Using the Right Tech to Solve Productivity Issues in Construction

Blair Chenault
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Most workers in the industry are familiar with the need to solve productivity issues in construction that plague practically all jobs. While there are many theories related to lost productivity in the industry, it's finally becoming apparent that it's a process issue instead of a people one. This knowledge alone is leading to important changes. 

A report released in 2017 by McKinsey & Company revealed that the construction industry falls far behind other industries in the US when it comes to the adoption of technology and improved productivity. Since then, tech use in the industry has been more widely utilized with positive results. According to the 2019 USG + US Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index of 2019, 78% of contractors believe technology increases labor productivity, and 75% believe it leads to better project management.

Limited contact due to the pandemic increased the use of technology in construction, as well, with construction tech adoption reaching in one year what would have normally taken three years to achieve. But there is still much work to be done. As the nation struggles to recover from the pandemic, it's expected that the demand for activity in the construction industry will grow. For contractors, this means not only adopting technology but using it in a way that promotes efficiency and production instead of clutter and confusion.

Technology can simplify tasks and process paperwork quickly. These benefits have the potential to solve productivity issues in construction. However, if technological tools interfere with one another or the entire organization fails to work together, new tech can actually impede progress. The following tips can help contractors utilize technology in a way that improves productivity.

Use a Platform That Integrates All Essential Tasks

While technology is evolving in the construction sector, many apps and platforms can do only one thing. Even worse, multiple platforms often fail to work together, causing confusion and added manual tasks. Depending on too many apps can quickly become overwhelming and cause employees to turn away from new technology. When contractors and subs fail to agree on a localized solution, the use of multiple platforms can lead to confusion and missed communication. 

Using a cloud-based platform designed for the construction industry will allow contractors and subs to have access to the growing and changing information obtained during an ongoing project. Seek a platform that integrates with existing workflows and software tools and can perform these essential tasks:

  • Build regulatory compliance into the workflow and pay app submission process.
  • Customize documents and workflows to fit with your organizational process.
  • Automate billing reminders and document distribution.
  • Automate pay apps and lien waivers within minutes.
  • Allow e-signatures for rapid approval of pay apps and change orders.
  • Automatically route pay apps to the right person.
  • Predefine contract amounts and retainage terms.
  • Automatically check for errors and other common billing mistakes.

Take Advantage of Automation to Solve Productivity Issues in Construction Processes

Contractor and subcontractor communicating about a construction project

When most people think of construction, tools and heavy equipment come to mind. But contractors and subcontractors know that construction projects are drowning in essential paperwork. From preparing to place a bid until project completion, every step of a construction job requires countless documents and forms. When these documents go missing or include errors, that delays the payment process. Delayed payments can lead to limited funds to keep the project moving forward.

Construction billing software from Flashtract provides contractors and subs with methods that automatically check for math errors and prevent other common billing mistakes. It accomplishes this by tracking retainage, rolling from previous values, and generating accurate lien waivers. Other automatable tasks include lien waivers, pay app reminders, and standardized documents. The ability to automate cumbersome tasks frees up your employees to take on tasks that software can't complete.

Keep It Simple

Advanced features and complex algorithms are a part of what keeps technology moving forward. But they can create productivity issues in construction projects on the job site. Software used to streamline pay apps and billing processes should make submitting paperwork easier instead of more complicated. Construction software should have a clean, user-friendly interface and be accessible across a variety of devices. 

Determine how much training your team needs for the new system. Then consider the cost of investing in training for the entire staff. Lastly, consider a technology solution that a variety of subcontractors (who might not work on every project with your organization) can easily adopt. 

Improve Communication

Many of the productivity issues in construction come from poor communication and failure to correlate schedules. Change orders and delayed payments can create unexpected delays in a project. Without the ability to communicate these delays, subcontractors lose time waiting for a site to be properly prepared. Technology can work to pinpoint and solve productivity issues in construction. Cloud-based construction billing software can improve communication in these ways:

  • Allowing contractors and subs to share documents securely
  • Utilizing e-signatures to approve changes and pay apps
  • Sharing schedule changes
  • Creating clearer contracts
  • Creating standardized documents that an entire organization can use

Focus on Organizational Improvement to Solve Productivity Issues in Construction

Construction is not an isolated occupation. While striving for individual improvement is always a good idea, a single worker's improvement can't be depended on for the entire organization's productivity. 

When construction software is utilized in a conformed way across an entire project, the result is a more streamlined process that increases overall productivity. By implementing a strategy that begins at the foundation of your organization, it's easy to bring subcontractors on board with a platform that's easy to adopt. Not only does this mean uniform production increases, but these solutions also grow with your company.

Utilizing technology is proving to be a leading way to solve productivity issues in construction. Focusing on technology designed to target specific contractor pain points can accelerate the process even more. Save countless hours a week per project for general contractors, and make the end of the month manageable with Flashtract's pay app solutions

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