Construction workflow insights: 5 things to know

Today’s most significant project hurdles often have nothing to do with work on the jobsite. The prevalence of construction management technology has led to a boom in construction productivity but has created another problem—Data and workflow hitches are hampering project management processes and creating chaos for project executives.

To try to understand the state of construction workflows and how organizations are managing their processes, the Foundry MarketPulse 2022 survey asked leaders from over a hundred AEC organizations about the current state of their workflows and how they experience digital tools day-to-day. Here are 5 insights from construction leaders to know to understand the state of digital construction tools and how leading organizations are adapting their workflows.

1. The primary business challenge is a lack of visibility

An inability to see data easily is clearly the most pressing technology issue facing construction companies. When asked about their primary business challenges, 70% of construction firms agreed that lack of visibility into materials availability and delivery status is the number one challenge they face.

With numerous moving parts needing to align for construction projects to finish on time and within budget, the lack of visibility in certain project areas is a cause of daily challenges for construction firms. In fact, 42% said that a lack of real-time information about project status and margins was one of their top challenges, and another 39% cited a lack of visibility into all project-related information as one of the more challenging aspects of daily work.

2. Safety management workflows are a leading source of inefficiency

Safety management is critical in the construction industry, where poor management can literally be deadly. OSHA and other health and safety agencies have regulations in place to ensure safety for workers and citizens, and construction firms are required to regularly report to their governing authorities.

But out of all the tasks that can cause a project to fall behind, the survey found that safety management workflows were the number one cause of inefficiencies for 45% of construction firms, in spite of them being simple to automate. Other major causes of project delays include spend management (42%) and scheduling (42%).

3. More software doesn’t mean better

Tech tools are everywhere, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. For some organizations, seemingly every task relies on data from a different app or even more than one. 61% of firms use multiple software tools, and 25% use specific software for individual workflows.

Companies are wasting time searching for the right application or trying to remember which tool has the data necessary to complete a task. Optimizing tool usage is crucial as only 13% of firms rely on one software platform to manage all their workflows.

4. What task is being automated most often? Schedule management

Schedule management is an area that causes a series of inefficiencies and delays for construction firms, which is why 48% use software tools to automate scheduling tasks. Workflow automation is crucial in construction. It has the power to make complex projects more efficient by coordinating and executing tedious tasks involved with scheduling, budgeting, resource management, and reporting – tasks that otherwise must be completed by numerous individuals across an organization.

Construction firms can optimize workflows by automating tasks and activities, including scheduling, estimates, and bidding. Project managers should look for project management tools that come with critical features, such as detailed reports that can be created on a schedule automatically so that teams never miss a beat.

5. The search for better software is constant

When asked how often firms seek out new solutions and software to help improve processes, only 3% responded that they only look for technology when they’re desperate. For everyone else, using new technology solutions is key to the success of their organization. And 30% of construction firms said they are always looking for better tools to improve workflows.

There is a significant need for software solutions that construction firms can use to benefit their organizations, but they are often general products that lack customization or job-related features. That’s why many firms are turning to low and no-code software tools that even non-IT employees can use to build tailor-made programs to gain control over their workflows.

In the end

Results from the Foundry and Quickbase survey make it clear that organizations that are not adopting workflow automation widely across their crucial construction project management processes are risking project ruin because of inefficiencies, waste, and poor visibility. The only way to maximize success in all projects is to see, connect, and control your crucial project data with workflow automation.  

To learn more about what else the study found regarding state of project management workflows, check out the full Foundry report 

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