6 AEC Industry Experts Give Their Top Tips On Getting More From Your People And Projects
Getting the most out of people and projects is vital for AEC businesses if they are to maximise profits. When margins are tight, efficiency gains can be the difference between your project being in the red or the black.
There is no shortage of software providers promising you the world, so it can be very difficult to decipher which software is the best fit. So instead, we thought we would let our clients do the talking. In our ‘Hear From a Peer’ webinar series, they took the reins and discussed their business-wide challenges, the rationale behind their decision to invest in our software and the ROI that has been delivered. This blog post will run through some of the key takeaways from each of our webinar speakers, with a particular focus on the industry pain points our clients were desperate to solve.
Melanie Nurse, VolkerWessels UK
We were joined by Chief Technology Officer of VolkerWessels UK, a longstanding Deltek PIM client and one of the leading principle contractors in the UK. A key mission of Melanie’s was to improve how quickly and efficiently the business was able to access information. Given the number of projects VolkerWessels works on at any one time, the amount of documents, emails, drawings and contracts that need managing is huge. Melanie recognised the importance of improving how information was accessed and managed and was confident that investing in this area would yield significant benefits for the entire company.
“We knew we needed to move forwards, join our business together and use a new system that allowed us to quickly access all of our information.” – Melanie Nurse, Chief Technology Officer.
The construction industry is renowned for the sheer volume of information being sent and received by businesses. It’s vital that you don’t succumb to information overload and instead, put the necessary measures in place that enable you to take control of your business and project information, improving your efficiency and protecting you from risk.
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Matt Williams, Turley
To offer a different perspective on the information management challenge, we invited Matt Williams, System Developer at planning specialists, Turley, to take us through his experience before and after implementing Deltek PIM. Matt described ‘the old way’ as the use of countless shared drives, yellow folders and masses of paper around the office. Excel spreadsheets were used by the accounts team, while the lack of email management led to unmanageable mailboxes in Outlook
“Our state before Deltek PIM was chaotic, with nightmare filing systems, folders, cabinets; we were really overrun. So we thought it was time for a change.” – Matt Williams, System Developer.
One of the key areas Matt highlighted as in need of improvement was the invoicing process. The financial team had no way to streamline their processes and were instead left using multiple spreadsheets, requiring data re-entry and many wasted hours.
Without a system in place to integrate the management of your finances with other areas of the business, you can be left with disconnected teams duplicating their efforts and working from inaccurate data.
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Gavin Seaton, Morris & Spottiswood
Gavin Seaton, Strategic Development Manager at fit-out, M&E and housing specialists Morris & Spottiswood identified efficiency as the key area the business was desperate to address. Gavin references the amount of time being wasted searching for information or transferring it between site teams and the office.
“It could take weeks to get information back from site before being able to pass it onto our finance teams. In addition to this, weeks of people’s lives were being wasted with the accounting system.”
Gavin wanted to move away from the various disjointed software packages that were in use, in favour of an integrated solution that allowed Morris & Spottiswood to grow and get a handle on their information management.
Various ‘point’ solutions are often seen as a cheaper option for AEC businesses, but it’s important to note that they will only be addressing one problem. This strategy will still leave your business working in silos, and while one department may be happier, your business as a whole will struggle to collaborate and track information, remaining inefficient and leaving yourself open to risk.
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Mark Hogben, Osborne
One of the most recognisable contracting businesses in the UK, Osborne, has been using Deltek PIM for several years. Mark Hogben, Application Support Analyst, echoed many of Gavin Seaton’s views and talks about his frustration at the amount of time that was being wasted working with disconnected systems. Mark focused largely on mobile working, an area he recognised was causing the business problems. The process between information capture on site and sending it to office based teams proved a real bottleneck.
“The process became laborious and time consuming, it was taking about 1 – 2 hours per week per user doing this process.” – Mark Hogben, Applications Support Analyst.
In addition to this, Mark highlights the importance for businesses to have a system in place that enables them to analyse the masses of data being collected, which can then inform decision making. Many AEC firms understand the need to make data-driven decisions with regards to their projects, but do not have the technology in place to do so. This can lead to delayed, reactive decision making which is often too late to rectify a mistake or make a change on a project.
James Payne & Jeff Todd, BSP Consulting
We were joined by both James Payne, IT & Finance Manager and Jeff Todd, Business Development Director from civil and structural engineers, BSP Consulting. The focus of their talk was on the amount of manual data entry and duplication that was occurring at BSP. The reliance on disconnected software packages was preventing the business from being efficient, instead staff were having to re-key information across the various applications in use.
After seeing some of their peers turn to Deltek PIM, James and Jeff looked into the software.
“Deltek already worked with over 600 UK based businesses and is targeted at the construction sector. Many other offerings were too generic, Deltek’s software can be customised to suit how we work.” – James Payne, IT & Finance Manager.
BSP liked the fact that Deltek PIM was a trusted supplier to AEC businesses, and could see it would address their primary goal of streamlining their business processes. They would be able to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, allowing them to re-allocate time on more important areas.
Understand How Our Experts Delivered Tangible Benefits To Their Businesses
If your business is experiencing similar pain points to those described by our clients, then you should check out the webinar series. You will learn how these leading firms tackled the pain points mentioned, along with other challenges they were facing. You will also discover the benefits digital working has delivered, ROI that has been recognised and ultimately the improvements that have been made to how they manage their people and projects.
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You've heard the challenges, now discover the solutions these 6 industry experts recommend.
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