More than half of construction firms are plagued by inefficient workflows

It is a commonly held belief that the construction industry is among the slowest to adopt new technology. To examine this, a recent survey by Foundry, in collaboration with Quickbase, examined how prevalent digital tools and workflow automation are in construction project management, and what inefficiencies exist as a result. What they found was not surprising.

While 61 per cent of the companies surveyed used multiple software platforms to manage their day-to-day operations, fewer than 40 per cent of them automate workflows in critical areas of business.

Workflow automation adds reliability, data accessibility and efficiency. However, organisations are not embracing automation effectively and are creating less efficient processes as a result. In fact, firms that manage more than half of their workflows manually tend to use more applications or tools (12 on average) than those who have set up automated workflows in their business.

The findings were very clear: setting up workflow automation in your construction management tech stack has many major benefits and may be easier than you realise.

Improving efficiency

Completing a construction project on time and within budget is dependent on the precise orchestration of numerous processes that generate an overwhelming amount of data. Managing project data and co-ordinating tasks such as scheduling, budgeting, resource management and project reporting often require the attention of multiple full-time employees. Workflow automation gives companies the ability to surface accurate, real-time data and optimise their crucial processes.

Workflow automation doesn’t merely improve the efficiency of straightforward tasks, such as safety management checklists, but also improves organisational efficiency by simplifying very complex tasks. Take, for example, the extreme difficulties experienced by construction companies in supplier management today.

In fact, the Foundry report found that 70 per cent of construction firms identify a lack of visibility into materials availability and delivery status as their primary challenge each day. A workflow automation platform, such as Quickbase, gives firms the ability to surface material insights directly from the supplier and internal systems in a single dashboard. With this data readily available, project managers can make any necessary adjustments in near real time.

Facilitating waste reduction

Not only is a reliance on manual workflows inefficient for business, but it creates waste. Waste is created at all stages of a project by duplicative work, time spent digging into multiple systems, tasks completed incorrectly due to outdated information and project delays created by miscommunication.

In fact, an organisation’s lack of solutions for automating workflows is even a source of project waste. More than one-third of survey respondents said they are constantly on the search for new solutions to improve their processes and tech stack. This search takes attention away from project tasks and represents waste.

Workflow automation reduces waste by ensuring there are no needless actions impeding your processes. Implementing automated workflows reduces the amount of time that project managers, analysts and workers need to spend chasing information, tracking resources or reporting on a project’s health. Waste reduction doesn’t cease with the completion of the project either. Automated workflows make reporting simple and fast, meaning that managers can move on to their next projects more quickly.

Promoting visibility and communication

Digital transformation in the construction industry has generated overwhelming volumes of project data, housed in many different systems. This insight has the potential to be incredibly powerful for construction organisations, but gaining access and revealing it to the appropriate stakeholders is a major challenge.

In fact, the Foundry survey found that more than 40 per cent of respondents struggle with a lack of visibility into project status and all project-related information. Companies know the insight they need is available, but they can’t find it in a timely manner.

Leveraging a technology that enables automated workflows makes it easier to connect disparate systems, create applications to enhance visibility and act as a central source for all critical project information. When builders leverage automated workflows, it improves the ability of the entire company to communicate across departments, stay up to date on project status, and complete projects more quickly and cleanly.

In conclusion

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

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

Leave a comment