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Through Thick and Thin Margins

Harnessing Technology to Boost Profitability and Strengthen Business Resilience.

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the current economic climate and where business is headed in the next year, something changes, and you have to reevaluate.

Construction has always operated on wafer-thin margins but the current market is placing even more pressure on the bottom line.

The many challenges you face can seem overwhelming when you’re thinking about how to increase profits and build business resiliency. After all, many of the problems are not yours to  control. But that’s why now is the time to think about what is in your control.

Small Efficiencies. Big Results.

If there was one cure-all to increasing profitability in construction, you and your competition would have done it already. So what can you do? Finding small, incremental ways to increase efficiency adds up to big results. And challenging times like we’re seeing now are exactly the right time to start. These small changes are not only going to help your business get through the next year but will set you up for success well into the future. So when business is booming again, you’ll be a few steps ahead.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Construction has hundreds of steps and processes, making it the perfect industry for finding efficiencies. From preconstruction to completion and handover, there are multiple stakeholders who communicate constantly and document the entire process. This leads to stacks of paperwork, files on different hard drives, and information that sits in just one person’s head or in multiple software solutions. In other words, information is too often scattered, and it takes a major time-consuming effort to ensure everyone has what they need to do their job efficiently.

The first place to start finding efficiencies in your business is to remove the time and effort it takes to share information.

When information sits in multiple places, employees searching for it are wasting their time – and your money. Inevitably, people have to search through long email chains or ask others and then spend time waiting for answers. By the time you get what you need, the information is usually out of date, leading to rework and decisions that eat into profit margins.

This is where platform technology can make a difference. Platforms like Procore provide an end-to-end construction management solution so all your teams  have one place to communicate, enter project data, and find what they need fast. Construction platforms work the way you work––with intuitive tools that take you through the entire building process. Starting with one source of truth helps get every project stakeholder on the same page and pulling in the same direction.

Digitise The Impossible

When you implement a platform, you force yourself to digitise business processes––maybe even ones you thought were too complicated to digitise.

If you’re trying to strengthen the preconstruction or on-site management team, with specific skill sets, platforms will be able to quickly flag up which of your staff are available. The beauty of platforms is their ability to digitise complicated processes like workforce management, giving everyone––from estimating, to finance, accounting and senior leadership––clarity into your most important asset, your people.

Embrace Change

Change is a constant in construction, but keeping track of what’s happening and charging for the work appropriately can make or break a project’s profits. Not surprisingly, variations jotted down on a notepad or sitting in a spreadsheet are not always accounted for when it comes to the project budget. But using a technology solution can allow the site team to manage change in real time from their phone or tablet instead of waiting to get back to the office. This gives everyone an accurate reflection of the budget and allows leadership to track critical costs and identify ways to make up for overspending or delays.

The Path to Increased Productivity

At the beginning of 2023, Censuswide surveyed over 200 decision-makers in the UK and Ireland for Procore’s benchmark report, ‘How We Build Now’.  When asked the best way to improve productivity, 33% of respondents placed ‘implementing best practice process and protocol in preconstruction’ at the top of their list.

Traditionally, preconstruction has been a linear process of design, tendering and build, even in design and build contracting. Though two-stage design and build procurement is providing the means to bring contractors and their suppliers into the process earlier, there is still a great deal of scope for the industry and its clients to adopt a more dynamic and collaborative approach to the preconstruction process. Doing so can reduce the risk to both the client and their supply chains and result in greater value and better quality. However, this requires significant trust and transparency––which is a problem when so many organisations still rely on email, paper, phones, and siloed software systems.

There is a better way. Leveraging technology in the preconstruction phase brings together key stakeholders––breaking down the barriers between the design and construction teams ––and enables everyone to work off a single set of information, the much talked about but all too often elusive single source of truth. Facilitating this collaboration earlier in the design and construction stages maximises efficiency and streamlines the entire process.

Data Removes The Guesswork

You’ll find that digitising your processes means you’ll be left with lots of data. And that’s just what you want.

When everyone has access to the data they need, everyone can make more informed decisions faster. Constant, up-to-date flows of information help everyone stay ahead of risk––correcting issues before they become real problems.

As you start to collect large sets of data, you begin to see patterns. With all your data in one place, you can generate project- and portfolio-level reports. Access to historical information lets you see where things went well and what went badly, so you can course-correct for the next project––building a set of best practices as you go and, more importantly, driving more predictable profits.

Why Now is the Time to Get Started

Finding efficiencies in an industry as complex as construction is not an easy task. But building a resilient company means leveraging challenging times to change what isn’t working for you anymore.

Digitising your processes now is going to make things easier in the future. Find a technology partner who understands your business needs and will stick around past the sale and past implementation. For over 20 years, Procore has worked hand-in-hand with construction businesses all over the world creating a construction management platform that connects all your people and processes throughout the entire project lifecycle. Isn’t it now time for you to join them and find a technology solution that drives efficiencies, protects your margins and helps your business thrive?