Construction projects are quite different in nature than other projects. So they come with a different set of challenges –
Table of contents1. How construction progress monitoring typically happens1.1 Shortcomings of ERP2. Which simple tools can be used2.1 Emails2.2 Spreadsheets2.3 Shared Folders2.4 Online Forms3 Automation workflows to connect construction progress monitoring tools3.1 Using Fuzen for progress monitoring automation in construction projects
Before any digital tools, progress monitoring was mostly done manually for construction projects. Then computers and spreadsheets came to be utilized. But these spreadsheets were still quite basic tools in the early days of computers.
Eventually, construction businesses started to look for more sophisticated digital solutions to track the important aspects of their businesses. And the most important part of any business is cash flow.
So accounting and ERP software is among the earliest and most commonly used software tools in the construction industry.
Even today, most finance related aspects are managed using a decade old ERP software packages in most construction companies.
Despite its effectiveness in tracking all financial matters, ERP may not be the best suited to track the ground level work in a construction project, because –
Because ERP platforms can be too heavy or complex, most construction project teams still manage their work using – emails, spreadsheets and shared folders.
Why? Because they are so very simple to use.
Despite the availability of messenger tools like slack or Microsoft Teams, email remains the most popular communication channel in construction projects.
Spreadsheet is one of the earliest digital tools to be accepted in business environments. Even today it is as popular as it ever was. There are good reasons for this seemingly ever lasting popularity.
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Shared drives were initially limited to the intranet within an office. But over the last few years, online file sharing, cloud based ‘storage+collaboration’ platforms have become very common.
Documents like engineering drawings, BOQs, purchase orders, work contracts etc. are the backbone of any construction project. Moreover these documents are created, reviewed and approved by different stakeholders. So a lot of collaboration goes into them. Shared folders make it possible to easily collaborate on these document and drawing files.
A typical construction project is executed by a team scattered across different locations and business functions – engineering design, purchase, site workers, sub-contractors, project managers etc.
They need to regularly share a lot of information with each other. Emails and shared folders enable that to certain extent. But emails and folders are not well structured channels for gathering inputs.
For example, when a bunch of engineering drawings are sent in an email or put in a folder, someone will need to personally read each file to check which floor or area that drawing belongs to.
But if they are submitted via a form which has different file upload fields for different floors, the structuring or filing organization is automatically achieved.
The simplicity of emails and spreadsheets makes them very effective for work management at individual level. But that may not scale up well for progress monitoring at the project level. This is primarily due to the disconnected nature of these tools.
Emails, spreadsheets, shared folders work very well on their own. But since they are not directly connected to each other, there is no easy way to capture the information in an email and put it in a spreadsheet. Someone has to manually do it.
For example, you send the work order for a painting job to the subcontractor in an email. But then you need to go to the cost tracking spreadsheet and once again enter the subcontractor details, job value, start date, order no etc. manually in that spreadsheet.
In summary, the disconnected nature of these simple tools causes a lot of manual rework, bringing down the overall efficiency of your project team.
But if you connect these same tools with automated workflows, that will create a user friendly yet highly efficient system for monitoring progress in construction projects.
Let’s see how we can do that.
Fuzen.io is a dedicated platform for connecting your simple work management tools with customized workflows. You can use fuzen to connect your Gmail, Google spreadsheets, Google Drive folders and Google forms to create a well integrated, automated construction progress monitoring solution.
In fact, we have a solution template that you can install within your Google Drive with a single click. This template comes with default progress monitoring workflows for construction projects.
These workflows are 100% flexible. We can customize them to exactly fit into your established work practices. With Fuzen, you can turn your Google Drive account into a full fledged construction project management solution.
You can try it out for free and then buy it only if you find it useful.
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