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Why is Paper Still Killing Profits for Construction Companies?

by | Sep 14, 2020 | Business Advice, Construction Industry, Productivity

Despite our modern digital landscape, nearly 40% of construction companies are still using paper documents for plans, reports, change orders, and punch lists. If you’re one of those companies, you’re missing out on a lot of potential profit.

Paper documents do nothing but hinder your company’s workflow. It wastes time for teams and many times results in unnecessary rework, which cuts into your bottom line.

According to an ENR Survey, most construction companies send their guys to the job site with mobile devices. Why not utilize the technology you already have to ensure that documentation is current and accessible across the board?

Implementing a universal digital system like Microsoft SharePoint is a manageable change that has a huge positive impact on your company.

 

How Paper Kills Profitability

Using paper in our digital world is akin to using a hammer to knock down a building when you have a more efficient bulldozer on hand. It just doesn’t make sense.

Even from a purely budgetary standpoint, using paper is an unneeded expense. Why continually pay for paper, ink, printing equipment, and copier/printer troubleshooting support when you can get the same information on a digital device? Going paperless is much cheaper just based on that and we haven’t even started talking about how it will create more productive time for your team.

With paper, you have to consider how those paper drawings, change orders, punch lists, and other documents are being handled and distributed. Your teams have to make copies, keep files organized, and search for the right drawings. It might not seem like much, but those minutes add up.

Saving just 5 minutes per day for each of your workers can boost labor productivity by 1%. Imagine how much work could get done if they could access the documents they need from one organized digital space.

On top of all of that, there’s the issue of changes to the original plans. The part that really kills your profitability as you know is the rework. Project adjustments happen all of the time. When you’re using paper documents, you run the risk of experiencing coordination issues between old plans and new ones.

This is one of the biggest profit killers that come with paper documents. If your team is using an outdating drawing to complete your project, you’re going to have to spend extra money correcting the issues. That rework will completely destroy the project’s profitability.

 

Compliance

These days, having a digital system is almost necessary to meet compliance standards. And before you say I’m not under any compliance you should take two things into consideration. First, if I became compliant today what additional jobs would I be able to bid for? Would you also be able to add in some business you were able to get before? And second, compliance is coming for everyone. There are already states compliance laws that are far more reaching then you would think. With all the data breaches and concern over privacy, we project in the next 10 years all businesses will be under some form of compliance.

 

Fighting Off Litigation

No one wants to get attorneys involved ever. It is a huge headache and a big hit in the pocket. Using a digital system like SharePoint help your company out should relationships with clients, contractors, or partners ever go sour. The “he said she said” can be put in check with timestamps, meeting notes, and everyone working off of the same versions of documents.

In the event that disputes progress to litigation, having digital documents in one searchable environment can help your legal counsel power through eDiscovery and plead your case. But even before that, a system like SharePoint can assist you during negotiations of settlements, thanks to real-time updates and detailed logging features, there’s no question about agreements, timeframes, or responsibilities.

A document management system can save you a lot of headaches and help deescalate disputes before they turn into expensive legal problems.

Paperless Construction Worker

 

The Benefits of a Digital Document System

Ultimately, a paperless document system can eliminate a lot of the money-wasting issues that come with using paper documents. It’s a small and manageable change that will serve to eliminate waste, improve productivity, and increase profits.

These systems keep all of your important documents in a secure digital space. Documents are updated in real-time, eliminating the risk of your teams working on outdated plans. It ensures that everyone is following the same version and prevents your teams from missing crucial documents like change orders and punch lists. This goes for people outside of your organization as well. If you are working with another contractor, design firm, or engineering group everyone can work out of the same documents without adding to licensing costs. Collaboration among these teams will be seamless and instant, which can change the way your company completes projects for the better. Doing this will cut back on rework and keep every member of the team and outside contributors on the same page.

 

Implementing a Paperless System

We understand the hesitation of going all digital. However, this change is not as difficult as many think. There’s a good chance that you already have the technology and software available to you.

The first step is to check your Microsoft licensing. If you’re already using the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, you may have had access to SharePoint all along. And no it’s time to start using it.

From there, it’s just about training your team and building a strategy for company-wide adoption.

The benefits your team and company will experience are well worth the transition. Like any of your construction projects changing to a digital system or moving to a new digital system will need to be thought through and made into small milestones throughout the transition to ensure that all of your people are on board. Digital systems are more efficient and reliable than old-fashioned paper, but if the team doesn’t adopt them you will find yourself still burning time and profit.

After your team adopts the new way of accessing and working with documents, you’ll start seeing noticeable improvements. And as a reminder, saving your workers only five minutes every day can result in a one percent increase in labor productivity. Done right, you will see a much larger return than that.

Need Help?

Need a professional IT strategy for your construction company? We here at Spot Migration have helped companies just like yours see positive change and more profits.

We have helped companies in the construction industry become more efficient than ever. Right now, we’re working with companies that have seen 5+ percent increases in productivity.

Schedule a call with us to talk about how we can help you with your IT strategy.

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