How to Successfully Connect the Back Office to the Field

How to Successfully Connect the Back Office to the Field

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January 11, 2018

Communication between the back office and the field has always been an important issue in the construction industry. Not more than twenty years ago, it was normal that a construction site would have a field office which contained the only usable phone the premises for contacting the back office. In the last decade, widespread use of mobile phones and low-cost data plans, along with innovative construction project management software, have expanded the potential for construction companies to maintain communications between workers in the field and project managers and other stakeholders in the construction office.

Here are just a few ways that construction project management applications are being leveraged to improve decision-making, save time and resources in the back office, reduce work errors and ensure that projects are completed on schedule.

Increase Visibility of Job Site Activities with Daily Reporting

Daily reports are an underutilized boon to the construction industry. While a contract provides a detailed plan of action for a project, daily reports tell the real story – what was accomplished each day, what supplies were used, and what costs or expenses were incurred. These daily reports together form a history of the project completion and a record of your company’s performance.

Using daily reports from the field, project managers can construct a detailed representation of how work is proceeding that can be used to identify potential causes of delays, communicate with stakeholders, and make strategic decisions to keep projects running on schedule and on budget.

Software Facilitates Integrated Project Management and Accounting

Improving the integration between project management and accounting should be a priority for construction firms that want to reduce accounting errors that crush profits and increase transparency between departments. High visibility between departments means that decision-makers can quickly access more useful information – accountants can get real-time job costing updates through daily reports, and project managers can get access to key financial data. Change orders can be electronically created in the field and used to update billing right away – no more missed invoices.

Project management software that features integration with your firm’s existing accounting system offers a unique opportunity to enhance information-sharing across your organization, and enables you to keep your existing ERP and processes in place.

Keep Projects on Schedule with Mobile Time Sheets

Mobile time sheets are rapidly becoming an industry standard throughout the global construction industry. Companies that use them have reported as much as 3% savings on payroll, compared to paper systems that require subcontractors to self-report their hours at the end of the week.

Firms can install a GPS marker at the job site which ensures that employees are physically present when they clock in and clock out, and project managers can access real-time, confirmed data on worker attendance throughout the day. Coupled with daily progress reports, mobile time sheets help project managers ensure that the resources are available to get the job done on schedule and on budget.

Conclusion

Connecting the back office to the field means something much different today than it did twenty years ago. Companies that adopt the right technologies to minimize their costs, and improve visibility between the office and field, and across departments, are likely to stay competitive in years to come.