It'll give you greater control, eliminate budget blowouts and enhance productivity. Here's Frank Feustel on the benefits of adopting a digital business management solution.
When it comes to business success, new and updated technology is essential for staying ahead of competitors, generating revenue and keeping customers coming back for more. While the construction industry is known for being open to innovation in terms of building design, techniques and use of the latest building tools, there is an untapped opportunity to be just as innovative when it comes to the implementation of digital business technologies.
It's one of the largest sectors in Australia; roughly 1.1 million people are employed in the construction industry, which generates over $360 billion in revenue each year. However, alongside agriculture and transport, construction is reported to lag behind other sectors when it comes to embracing digital technologies, often due to an over-reliance on paperwork and manual data processing.
It may therefore come as no surprise that, in addition to issues like scheduling delays, builders are likely to go 10 percent over budget on average when constructing a typical residential home.
If construction is all about using the right tools for the job, this logic should also hold true for how contractors or construction managers run their businesses and projects too. Using outdated or unsuitable building tools or hardware makes it far more difficult to complete work to standard and on time. The same principle applies to digital tools and software.
Stay competitive and don’t risk being left behind
Many of the major issues affecting the construction industry are interlinked, and the processes or systems used rely too often on manual entry or disconnected management tools.
Current statistics show that only 22.5 percent of construction firms today use paid business management solutions, leaving almost 80 percent relying on a combination of free applications, non-specific software or old-fashioned paper records.
Meeting expectations of delivering quality work on time and on budget, as well as managing a workforce, projects and client experiences along the way, is a lot to juggle. Without business management tools that speak to one another, project managers and contractors may be exposing themselves unnecessarily to system breakdowns, and jeopardising future business prospects and profit margins.
Although it may seem like a big investment of time and money to transition to an online business management solution, the benefits far outweigh the risk of doing nothing. The right digital toolkit or technology stack can both cut down on admin time and provide a rich source of competitive advantage to your business.
On the other hand, failing to adopt appropriate technology could see you trail behind your competitors, lose control of large, complex projects or be exposed to falling productivity as your team struggles to keep up with the demands of the job.
At the heart of any modern, well-functioning and efficient construction firm should be a digital business management solution, like MYOB’s Advanced Construction Edition, designed especially for the industry. In a sector where speed and accuracy are highly valued, choosing a cloud-based solution is no longer just a nice add-on – it’s essential if you want your construction business to move forward.
How could your business benefit from digitisation in 2021?
According to our Business Monitor research from December, the main barriers to the uptake of digital tools cited by construction and trades businesses include: not being convinced of their value, feeling they are too confusing to set up, and not having enough time to set them up while also running projects and jobs on site.
Contrary to these views, here are three of the immediate benefits you can expect from adopting a digital business management solution.
- Real-time visibility and greater control: While planning and budgeting on paper may seem to work for simple builds, as projects scale they become more complicated and difficult to manage without the right software. Access to accurate, real-time project information is a game changer for construction managers. Quoting and time management are more effective, and it will become easier to cost new work with accurate data on past projects. You’ll also find less back and forth is required between stakeholders, as all of your project information can be found via a single source of truth that’s always up to date. This means you’ll likely make fewer mistakes too. Being able to manage workers, subcontractors, billing, payroll, compliance, and project information all via the cloud and across mobile, tablet or desktop means no longer switching between different systems or checking paperwork. You’ll see every part of your business in one place, wherever you happen to be.
- Enhanced productivity: Not using the appropriate software can be hard on your team. If your people don’t have access to the programs they need to work effectively it can be frustrating, leading to poor satisfaction levels and, in turn, productivity decline. By adopting a customisable, industry business management solution, your team can access up-to-date project information from wherever they are. Rather than spending more time at home completing paperwork after a job is done, builders and contractors can make changes as they go – on site. By eliminating double handling and time consuming data entry, productivity improves and your people are happier and focused on the main job.
- Collaboration and communication: Improved connection and communication are two further benefits of using the right digital tools for your field. It can be surprising what a difference they’ll make in your business, but when the whole team is working from one ‘source of truth’, it’s much simpler to avoid errors and miscommunication. Whether your team is split across onsite workers and office staff, or you’re managing multiple projects, you can all use the platform to stay connected throughout the day. By sharing project information openly with your team, clients, subcontractors and suppliers, you’re maximising transparency and keeping an eye on your business’ success at all times.
Despite a challenging 2020, our local construction industry continues to grow. Our Business Monitor reveals approximately 37 percent of construction and trades businesses in Australia estimate they currently have more work or sales in their pipeline over the next three months than they would usually expect, and as the industry increases in size and complexity, businesses need to be prepared to keep up.
With a focus on economic recovery and digital transformation as we head into 2021, it’s never been more critical to consider how a digital business management solution might benefit the performance of your business – boosting efficiency, enhancing productivity and managing all project elements in one place. The perfect partner to your most reliable piece of hardware, cloud project management software could fast become a new favourite in your business’s toolbox.
Frank Feustel is head of product at MYOB.