. Leading companies invest at least $2,500 per employee per year on technology. Are you keeping up with tech?
About the Author
George Hedley is a best-selling author, professional speaker, and business coach. He helps entrepreneurs and business owners build profitable companies. Email email@example.com to request a free copy of Everything Contractors Know About Making A Profit! or signup for his e-newsletter. To hire George to speak, attend his Profit-Builder Circle academy or find out how he can help your company grow, call 800-851-8553, or visit www.hardhatpresentations.com.
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