How to make the most of construction project management software

by | Oct 12, 2022

Creating a project plan and schedule can be challenging, but it’s easy compared to turning a project vision into reality. As a way to make it easier, a slew of construction project management software has emerged. Products like Microsoft Project, PlanGrid and Procore immediately come to mind, and it’s not unheard of to see three or four project management solutions within the same company. After a plan is baseline, each requires lots of data entry, primarily from jobsite daily logs, to match actual to planned work. Project management software is in the 21st century, but job site technology often is not, especially when it comes to filling out the daily log, still a largely paper-based process requiring manual data entry.

Since the daily log is the pulse on the project, it makes sense to streamline and automate the process. In other words, bring it into the 21st century. And then integrate it with construction project management software so that the data flows seamlessly. For the person or people responsible for data entry, this is a significant time saver. For the general contractor (GC), that time savings and timely data helps steer projects to greater profitability.

There are lots of project management software solutions available, but not all are the right fit for each GC or even each project. Here are three considerations when selecting a construction project management solution:

  1.         How easily it integrates with other software you’re using. As more technology is introduced in the office and the field, there is more data that can impact the progress and profitability of a project. The insight from this data should be easy to import into the project management solution.
  1.         How tech savvy your team is. If employees are not comfortable with the interface of safety check in app, making it part of their daily routine is going to be an uphill battle. While there’s a learning curve with most project management software, and you can incentivize key personnel to become adept at using it, some solutions are easier to master than others.
  1.         Total cost. It’s not just how much you’re paying for the software, it’s how much of your employees’ time is spent training, using and managing it compared to how much value it provides.  

Once you’ve determined the right construction project management software, it’s time to take a closer look at the dated processes being used on job sites. One of the more recent shifts has been the increasing use of digital check-in in the field. It started as a way to conduct private health screenings during the pandemic and eliminate paper logs. But now that this technology has been around for over a year, project managers are seeing additional benefits as well, specifically, to replace paper-based project management updates from daily logs. Immediate benefits include reconciling hours worked against plan, validating invoices, and always knowing who is or was on a job site, even uploading pictures of a job’s status or a worker’s vaccination card.

According to Brian Junginger, construction litigation attorney at McInerney & Dillon, “The information gained from digital check-in apps is critical in providing accurate information to OSHA investigators and insurance companies. It also provides necessary information to company management to prevent future similar accidents.”

GCs realized that by eliminating paper processes, they’re improving safety by replacing them with digital records. According to Kasey Duffy, senior business analyst at Pepper Construction, “Knowing who is or was on your job site is vital for safety, compliance and liability protection. Digital check-in is a critical safety tool that we’ll continue to use after the pandemic.”

Given how much insight is now being digitized and collected from the job site, it only makes sense to integrate check-in data with construction project management app. Digital data at both HQ and the field is how construction will achieve the productivity needed to build better in the next decade.

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