Greg Norris, B2W Software
Specialized Construction Scheduling Software Delivers Visibility, Communication, and Collaboration Advantages When it comes to sticking to deadlines and budgets, one of the most critical processes for a utility construction project – or any heavy civil construction project – is the scheduling of resources.
t any given point, contractors must manage a long and overlapping list of tasks requiring careful coordination of people, equipment, and materials. Unplanned factors ranging from weather and equipment breakdowns to late deliveries and change orders keep the situation fluid and add complexity. Unfortunately, many companies continue to rely on paper forms, whiteboards, and phone calls to keep all of these moving pieces moving cohesively and efficiently. These outdated, “status quo” systems are a liability when it comes to optimizing resources. They also put contractors at a disadvantage against competitors that are utilizing specialized software for scheduling and dispatching.
The Problems with Paper-Based and Traditional Processes The heavy construction sector has relied on paper, along with whiteboards, and phone calls for decades, but systems based on these tools are no longer the most efficient solution for scheduling and dispatching. The main problem is that they are analog, asynchronous, and disconnected. Those are big words that essentially mean that they can’t be kept up to date and viewed across the enterprise in real time. A paper equipment inspection form identifying a broken-down machine in the field, for example, must be delivered to the shop or the office before a sched-
uler or dispatcher knows the status of the machine or its availability. Similarly, the reassignment of a crew or a piece of equipment on a whiteboard then requires separate steps to actually notify the people that are impacted. That opens the door for delays, errors, or misinterpretations. Offline paper or analog processes also force employees to spend unnecessary time and effort managing and communicating about scheduling and dispatching issues. That unnecessary manual effort and redundancy takes them away from core tasks. Going forward, in a fast-paced and margin-pressured environment defined by increasingly large and complex projects, these are barriers to productivity and profitability that any contractor will find difficult to overcome. continued on page 56
“BUY FROM THE ADVERTISERS IN CONSTRUCTION OUTLOOK”