From pre-construction to close-out, a lot of companies are taking a step back to see how they can improve, not just in the extraordinary circumstances of the past year but moving forward into the “new normal”.
Bottom-line: efficient and responsive workflows have become even more critically important.
So, first and foremost, what is a construction workflow?
Workflows are abundant in the construction industry and vary depending upon what your company does specifically. But, in a nutshell, workflows are the coordination of tasks between people in an organization. They include the passing of data and information, and the action that is required based on that data. They also usually follow a hierarchy of approvals and privileges based upon job description. But the goal is that they are optimized to maximize profits within the organization. Examples could include the accounts payable process, payroll processing, the submittal process, RFIs and close-out. The workflow is basically, “how do we get from point A to point B?”
But, as simple as those sound, a lot of companies have found a lot of ways to improve on these processes. When looking closely, there are usually a lot of inefficiencies, redundancies, and opportunities to improve the quality of work. All of these can lead to completing work in a timelier manner, using fewer resources, and resulting in happier customers, and ultimately more profit.
Where are the problems?
While every business is different, the workflow problems are usually very similar. In fact, they almost always fall into one of three areas.
- Communication: As mentioned above, one of the main parts of a construction workflow is the passing of data and information. Without a smooth and efficient means of data transmission and communication, whether in the field or back office, your workflow will not be optimized.
- Data Management: If your data is not in a centralized, accessible location, silos are created within your business and workflows become redundant. Not only is this inefficient, but it can lead to missing, incomplete, or incorrect information being communicated through the workflow.
- Visibility: When workflows are “enclosed”, it is difficult to keep track of where you are in the process. To ensure that your team is on the same page, they need transparency into the workflow and the progression of events.
Stop for a moment and think about your company’s many workflows. Can you think of places where there are breakdowns in any of these areas? The good news is that these breakdowns can be fixed.