Construction firms: follow these four steps and enhance your project information management
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Flexible, efficient construction projects start with solid project information management. Here are four steps to set your data – and your projects – up for success.
Flexibility and agility aren’t just nice to have in construction; they are mandatory for any company looking to succeed. Without a flexible approach, construction businesses can’t respond to changing requirements or manage dispersed workforces across sites.
So, how can construction companies build this flexibility into their processes and systems? It all starts with information and how it flows across your projects.
We recently created a best practice guide for project information management to help construction firms enhance their data management and create more flexible project environments. While the full guide offers practical advice across the entire project lifecycle, this blog will touch on four initial steps companies can take to enhance their project information management (PIM) and boost agility.
Industry Best Practice Guide
Project Information Management for Construction Firms
1. Ensure people have a single source of information
Information is the crucial ingredient for flexible, adaptable project management. But too often, essential project information is spread across different sites, silos and data repositories. So, even when your people can find the data they’re looking for, there’s a risk that information is out of date.
And it only takes a few encounters with lost or outdated data before employees start backing up files themselves, leading to an even more fragmented data ecosystem. Before you know it, your business is full of conflicting versions of the same files – undermining confidence in your project information.
By building a single, central information repository, you and your teams will always know where to find the data you need. And if you use a system with proper version control, you can rest assured that the information you see is always accurate, up-to-date and trustworthy.
2. Keep your people connected to their projects – wherever they are
When you have a diverse team working across different sites, offices and locations, it’s tough keeping them all connected to the right information.
And with so many sites being in remote locations with poor connectivity, relying solely on digital files can feel like a risk. But to continue relying on paper presents an even more problematic situation – one where key workers can’t get real-time updates on crucial project changes.
That’s why it pays to ensure your PIM system works on mobile devices and can function offline. With the right system in place, you can overcome access problems and ensure teams have fast, flexible access to up-to-date project data.
3. Cut down on manual effort
A central data store can improve the way project information flows through your business. But as information moves between your teams and sites, it’s crucial this data transfer isn’t a manual or delayed process. After all, manual data handling isn’t just time consuming for your people; it’s also a significant risk. Every time someone handles a document, there’s a chance that human error creeps in or files get duplicated. Both can undermine your efforts to establish a single source of truth.
So, it’s vital to ensure you automate as much of the data handling process as possible. Paper files and poorly integrated systems are the most common source of manual data processing, so consider these the first points of order when building your PIM system.
4. Collaborate across the supply chain
Construction companies regularly work alongside engineers, architects and other sub-contractors throughout the project lifecycle. This can create a hectic environment where data is easily miscategorized and misplaced – especially if you can’t agree with external stakeholders on a unified way of sharing and storing files.
That’s why it pays to establish a logical system for tagging, filing, storing and sharing information.
By appropriately tagging and connecting every piece of data to a specific project, you can save time, avoid the risk of lost data, and ensure you have access to crucial data that you might need for future legal or regulatory challenges.
Four steps to more flexible operations
By establishing the right PIM systems and processes, you can ensure your people have the data they need to react quickly to changing project conditions. And with improved flexibility, companies can operate more efficiently and consistently deliver projects on time and under budget, while exceeding client expectations.
Along with these four steps, our Industry Best Practice Guide for Project Information Management includes practical tips and advice that can help construction companies optimize their PIM and secure a more flexible future.
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