Streamlining processes and maximizing efficiency in project management
Construction projects can be complex, with millions of dollars invested and tight deadlines. As a project manager, it’s up to you to execute the plans and ensure everything runs smoothly. How can you run a well-oiled machine and satisfy all of your stakeholders?
Nowadays, you have a lot of tools in your arsenal to ensure your success. Here’s a guide to help you streamline processes and maximize efficiency.
The first place you should look for project improvements is technology. Modern software and tools are vital for getting everybody on board and completing projects on time.
Project management software
Successful project management starts with project management software. A tool like Fieldwire makes project management easier by centralizing communication on a single platform. You can instantly share information with all your stakeholders instead of relying on old practices like email or landline telephones.
Building Information Modeling
Another critical software for project managers is building information modeling (BIM). BIM is an excellent way to leverage advanced technology and transition your team to modern practices.
With BIM, you can streamline design by increasing collaboration. As the project manager, you can evaluate models with architects and engineers in real time. The software gives you a 360° view of buildings and identifies inefficiencies. Your project could waste materials or have safety risks, but BIM will identify the threats for you. BIM is a third party relying on empirical data, so you have an unbiased source alerting the team of errors.
One place where you’ll see BIM is offsite construction. With BIM, you reduce your labor needs by constructing the buildings in a climate-controlled facility. The software improves your design, enhances communication and maximizes efficiency for your project.
You may often see cloud computing in sectors like finance, health care and manufacturing, but this software has its place in construction. Cloud-based project management can be a powerful tool because it provides a central location for document management. You and your stakeholders upload project documents for everyone to see, reducing clutter in your inbox.
A key benefit of cloud computing is enhanced cybersecurity. Cloud providers are third-party services with round-the-clock protection for all your documents and other sensitive information. Research shows cyberattacks happen every 39 seconds, with 95% occurring due to human error. Cloud computing takes cybersecurity responsibility off your hands.
Automation is slowly entering the fray through self-driving cars and other advanced machinery. You can use automation on the job site to maximize efficiency with your team. With automation, employees are free from repetitive tasks like report generation and other paperwork. Instead, you can allocate resources toward more pressing jobs.
Automation is for more than just office tasks — you can also put advanced machinery to work on the construction site. Hilti’s Jaibot robot, for example, can mark and drill holes using digital plans, relieving workers from the strenuous task of overhead drilling.
Efficient project management and safety go hand in hand. Construction is a dangerous field and delays can disrupt your timeline. Here are three ways to improve safety for your projects.
Technology comes into play again with drones. These devices require registration with the Federal Aviation Administration and have regulations on where you can fly them. Still, they’re an excellent resource for improving construction site safety.
Drones improve safety by making site inspections easier. You can use them to find hazards and monitor progress on the current project. Some drones can sit high above the construction site and detect problems you and others didn’t see before. Finding safety issues mitigates the problem before it worsens and causes injuries or delays.
Another way to maximize efficiency with drones is to use them for material delivery. Using trucks to carry supplies works fine until your driver calls and says they’re in a traffic jam. Drones save the day by flying materials to your construction site, thus improving efficiency.
Communication is a core principle of construction management. Proper communication builds trust and cooperation with your subcontractors, engineers, architects and other stakeholders. It will also improve safety outcomes by making everyone aware of potential hazards and enhance efficiency by keeping projects on track.
Maximizing efficiency through communication starts with the chain of command. Making this order clear from the start will clarify whom to speak with. You should open numerous communication channels in case emergencies require immediate contact. These platforms may include email, text, two-way radios and a construction management software like Fieldwire.
You’ll rarely find a project without something going wrong. Your team members must take accountability when issues arise. Fostering such a culture means everyone looks out for each other and themselves. With accountability in place, each team member feels empowered with responsibility.
Accountability is another area where communication is essential. When your team members see something wrong, they should immediately notify supervisors of their concerns to minimize time wasted and keep efficiency high. When you have accountability, you improve safety and productivity on your job site.
Keeping workers motivated
Your project is only as efficient as your workers make it. Keeping your team motivated is a significant part of maximizing productivity and meeting deadlines.
A 2020 Journal of Management in Engineering study finds motivating construction workers substantially increases productivity and the likelihood of staying at one construction site. These three ways demonstrate how to motivate your team and keep productivity high.
Fostering a positive culture
The first step in motivating your workers is to foster a positive workplace culture. Team members who are happy to see each other reflect this joy in their work. You might only get positivity sometimes, but you can set the tone by bringing effective communication and a smile to the job site.
Workplace culture is one of the most significant factors for employees nowadays, so you shouldn’t take it lightly. A 2019 Glassdoor survey finds 77% of adults consider workplace culture before applying to a business. Positivity in the workplace may seem minor, but it adds up to better outcomes in the long run.
Knowing your employees
As a project manager, you know your employees best. Find what motivates the individual and lean into what makes them move. Some of your employees may work harder if there’s a monetary bonus for achieving a particular goal or metric. Other team members may put forth more effort if they have a clear path of professional development and promotions within their business.
One way to determine your team’s motivations is to look at their ages. A 2020 study of construction workers finds a gap between older and younger workers based on their motivations. Researchers conclude younger workers typically focus on intrinsic motivation, whereas more senior employees gravitate toward extrinsic motivation. Knowing your employees’ motivations will improve productivity and boost project efficiency.
Acknowledging hard work
One way to motivate employees of any age is to acknowledge their hard work. Completing a construction project on time and meeting the client’s expectations isn’t always an easy feat, so it’s worthwhile to congratulate your team on a job well done. This gesture goes a long way in boosting productivity for future projects.
Great Place to Work research demonstrates the benefits of recognizing your employees when they do outstanding jobs. Their findings show workers are twice as likely to go the extra mile and work harder beyond their regular duties. They’re also twice as likely to bring new ideas forward and improve your team’s processes.
Maximizing efficiency in modern construction
You have a lot on your plate as a construction manager. The site’s efficiency runs through you, so you must ensure the stakeholders, clients, contractors and all other parties are on the same page. How can you balance everything and still meet your deadlines? These strategies demonstrate how to streamline processes and maximize efficiency in construction.