How Connectivity Makes or Breaks Profitability for Construction Companies
If you have been reading our previous articles you should know that adopting a central communication and document management framework is a step in the right direction for better profitability. It can streamline your construction business and keep everyone on the same page. But, what if your team can’t access your network when they need it most?
Network downtime has a massive impact on your company’s profitability. Connection issues cut your field team off, essentially leaving them in the dark. While everyone in your business uses your network, your guys on the field are the ones that are most affected by downtime. They rely on up-to-date change orders and punch lists to work. When access to those crucial documents is taken away, you’re wasting time and flushing money down the drain.
To avoid profit-killing problems, you need to develop a business continuity plan and a real IT strategy that protects your company in the event of network problems.
The Problem with Network Downtime
According to a 2014 study by Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is over $5,000 per minute. Every minute that your team can’t access the documents they need, you’re losing money and decreasing the overall profitability of the project.
Think about how your field guys use your network. Chances are, they have a smartphone or tablet to access plans, communicate with the office, and get updated on any changes that may occur. The network is their lifeline. They use it to guide the things they do on each job they work on.
When that lifeline is down, your guys have nothing to do but sit and wait around. Depending on the problem at hand, network outages can last hours. This is going to push your project’s timeline back significantly. Already, the dollar signs start adding up.
Not only are you paying your workers to burn time, but you may end up having to foot the bill for overtime when your project goes beyond schedule. Meanwhile, there’s nothing you can do but twiddle your thumbs and wait.
Wasting just 5 minutes per worker a day results in a 1% decrease in labor productivity. Now imagine how much productivity will drop with major connection issues.
Without access to those documents, your team is left in the dark. You’re a sitting duck with nothing to do but deal with the frustration of your workers. That’s not exactly the hallmarks of motivation for your team.
They could attempt to continue working, but then they run the risk of doing things wrong. Changes happen all of the time in the construction industry. If you try to work from memory or outdated plans, there’s a good chance that things are going to be done not exactly to the job specifics, and rework will be required.
Once again, you’re just killing the project’s profitability. All that time and money spent on rework is just going to harm your company’s bottom line even further.
On top of all of that, network issues could affect your team in the office, too. Connection issues could result in the loss of digital work. Your in-office team will have to spend time and money redoing all of that work and making it available to your field guys again. While not as pricey as the rework on a job site, there are still unnecessary costs involved.
Preparing for Network Issues
There are two scenarios that need to be addressed when thinking about network uptime. The first question is how your systems are set up for general day-to-day connectivity. Many issues that are seen repetitively can be fixed just by changing how the network is configured or the devices being used. It could be as simple as you are just a few settings or a properly sized piece of equipment away from connectivity bliss. We have seen companies having great equipment, but it just wasn’t configured correctly.
The second question you need to answer is what happens if your internet service provider (ISP) goes down? Even with the most trusted ISP, the occasional downtime is an inevitable problem that you’re going to have to deal with at some point. It could be a storm that knocked down some trees or another construction company accidentally cutting a line. While network providers strive for the highest uptime ratings possible, no ISP is perfect. Rather than letting network downtime hurt your bottom line, why not prepare for the worst-case scenario?
When your guys are ready to work, it’s not right to let them sit around and burn money. With an effective IT strategy, you can continue working regardless of the state of your usual network. Creating a backup system is not difficult, yet it’ll make a world of difference in terms of profits and productivity.
Here Is What You Can Do
Start by checking the configuration of your network. You will need someone with some technical skills to do this. Chances are, your devices will need adjustment to ensure that they can continue accessing your network.
Then, you’ll need a business continuity plan. There are several routes you can take here to make sure that things continue running smoothly in the office and on the field. You could develop a plan to use a backup server, a separate emergency Internet line, or both. Once your continuity plan is in place, you can test your network and device configurations and get the peace of mind you’re after.
If you need some assistance creating your business continuity plan, contact us at Spot Migration. We know all too well how network downtime can kill your profits.
We’ve helped many construction companies develop an efficient IT strategy to limit downtime, prevent rework, and eliminate profit-killing network issues. Give us a call to book a consultation. We’ll help you develop and implement a real solution that you can rely on.