Contractors Tackle Significant Challenges
By Cecilia Padilla
In the construction market, there is stiff competition between contractors
when bidding for jobs. What sets one company apart from another is the
accuracy and timeliness of the estimate submittal. Also, the market is
dictating an increase in the overall number of bid submissions, leaving room
for errors that place the win ratio at risk. A company’s bid presentation
needs to be professional and easily digestible. Many companies are working
with a smaller estimating department—at least smaller than what they may
have had 5+ years ago. This means contractors are bidding more jobs to
increase or sustain win ratios. In order for estimators to bid more jobs in
less time, companies are turning to construction automation software. There
are a number of reasons why automation is valuable to contractors, including
the ability to identify changes and modifications to the plans easily and
quickly, resulting in saved time and a major decrease in costly mistakes.
Many contractors are turning to construction software providers to help them
focus on the bottom line throughout the project lifecycle.
Another advantage to automation is that it supports contractors who decide
to focus their efforts towards the building green initiative. Electronic
plans are easily loaded into the software, resulting in huge saving by
eliminating printing costs. A contractor no longer has to pay a print shop
hundreds of dollars to print out plans for a job that they may not even win.
Instead of plan being physically stored for future reference in a company’s
warehouse; electronic plans can reside on a server or computer hard drive
for access years from now without any deterioration in quality.
Quickly Receive Material Quotes
It is imperative that contractors are able to easily reach out to
suppliers to receive up-to-date pricing. Submitting an estimate with
outdated pricing can result in losing the job to a competitor, or worse,
winning the job and realizing as the job progresses that money is being
lost. By choosing the right estimating automation solution, contractors can
avoid this headache. For example, a solution that allows contractors to send
out an electronic request within the bid itself to suppliers of their choice
is a great advantage. Suppliers fill out their pricing through an online
form and then electronically submit the pricing back to the contractor. The
contractor is then able to seamlessly import accurate pricing into the bid
and is able to update the master pricing of the items for future bids
without ever having to pick up the phone to spend endless hours in tracking
down the suppliers and prices.
Many contractors are using manufacturer specific assemblies within the
automation software package to quickly bid similar jobs. This is a great
time saving feature that gives contractors the winning edge against
companies that are either doing things manually or using a solution that
does not meet all their business needs.
Jobsite Access to Automation
There has been a gradual industry shift towards accessing information
wherever the contractor might be—office, field, or somewhere in between. The
outcome of this shift is using tablets in the field. The increased usage of
tablet technology at the jobsite has resulted in major time saving and
improved communications. In the field, the foreman or the project manager
now has access to the latest set of plans, revisions, and change orders. The
ease of communication between the field and office has many benefits.
Through the use of cameras within the tablets, the foreman can easily
document safety concerns or issues that can hinder the job from completing
on time. Such daily logs help the contractors stay on budget, while
monitoring and rectifying the obstacles that can cause the project to lag.
Contractors are using tablets in the field to digitally sign contracts,
instantly enter payroll hours, fill out progress reports, capture and
organize photos of the project, as well as line out the crew while
identifying the daily scope of work.
To sum up the effect of automation on contractors, getting the right
information to the right individuals at the right time will result in making
the right decisions for accuracy and success.
Cecilia Padilla, CEO of On Center Software, Inc. is an internationally
known expert in the construction industry. She serves on the firm’s
executive Vision Team, a think tank for the future of construction
Mrs. Padilla is a respected estimator and project manager in the drywall
industry. Mrs. Padilla’s expertise spans 25 years in drywall, light- and
heavy-gauge framing, lath and plaster, EIFS, fireproofing-themed facades,
and acoustical ceilings. Her passion for the industry is best observed
during her numerous speaking engagements around the world. Mrs. Padilla
speaks with owners, architects, general contractors, estimators and project
managers in the industry to understand their challenges and issues. This
first-hand knowledge of construction is the foundation for On Center
Software’s customer focused business model. Contact information for On