The construction industry is seeing a steady increase in innovative and sustainable buildings. But the productivity problem of the industry continues. The productivity rate of construction firms has been almost flat for almost a decade.
A lack of efficient processes in place, poor organization, and ineffective risk management results in 98% of construction projects overrunning their budget and timeline.
Other industries are digitizing to improve their productivity, efficiency, and overall organization. But construction leaders all around the world are falling behind. According to MGI’s Industry Digitization Index, construction is one of the least growing sectors, as seen in the graph below.
Image Source: Digital America: A Tale Of The Haves And Have-Mores
If you are in the construction sector, you need to take immediate action. To drive profitability and keep up with the increase in the scale of your projects, you need to start using construction project management software.
A web or cloud-based project management software will bring increased control and efficiency to your construction projects.
How is Your Business Suffering Without Construction Management Software?
What are the various tasks you have to take care of before a construction project starts?
Some of the most important tasks before fieldwork starts are –
- Discussing project requirements with the client and sending your proposal
- Creating bid estimates
- Finding the right subcontractors
- Negotiating the scope of work, terms, and conditions with subcontractors
- Creating contractor agreements with defined payment terms, the scope of work, and project timeline
- Contacting vendors and ordering the required materials and tools
- Leasing equipment such as forklifts, tractors, and safety tools as needed
- Generating and managing purchase orders and invoices
- Keeping track of the project budget
As you can see, even before the actual construction starts, there are a lot of processes to take care of. Therefore it is very important to streamline these processes to ensure a smooth and efficient project that completes on time.
There are unnecessary delays and losses if you use a paper-based system in such an environment. Just sending a bid estimation to the customer would take you days. In our fast-paced world, there is no time to waste.
With a web-based construction project management system, you will be-
- ✔️ Speeding up your entire workflow
- ✔️ Making your business processes more efficient
- ✔️ Increasing the productivity of your employees
- ✔️ Creating a better workplace for your employees
- ✔️ Saving money in the long run
So a digital transformation is a great step for all construction companies. Right?
No. According to the 2020 FMI Industry Report, the construction industry is finding it tough to move its processes to a digital platform. The respondents stated these reasons for their dissatisfaction with construction project management software –
- It was difficult for employees to adapt to it and use it daily
- Did not integrate with existing systems
- There was no saved time
- Lacked mobile accessibility
Although there is a lot of top-rated construction management software available like Procore and Fieldwire, many companies are reluctant to use them. Similarly, our client was hesitant to use these products.
Being the owner of a roofing construction and installation company, he wanted to avoid the many problems of ready-made solutions mentioned above. So he approached us to develop a custom web solution specifically designed to his requirements which were –
- Ease of use – He required web software that his employees could readily learn and use in their daily work life.
- Increased efficiency and speed – The web solution would increase their efficiency and speed up the various business processes like creating a bid or selecting a vendor.
- Integrable – The web solution would easily integrate with their other systems.
- Scalable – The web solution should scale to work with bigger projects. Also, more stakeholders can be added later on if required without affecting the performance of the software.
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In this case study, we discuss how we developed custom software for construction project management for our client.
Manage Your Construction Projects With A Single Web App
In the construction industry, most projects work on a ‘get it done’ philosophy. There are a hundred tasks in a project, and there is always something to be completed on priority.
As a construction manager, you are always trying to finish tasks on time. You are in charge of budgeting, scheduling, planning, and supervising the whole project.
So when we started building the construction software, our goal was to develop software that ensures clear visibility of the entire construction project at all times. With complete transparency and control over the whole project, productivity and efficiency are bound to increase.
We have integrated modules for all the different departments and stakeholders of our client’s business. So as a project manager, you will be able to collaborate with multiple departments through a single platform.
So before we understand the many features of the web application, let’s discuss the various technologies used to develop the construction management software.
- PHP and Yii2 for a performative, clean codebase: PHP provides the scalability and performance that business automation solutions require. PHP is also perfect for developing robust web software that efficiently supports 300-400 users. Out of all PHP frameworks, the Yii2 framework is reusable and integrable due to its component-based architecture.
- MySQL for hassle-free data management: We needed a database system that ensured data privacy and security as we were dealing with highly sensitive data. MySQL is cost-effective and fully accessible, which made it our first choice for this project.
- T2 Medium-AWS Server for managing real-time data: The web project management app is going to be used simultaneously by a lot of employees. In addition, it will also require handling a lot of real-time data. So we decided to leverage the T2 Medium server of AWS, which provides high performance while handling multiple users.
When you start a project, you have to input the basic details into the project management software. Some of the details you add in are –
- Client details
- Property details
- Team members
- Insurance details
- Payment bonds
- Images of the property
The other important thing that you add is – the stage of the project. Your team uses the construction management software for a lot of different goals depending on the stage the construction project is in.
For instance, when the project is in the pre-sales phase, i.e., when a salesperson is trying to get the project, you require minimal data. Like what the client wants, their budget, and details about the property. This means you store bid estimates and proposals in the web application.
But as the project progresses to the construction stage, more data and documents will be added. Jobs will be scheduled, subcontractors will be hired, and will be leased. All these details will be collated in a single place.
Let’s look at all the different stages and how the web application helps you manage the project in each stage.
- Bidding: In the bidding stage, the estimators prepare bids and proposals for potential clients. We built an automated bid estimation system to simplify the whole bid creation process. As an estimator, you just have to select the required materials, equipment, and labour you require for the project, and the software will take care of the rest. Then, generate a bid estimate, mail it to the client or your supervisors, and set a follow-up reminder.
- Follow-up: Every salesman knows that you cannot get a client from a single meeting. Instead, you need to continuously follow up and provide them with attractive offers each time. But if you are the in-charge of a lot of clients, follow-ups can be tough. Here, web project management software will be helpful.It will send periodic reminders when you need to follow up with a client, along with notes on what you need to do. For example, send them a revised bid, offer an additional discount, or provide a detailed project proposal.
- Sold: Once the project is sold and contracted to your company, it is time to assign a project manager. The manager will then create purchase orders from the bid estimates and procure the required materials. He will hire subcontractors, create agreements and prepare a timeline and a detailed schedule.All of this is a part of our custom project management web application. You can add the insurance information, set up a payroll for the labourers, upload permits and other relevant documents so everything is secure and visible to all the stakeholders.
- In-progress: Finally, the project is in the construction phase. Now the project manager has to ensure coordination and supervision to ensure everything is going according to schedule.It is easier to supervise construction projects with this project management software. The client gets scheduled invoices; all the crew members are on an automated payroll and detailed work reports that help with quality control.
- Completed: Once the project is done and dusted, all the data accumulated throughout the project is not going to be used. But all of this data is still important for future analysis and getting business insights. Therefore, all the project details will be stored in the database. Property details and the contacts of the subcontractors and vendors will be stored in the database so that it will be helpful in your future construction projects.
Track & Manage Your Sales Process: Leads, Bids, and Reports
As a sales manager, it is important to be on top of your sales goals. You have to keep track of all your team members and the clients they are handling. So we designed a different menu dashboard for the sales team.
For instance, the image above shows the dashboard of a sales representative, ‘Inej Wesely’, and a graph of her sales. As you can see, it is extremely easy to use and understand.
With a clean and simple-to-navigate design, the sales dashboard shows 4 categories for projects.
It shows projects that are in the pre-sale phase. Includes subcategories – Follow-up, Bidding, Verbal/Low Bid.
The number of projects and revenue generated from the projects that are currently in construction. Subcategories include – Sold, In Progress, Close Out.
You get to check the number of projects completed this year.
This category is especially added for the kind of projects that are not going anywhere. Projects that are currently paused due to insufficient funds or permit issues, or some other reasons.
With a glance, you get an overview of all your projects – ongoing and completed. For more information, you can click on the category and get a detailed list of all the projects in it.
But that is not all. As a manager, just keeping track of projects is not enough. You also have to analyze and adjust your sales strategies continuously to maximize your sales.
So with this custom construction management software, you get detailed reports about each salesperson, branch, and even the whole organization.
As seen in the image above, you will be able to get detailed reports of the whole organization. You can filter out particular branches or compare the performance of two branches.
The software is intuitive and presents all the data in a readable and understandable way using graphs. So you will be able to analyze, compare and make informed decisions to increase your leads and sales.
But suppose you want to look at individual performances or compare the sales of two salespeople. It’s simple. Just filter out the employee you want to oversee and get a detailed analysis of their sales goals, the projects they are working on, their completed projects.
Are You Facing Challenges in Your Sales Process?
A sales management software will help you streamline your sales process and increase your productivity. We have recently developed a custom sales management software.
Generate & Manage Legal Documents in a Safe and Secure Way
A construction project requires many proposals, agreements, and contracts. There are documents shared between your company and the client, your suppliers, vendors, and subcontractors.
All these documents require negotiating and revising before they are finalized. If you follow the manual paper system, this can become cumbersome. Documents take a long time to revise, you can not revert to previous revisions, and sometimes documents can also get lost.
While designing this custom web solution, we included a document management module that lets the client generate and manage legal documents. With ready-made templates, all the stakeholders can easily and quickly generate contracts.
Whether it is a proposal for your client or a budget report, all documents related to the project are uploaded and stored digitally in the project management application. So there is no confusion or loss of data.
The documents you can add to the project page are –
- Purchase orders
- Subcontractor agreements
- Reports: Budget reports, Labour reports
- Bid estimates
- Other legal documents – permits, tax exemptions, payment bonds, builder’s risk policy, owner’s liability policy, and insurance claim documents.
For instance, the above image shows all the documents of a project ‘New Roof For Alex Industries’. This way, the project manager or construction manager will be able to manage the flow of all documents and files, no matter how big the project grows.
But if managing these many documents is a hassle, what about creating it? Being a web development company, we also regularly have back-and-forth before a contract is finalized. So we understand how much time is required to create these documents repetitively.
So we also decided to streamline the document generation and revising process with this project management software.
We added a simple click-and-select process to create contracts. The legal team at the client’s company helped us create custom templates for different types of legal documents.
Now any employee, part of the legal department or not, can generate a contract in minutes using these templates. All they have to do is select the relevant templates, make any changes if necessary, and fill in some basic details about the project. The contract is ready in just 3-5 minutes, as shown in the image below.
This process is followed for all contracts – subcontractors, clients, vendors, and builders. It is also the same process that the sales and accounts team follows to create bid estimates, budget reports, and purchase orders.
Let’s look at the accounts department a little more closely and analyze how the project management tool helps companies manage their finances.
Manage Your Finances in a Single Place: POs, Invoices, and More
When you are handling a construction project trying to coordinate between multiple stakeholders, finances can take a hit. A single misplaced purchase order or an invoice generated too late can backset the whole project.
Therefore, our client wanted to use the project management tool to also keep track of their finances. We created a module so that all the purchase orders, invoices, and bills were generated and stored securely on the database. Authorized users like the accounts manager would be able to access all these documents at any time.
An automated invoicing system will generate and mail invoices to the required email addresses. So you can select the kind of payment plan you have fixed with your client – weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or create a custom one. Then create an invoice from the invoicing templates and save it. Now the system will automatically generate an invoice on the due date and email it to the required authorities.
Similarly, the labourers and crew members can be put on automated payroll. So your accounts team just has to verify the calculated wages. They don’t have to calculate commissions, deductions, or overtime for each crew member.
But that is not all. Along with tracking and automating payments and document generation, this project management web application removes repetitive work for your employees.
Let’s understand this with an example.
When a project starts, one of your estimators creates a detailed bid based on the client’s requirements. The bid is accepted, and you get the project. Now you have to start working on getting the raw materials and leasing the required equipment.
But the estimator has already mentioned all the raw materials required for that project in the bid. So why will another team member waste time and sit and order each of these materials?
With the system we created, no one needs to list out all the cement and bricks you require and order them. Generate purchase orders from the bid and place an order for all the required materials. Select the vendor you want and send a professional-looking purchase order to them.
Keep All Your Vendors and Subcontractors Within Touch
Another important aspect of the construction industry – your subcontractors. A large number of construction contracts require hiring subcontractors. But managing subcontractors out of excel sheets is messy and tough.
Therefore, we created a directory of subcontractors to easily and quickly find the right subcontractor for a job. We digitized each subcontractor our client’s company had worked with in the past. We assigned the main service and the sub-services that each subcontractor provides. So when you are looking for a Cement layering job, just search ‘cement’, and you will get a list of all the subcontractors in an instant.
An added feature? Reviews. You can write reviews and rate a subcontractor after the project is over. This way, other project managers will be able to choose better subcontractors for future projects.
Similarly, we also created a vendor management directory. All the vendors you work with are listed in a single place.
With the vendor and subcontractor directories, you are able to quickly and efficiently manage these two important stakeholders of your construction projects. You have contact details, your agreement documents, and the payment bonds, all collected in a single place. There is complete transparency to ensure that there are no data disputes.
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Key Benefits of A Custom Construction Project Management Software
This project management software was designed and developed specifically for the client. It is optimized for their company process and requirements. To digitize their various business processes cohesively, it was important to completely understand how they function. Our development team spent time learning their workflow before designing the software.
This is the most important advantage of using custom-built solutions instead of off-the-shelf products – it is designed specifically for solving your business problems.
Other benefits you will get by investing in custom software for construction project management are –
Streamlines Your Business Processes
Get High Scalability
Security of Your Data Ensured
With custom project management software for the construction business, you will be able to specifically address the problems you are facing and streamline them. With a targeted solution, your productivity and efficiency both will increase with time.
When your business grows, you need a solution that scales with you. Handling bigger projects, supporting more of your employees, or adding new functionalities can be tough with ready-made construction management tools. But with custom software, your developers can build a scalable solution from scratch.
In this world, information is one of the highest currencies. It is important to ensure the security and privacy of your data. When you work with web development companies to develop a custom project management system, you can ensure that the highest security measures are taken care of.
Moreover, no third-party app will own your data when you build a custom solution. This guarantees the confidentiality of all your data.
So what are you waiting for?
Develop Your Project Management Solution Today
Why do repetitive work when a software can do it for you?
Develop a custom project management software that automates and streamlines your business processes. Benefits?
- Enhanced workplace productivity
- Higher efficiency rates
- Your employees will be able to focus on tasks that really matter
Contact us and get a free consultation and a personalized quote without any fees or commitments. Let’s discuss and design a custom solution to solve your business challenges.