Helpful Technology for General Contractors
General contractors are always looking for a way to increase their profitability and effectiveness in the marketplace. While the tried and true methods still work, master and apprentice, alike, are embracing technology as a means to improve their business. Upgraded technology impacts not just contractor or customer, but also those working in the supply chain, and the relationships with subcontractors. These advances are giving the steel building industry new ways to compete. Projects and the way you process information can be more efficient with the introduction of equipment created to make your job easier. Don’t be one of the last to adopt these innovative ways to keep your business moving forward.
Apps & Tablets
While apps and tablet use isn’t new to general contractors, new technology keeps improving workflow and practices. Think of how mobile technology can help you save money. You’ll reduce time walking back and forth to view plans, documenting safety items, and taking photos. We recommend 8 great mobile apps for general contractors to help you on the job site. There are free, paid, and ‘freemium’ apps to upgrade your estimating and invoicing skills.
CRM & BIM Management
There are many reasons to start using CRM software. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions let you get organized, track your tasks and determine business metrics. Technology is truly taking over your toolbox. Manage all your employee and client information in one place, and let the computer handle the heavy lifting. You might still be sharp as a tack, but with a CRM solution, your business growth isn’t limited.
Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is software that’s changing how buildings are designed and built. Software like ‘BIM Glue’ can connect your entire project team and it streamlines workflow from anywhere in the project’s lifecycle. Ideally, it enhances the construction process by letting you resolve issues faster.
The cloud can be very confusing, but you don’t need to worry when it comes to your business solutions. The cloud just refers to software and services that run on the Internet. Those CRM and BIM programs that I just wrote about are usually cloud-based. The cloud allows you use files and applications without having to save them on your personal or business device. One of the biggest headaches for construction companies is improving collaboration between all stakeholders and accessing information from multiple locations.
Web-based tools can be used to foster better communication flow between contractors, subcontractors, architects and building owners.
Cell Signal Boosters
How many of you have had to deal with on-site delays because of poor cell service? You’re not alone. A recent survey by Pew Internet found that 72% of Americans have trouble with dropped calls, and 32% of those surveyed said they experience dropped calls several times a week. I can tell you all about some amazing technology, but what good is it if you can’t use it? Cell signal boosters are designed to amplify a weak outside signal and avoid any obstructions. Invest in a cell signal booster and get back to work on your steel building project quickly.
Some companies are adding ‘green’ technology to reduce paperwork and improve the environment. Builders know steel buildings themselves are a green product, because steel can be recycled and used to create new steel. Contractors can also seek the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED certification to build. As the desire for people to build, ‘green’ continues, contractors can capitalize by learning how to install solar panels, roofing, lighting and occupancy sensors in steel buildings.
Can you think of any more helpful technology for contractors to use on steel building projects?Photo courtesy: USACE HQ, Johan Larsson