Predicting and Preparing for Growth in Construction

July 24th, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized

Predicting SuccessA wise man said: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” He also said: “When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.”

So let’s take a peek at the measurements recently reported by FMI and discover what can be done when facing the challenges ahead of us in the coming months.

FMI released the second quarter 2012 Construction Outlook Report (details here). “FMI’s forecast calls for 3 percent growth for construction put in place (CPIP) by the end of 2012, and another 7 percent in 2013, for a total of $882.4 billion. This is $92.6 billion more than the lows of 2011.”

However, FMI acknowledges that slow growth may yet be challenging because it requires improved management.

So with growth on the horizon, what are you doing to improve your construction management methods? Do you have the right tools to use and understand your data? Can you bid quickly and with precision? Do you know your true project costs? Are the answers you need at your fingertips anytime?

Download this free eBook to understand the role that construction software plays in helping you overcome obstacles to profitability.

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Improving Collaboration in Construction

June 21st, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “Many hands make light work!” then you probably appreciate the practice of collaboration. And it’s true – certainly in construction, if anywhere – that working together is often an efficient way to accomplish goals more quickly that working individually or, worse, at cross purposes.

But it’s important to give attention to the conflicts that must be overcome in order to collaborate well and understand the wasted effort that can happen when not collaboration is not managed or practiced properly.

Consider these natural conflicts in construction collaboration:

Time. Faster to market is a pressure all owners and developers are under. Competitive edges sell future business.

Cost. Keeping costs competitive is expected. Raising value allows extra revenue dollars to be earned. No quality project was ever built by a low-cost team.

Safety. For all project parties, safety is not negotiable. Quality contractors, owners, and designers insist that this be kept at a very high level.

Quality. The user must enjoy consistent benefit over the life of the building or the infrastructure project.

Personalities. Smart, collaborativeteams insist on a culture of “what is right” (versus “who is right”).1

Those who participate in the construction industry as an investor, company owner, or employee must become superior in their collaboration skills. There is not another way to build a quality project. And with all the people involved in any giving project, it is no wonder that collaboration is a pressing need for most construction organizations.1

But to optimize collaboration in your business, be sure to keep an eye on waste that can happen in the process…

Implementing technology and a workflow process that supports your team of collaborators can improve their output and quality of what they do. But know that even within a group of collaborating employees, the required interactions and technology solutions may vary substantially. That’s why the technology partner you choose should provide tools that are flexible enough to enable experimentation, so that usage and adoption are widespread.2

But how do you know where to begin with technology? What’s the right fit? It takes varied talents to accurately perform estimating, efficiently manage accounting and financials, and execute projects profitability. Can you actually have one construction software solution that fits everyone in your construction business?

Download this free flyer that spotlights how your team can work efficiently, collaboratively, and toward the same goal (being profitable).





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Successful Contractors are Technology Driven

April 24th, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized

Are you slouching or standing tall in this economy?

An article recently published in CFMA’s Building Profits magazine asks construction financial managers to consider the posture of their company in this economy: “Is your company on its toes, or its heels? Is the intense competition making your company stronger, or is it in retreat? Are your top leaders setting the right tone, demonstrating the right behaviors, and driving innovation? Or, are they dazed and confused, reacting slowly – or negatively? And, as the financial manager, what are you doing (or not doing) to help your company succeed?”

The author, Thomas W. Emison, believes that today’s successful contractors are on their toes and leaning forward despite the economy. Plus they all have leaders with a corporate culture that encourages innovation and forward-thinking that enables them to prosper and grow in tough economic times.

Emison previously wrote: “Successful contractors know that to win in this climate, they must outwit, outflank, and outperform the competition at every stage of the work.”

He goes on this current article to explain that unlike traditional differences among construction companies based on what they do (e.g., general, mechanical, electrical, structural, etc.), that there are six unique differentiations based on how and why they do it. Each type of company faces the same economic challenges but responds “on their toes” with different strategies.

Take for example, the Technology Thought Leaders. As Emison explains: “They are technology driven, not just technology oriented. They outsmart their competitors with quick adoption of emerging tech­nologies; they got the jump on facsimile transmission more than 25 years ago, e-mail more than 20 years ago, and BIM more than 10 years ago.”

We encourage you to consider: What type of culture does your construction business have? Are you an innovative team employing the latest in technology to get ahead? Do you utilize construction software to manage finances and reporting? Feel free to download this free whitepaper about choosing the right-fit construction accounting software for your business.

To read the Building Profits article, “On Your Toes or On Your Heals?” authored by Thomas W. Emison of Eide Bailly, LLP, in its entirety at the magazine’s web site, click here.

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Making Sure Equipment is Worth the Investment

March 27th, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized

We’ve touched on the ‘rent or buy equipment’ topic before and considering the impact on the bottom line, it’s worth revisiting.

Today, it is more important than ever to control costs. Contractors tend to center their attention on cutting labor and material costs during tough economic times; however, equipment costs, especially for heavy contractors, can dramatically impact their financials even more than their workforce and material costs.

Construction Executive magazine published a special section about Equipment in its March issue with an article, “The Financial Ramifications of Leasing vs. Renting vs. Buying,” which offers a number of considerations and assessments worth some thought during a contractor’s decision-making process.

An excerpt:

“The construction market downturn has caused many contractors to rent or lease equipment instead of purchasing it. Understanding the differences between renting, leasing and buying construction equipment—as well as understanding the organization’s current needs and future projections—is crucial to choosing the option that will result in the best financial and strategic outcome. Contractors that weigh the pros and cons of renting, leasing and purchasing before selecting an option, as well as enlist the counsel of an accountant or lawyer, will have the advantage when entering into an agreement.”

At Maxwell Systems, we have seen that contractors using business management software are better able to obtain the highest productivity possible from their equipment (whether they rent or own), at the lowest possible cost, and extend the lifespan of equipment. This helps construction companies turn what might be considered an equipment burden into a true profit center for the company.

Furthermore, implementing the right construction management software to streamline processes and improve accuracy from bid-to-cash can be a great solution to keep jobs on schedule and on budget, as well as to help gain a competitive edge.

We invite you to download this free brochure and datasheet that detail the benefits of using a complete solution to manage your construction business and why you might want to invest in software for equipment management.

To read the Construction Executive article, “The Financial Ramifications of Leasing vs. Renting vs. Buying,” authored by Peter Ryan and Brian Bastis of Ryan & Wetmore, in its entirety at the magazine’s web site, click here.

Look to Maxwell Systems for quality construction software systems.

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