The Path to Paperless Ops & Better Efficiency with Construction Document Management Software

Challenges In Collaboration & Impact of Miscommunication

According to a recent study, 74% of all construction projects are delayed and exceed committed timelines. These are influenced by 3 factors - owner-driven, vendor-driven and consultant-driven delays. The end result of this is everyone playing a catch-up game becoming a frustrating experience which affects the relationships between all the 3. 

This is common across businesses of all sizes and the gravity of the problem is proportional to the scale of the project. On digging deeper, at the root of all of this lies the fundamental problem of miscommunication among stakeholders. 

Here is a study that categorized the levels of miscommunication by category:

3 out of 4 categories specifically point to a lack of a proper approach and a system to manage information flow across stakeholders. This timely flow of information is critical to ensuring that every stakeholder is empowered with mission-critical information for timely execution of activities that are part of the project plan. 

To pick the ones relating to poor document management out of these buckets will help us understand how this is a setback for each layer in the system. 

Under organization & management, two factors - lack of correspondence and lack of collaborative activities can be a result of poor document management. Given the main layers and this largely referring to the top layer, a delay in correspondence due to paper-based operations can be perceived as a lack of correspondence. This also significantly affects collaboration, productivity and in many cases, leads to repetition of the same tasks because the changes did not reach in time. This further has cost implications on the project. It also reflects poorly on the optics of many stakeholders and leads to often undesirable situations for people. 

The entire bucket of project information, consisting of - inaccessibility, poor project documentation, unavailability of important data, slow flow of information and incorrect information - all of it point to documentation. With good documentation management software, businesses can ensure relevant and right information is available to stakeholders at the right time. It solves the problem of inaccessibility and lack of authenticity. 

The third bucket has little relevance to document management except for one factor - language barrier. With established practices, tools and technology, that barrier could be crossed. With today’s highly evolved AI-based translation and transliteration capabilities, this can be solved to a great extent. This ensures that the right information reaches every level irrespective of language. 

The final bucket, Technology & methods yet again touches upon a few areas such as - lack of communication, lack of standard operating procedures and challenges in adoption of tools and technology. However, there are many simple, easy-to-use, easy-to-onboard tools for construction document management that are available. This can enable the entire organization to seamlessly slide into using the tool which can also help them establish operating procedures and facilitate timely communication. 

Key Impact of Paper-based Operations in Construction Projects 

Construction projects are a culmination of several aspects - creative, design, operational, functional and several more. Today, there is a dash of innovation and creativity that is part of the mix which could further complicate the scope of things. In this scenario, right communication is the key to making sure what’s on paper gets translated to actual execution. 

However, a common practice that impedes this paper-based operations. Here are 7 reasons why paper-based operations can hamper construction projects. 

  1. Archaic: Paper-based archaic are slow, old-schooled and not suited for the pace of today’s landscape. It slows down projects and there is ample room for delays and errors in flow of information. 

  1. Many Truths: As a document evolves, there are many versions in a paper-based system. This leads to each stakeholder believing in their own version of the truth which could have changed majorly with time. 

  1. Environmental impact: The construction industry is the highest contributor to global carbon emissions. While companies are taking several steps to reduce this, one of the key areas that can make a significant contribution in this direction is going paperless. 

  1. Storage: Managing bundles of documents that are paper-based poses significant logistics challenges. It also makes it challenging to ensure they are stored in a secure way. 

  1. Accessibility: Physical documents are hard to access by everyone. This further slows down the process as time is lost in waiting for the document. One cannot be sure it is the right version. 

  1. Hard to iterate: If at any point, a change needs to be done in a specific document that has a dependency or bearing on another one, there is a whole chain of documents that would need iteration. Managing and tracking these become significantly challenging. 

  1. Cost: The cost of stationery considering the scale of operations can also be one of the factors. In addition, to store them and manage records is an additional cost component.  

The Solution: Construction Document Management Software

Cloud-based construction document management tools are what modern-day construction businesses need. This enables to digitize project operations from paper-based processes. This helps businesses do away with legacy practices and modernize their approach to functioning. 

Here are 7 ways how digital documentation saves the day for construction businesses: 

  1. Faster processes - The nature of digital documentation is real-time availability of updated information. This results in faster rollout of processes, information, tasks, jobs and services. The speed of information flow is directly related to the speed of the project. This has the potential to steer the project for timely completion.

  1. Security and Access Control - By enabling role-based access, businesses can protect the integrity and security of information This is completely missing in paper-based processes and given today’s growing importance of compliance, this is an essential aspect to consider. Another aspect is to control who can see certain documents based on the sensitivity of the material. All this is possible with a couple of clicks in cloud-based document management software.

  1. Collaboration - Since digital processes are real-time, there is practically no waiting time for different members in the hierarchy for information to reach them. Whether it is approval workflows or change management or realigning in a different direction, it all happens seamlessly. 

 

  1. Real-time Iteration - With real-time changes reflecting instantly, it is much simpler to ensure there is one version of the document. This makes change management much easier and gets everyone on the same page instantly. 

  1. Audit-readiness - By adopting digital documentation, companies save themselves from the trouble of going through piles of paper files during audits, checks and compliance processes. This saves a lot of time and also builds a good reputation in terms of how they function. 

  1. Sustainability Impact - By reducing paper usage, organizations can do their bit for making their operations more sustainable. This reduces carbon footprint arising out of use and disposal of paper. 

  1. Cost - In addition to saving costs, a lot of rework and productivity leak is addressed using digital processes. This has a significant and compounding cost saving for the business. 

The Conclusion

By switching from paper-based to digital construction documentation, businesses can improve their chances of timely completion of projects. They can mitigate the delays and rollbacks arising due to poorly managed communication. They can enable better stakeholder relationships, inter-team, inter-departmental and cross-functional communication by facilitating real-time collaboration. 

It also positively reinforces sustainability initiatives, thus making it an environmentally conscious business in addition to boosting operational efficiency. For further reading on how construction document management software can prevent challenges, click here

May 22, 2024

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