Streamlining the masonry industry
Today’s software is playing a key role in the construction industry
It’s no secret: software and technology play an important role in how mason contractors not only run their companies, but perform on the jobsite. According to a recent report from Sage Construction and Real Estate, “Information Technology Trends Summary Report – North America Construction,” information technology is key to how construction companies are able to thrive and survive on lean budgets, working smarter and doing more with less.
The survey was conducted in 2014 among Sage customers in the United States and Canada who are in the construction business. A total of 838 people responded. FMI’s Phil Warner and R. Tyler Pare collaborated with Sage on the project. Key reasons for IT investment include streamlining processes, improving communication and collaboration, and attracting new customers. Here are a few nuggets of information we learned from Sage’s thorough report.
Social technology: “While the use of social technology is growing in construction, its adoption is still relatively small. Many contractors are still unsure of the tangible benefits social technology brings to their company.”
Obtaining new business: “Competitive pressure is pushing contractors to use technology to bid faster and with greater accuracy. Relatively few, however, have yet adopted CRM software as a way to improve their marketing, sales and business development efforts.” The top two technologies contractors use to obtain new business are estimating/bidding software and CRM software.
Big data: “Big data is a relatively new term for most construction professionals, yet it promises to significantly improve how a construction company can forecast projects and predict what will impact their business in the future.”
Business visibility technology: “Construction professionals are expanding their use of business visibility technology as an efficient means to improve decision making and company performance. Standardized reporting, dashboards, and alerts/notifications of changes were rated most important.”
Popular types of technology: The most-used types of technology include mobile technology, tablets, smartphones, cloud computing, big data, and laptops.
Thirty-five percent of construction companies have no in-house staff for IT, and 42 percent have only one person. Today’s information technology includes networks, communications, field reports, accounting and compliance. This indicates a greater need for more in-house staff or a dedicated outside vendor versed in computer technology and responsible for results, says the report.
A successful contractor usually operates with sophisticated systems and processes. Well-developed software platforms aid in managing project challenges and tracking pertinent information. Well-developed IT capability and personnel can have an impact on the scalability of a business as well. This may be something to keep in mind as you manage the growth of your masonry company.
Following are a few reviews of some of the construction industry’s most helpful and functional software products. We hope you’ll get an idea of what is out there for you and your business.
American Institute of Architects’ ACDFThe American Institute of Architects
ACD5 offers document bundles tailored to contractors and subcontractors. The ACD5 Contractor Essentials Bundle provides unlimited access to the payment applications and change orders for masonry professionals. It also includes the A401 Contractor-Subcontractor Agreement, in addition to nine of the most commonly used documents by contractors and subcontractors.
ACD5 incorporates new and improved features, including Mac and PC compatibility; simplified document collaboration; online/offline editing; enhanced security and protection; and new document management tools. ACD5 contract documents and forms deliver complete risk management and legal protector throughout every phase of design and construction.
Supplementing BIM With PDFBluebeam Software
Cloud-Based Equipment Management Software for ContractorsDexter + Chaney
ExakTime Mobile 2.0 for iOS DevicesExakTime
ExakTime Mobile’s new iOS version also enables easy management of remote employees and crews with a powerful new GPS-enabled oversight option. Team View, available exclusively on the new iOS version of the app, allows a supervisor to view a map showing the clock-in coordinates of all company employees who’ve punched in via ExakTime Mobile. Supervisors are able to quickly confirm the whereabouts of single workers or small crews clocked in elsewhere in the field right from their own device.
Mobile App With Coverage CalculatorH.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc.
The TEC Coverage Calculator allows contractors to calculate the estimated amount of surface preparation products, mortars and grouts necessary for a project. Contractors simply enter their project’s specifications – including square footage, tile size and size of grout joint – and product estimates are reported in pounds and gallons and bags and pails. Users can save a product’s coverage summary to the “My Saved Jobs” section on the app. With the new iPhone App, contractors can more conveniently access the benefits of the TEC Coverage Calculator, allowing them to plan for projects from virtually any location.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.