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June 19, 2020

Effective Data Handling Strategies for the Construction Industry

BI2-1The construction industry is experiencing exponential growth of data. Major projects generate hundreds of millions of emails and documents from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, most of the data captured are not used productively. Some construction teams also get overwhelmed with data overload and spend a significant amount of time searching for project data. Poor integration of applications also contributes to this menace.

So, how can construction companies effectively use the huge volumes of data generated daily? With the right tools and techniques, construction businesses can transform their supply chains by gaining valuable insights from their massive databases.

As more businesses in the construction industry digitize their operations, we need to develop strategies that will improve decision making, enhance efficiency, and increase profitability.  The following ideas will improve the effective use of big data in the construction industry.

Link Data Clarity to Business Goals

Let your data be a tool for achieving business goals. You can overcome the challenge of data glut by understanding what data you need to fulfill your company’s mission and vision. Using the Pareto principle, just about 20% of the data you generate will help you achieve 80% of your organization’s business goals. However, the most useful data is interwoven with other less useful information. With business intelligence tools like Caliper BI for Sage 300 CRE, you can gain quick access to the data you need for effective decision making.

Work With Competent Data Analysts

After acquiring the right software tools, you still need experienced analysts to use them. Investing in the right people will deliver the desired dividends. Work with people who have the analytical skills to use your data to produce insights for business growth. Certainly, they must have the ability to create the appropriate type of reports and interpret data visualizations. But they also need to help you see how changes in prices of materials or project schedules can affect profits in an industry that’s characterized by low margins.

Embrace Data Integration

Data management in the construction industry is evolving. Just like it is other industries, it is not uncommon to find vital project data scattered across various computers and systems. While file and document sharing has been in place for decades, the habit of using spreadsheets, word processing documents, emails, and PDFs to create, store, and transfer documents is still hard to break for many. Now the use of cloud-based systems makes it easy to access documents on-the-go. But this is not the same thing as data integration.

Data integration involves using systems and applications that are fully linked to each other and can access the same database files. So, you can link your enterprise resource planning ERP application, like Sage 300 CRE, and obtain business intelligence data using a powerful report generator like Caliper BI. The pre-designed report templates can be modified while the data may be pulled into a spreadsheet for custom reports.

Show Your Staff the Benefits of System Integration

To achieve data integration, you need to train and encourage different members of your team to enter data correctly. Some of the benefits of data integration include:

  • Improved accuracy: When those who generate the data key it in, they can reduce the potential errors that come from an intermediary who misinterprets it.
  • Shorter cycle times: Immediately after the data is captured and approved, it can be replicated and sent to every part of the organization that needs it. Decision making will be faster, and many potential losses and loopholes will be eliminated.
  • Data entry staff are more productive: Your data entry clerks can do more value-added tasks when you reduce their data capture workload. Avoid manual re-keying of data. So, instead of your project manager re-typing data submitted by a subcontractor into your ERP system, ensure that your system allows the subcontractor to do most of the data entry.

 

Modify Your Data Capture

Improve your data capture processes for more productive analysis. In the construction industry, project teams spend a significant part of their time entering and tracking project data. This is an inefficient use of time and resources.

To boost efficiency, embrace data integration from the point of data entry. Ensure that data is entered just once by the most appropriate person and made available to everyone who needs it in real-time.

Make sure your IT team works on integration continuously. Instead of using disparate methods and systems to capture data, ensure that all data can be accessed and managed from a single portal. For example, you can use wearables, sensors, and geolocation tracking to monitor employees, materials, and equipment. Connect all job sites and use cloud-based applications to ensure proper data integration. This will improve worker productivity, enhance communication, and help reduce waste.

Use a Supplier Collaboration Platform

This can link you instantly with trading partners in real-time and automate business processes. On a very busy job site, transactions will be executed, and data capture will be streamlined to give quick and accurate insight on business operations.

Using this type of platform will enable you to collect data through telematics, IoT devices, and conventional data capture. Vital business processes within your company and with trading partners will be automated. These include processes for production, procurement, selling, and tracking of large building materials.

Integration with suppliers helps you to manage information such as contractor agreements, requests for proposals, requests for information, change orders, and applications for payment.

Use Sophisticated Dashboards

Dashboards are essential business intelligence tools. They provide comprehensive views of well-defined data in a visual format that’s easier to read and understand. Dashboard viewers can bring together different data streams and use them for comparison and reporting in real-time.

In addition to data visualization, dashboards can use machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Machine learning helps viewers to make predictions, find relationships between data points, and discover hidden patterns in huge or complicated data sets.

Applying business intelligence tools to engineering and construction data management will provide deep insights that can boost efficiency, eliminate waste, reduce cost, and make the company more profitable.

See It For Yourself

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, June 25th at 11 am to learn more! Can’t attend on the 25th? 
Go ahead and register anyway. 
We’ll send you a link to the recording. 

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