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D4COST Software


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 Submitting an estimate with outdated pricing can result in losing the job to a competitor, or worse, winning the job and realizing as the job progresses that money is being lost.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 automation.

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 Center Software.

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