Bluebeam has collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Building to write a step-by-step guide to help SMEs understand how to adopt construction software
According to the UK government’s Insolvency Service, more than 4,200 construction companies have gone bankrupt in the past year, making it the worst-performing sector. As labor, material and energy costs fluctuate, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the most vulnerable.
Because SMEs are more exposed to consumer demand and often face long waits for payment from those up the supply chain, it is easy to understand why the volume of their business failures is at its highest level in more than a decade.
How construction software can help
According to James Chambers, director of global industrial development for the Build and Construct Division at Nemetschek, small and medium-sized businesses must look for ways to work more effectively to survive in this climate.
He says construction software can help: “The use of construction-oriented software has increased in recent years. While the pandemic was undoubtedly a trigger point for many, investment has not slowed down.
“There are many more solutions on the market than there were a few years ago, suitable for companies of all sizes. Years ago, people thought digitalization was out of reach due to the cost of purchasing solutions and perceived implementation challenges.”
“Now solutions are more accessible and many companies are realizing they can improve their margins and deliver better project results without breaking the bank.”
Transform construction companies with software
Chambers adds that these tools can be transformative no matter how companies implement them. That said, he cautions that companies first develop a detailed use case: “Before investing in software, leaders should look at what the business
needs at both project level and operational level.
“If you understand the way people work, the tools available on the market and the key improvements you want to achieve, you are much more likely to choose the right software and implement it correctly.
“Whether you start with a small step, use software that tackles one problem at a time,
or overhaul the business from top to bottom, I think companies will be able to find something that helps.”
He explains that companies often look to improve financial management, reduce project risk and boost collaboration when they get started with construction software.
While they are all useful, he argues that anything that helps with financing should come first.
“Tools can easily monitor cash flow and flag any dangers, such as payment delays or cost increases,” he says.
“Cash is king, so removing analog processes and improving data capture and analysis will make a big difference for business owners and senior teams.”
Remove risks by bringing people together
After finance, Chambers suggests there should be tools that encourage effective communication
next: “One way to reduce errors and avoid costly rework or delays is through effective communication between the project team and the customer.
“Software can also help here. Take capturing customer requirements. A consistent one
workflow ensures that the client’s desired outcomes and expectations are fully understood and easily shared with the entire project team. This reduces the chance of surprises during the project.
“Combining this with cloud-based tools enables real-time collaboration on documents,
both on location and in the office. Because activities such as design changes and updates are recorded in real time, you are never more than one click away from the latest project information.”
Bluebeam and CIOB are working together on a guide
To help SMEs understand how to use construction software, Bluebeam has collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) to write a technical guide, Digital Transformation for SMEs: Unlocking the Benefits.
It outlines a step-by-step process for adopting technology, including where software can improve or replace processes, finding the best solution, and successfully rolling out new software tools.
It also includes case studies from SME contractors who have adopted new software tools and seen dramatic improvements in their business.
Chambers concludes: “If you’re just starting out, I recommend companies use quick and easy tools that bring people together and deliver recognizable benefits as quickly as possible.
“The most important thing is to ensure that a high return on investment can be achieved
achieved and that these victories can be shared internally. This drives adoption, lays the foundation for future additions, and ensures the full benefits of the software can be realized.
“By helping people work more efficiently and bringing timely and accurate information to the forefront, companies can significantly improve their performance and make themselves more robust and future-proof.”
Digital transformation for SMEs: unlocking the benefits can be downloaded for free with the code ‘bluebeamtis’.
Tel: +44 (0) 203 868 9061
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