How KanBo Helps General Contractors in Construction to Deliver Consistent Excellence

The domestic, industrial, and public construction industries are all seeing a resurgence in their respective economic performance.

However, in spite of optimistic forecasts for expansion in both residential and commercial construction, many companies are having trouble keeping up with rising material prices, dealing with skill shortages, and waiting for payments. The majority of construction companies have workforce expansion plans for this year as construction contractors anticipate an increase in demand for a diverse range of projects in 2022 despite continuing value chain and labor issues. This has put the construction industry, particularly contractors and project managers, in a bittersweet spot.

While contractors face challenges this year, most of those will be centered on the need to keep pace with the growing demand for construction projects.

Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO (Associated General Contractors of America and Sage)

On the one hand, the contractors expect to acquire more work than ever but on the other, they will have to operate in a highly competitive space where not only the clients’ expectations are high but inflationary pressures along with logistical challenges have made it much more difficult to complete projects on time and with healthy profit margins. That’s why it has become an existential issue for contractors and project managers to rely on innovation and pace up their digitalization endeavors so they can ensure lean operations delivering optimal financial efficiency. That’s where KanBo software can help construction organizations’ project managers to build a collaborative work environment, reduce redundancies, and enable high work visibility.

The Role of Contractor Project Manager in Construction

Managing a building project is difficult work. You need to be able to strategize effectively, such as by conducting site evaluations or organizing resource utilization and managing the nuts and bolts of the execution phase, such as developing budgets, overseeing the efforts of on-site personnel, and coordinating the efforts of third-party vendors. The task may become more challenging if inadequate equipment or labor shortages lead to overrun costs, unscheduled maintenance, and other complications. That’s why it is essential for a contractor project manager to understand their role.

  1. Preparation & Strategic PlanningA construction project manager’s job description includes more than just laying out individual assignments. Planning and estimating how much labor would be required to complete the planned project is an essential function of a qualified project manager. Making preparations for the entire team, determining expenditure estimating, creating completion timelines as an action plan for the construction firm, monitoring the venture in a situation they need to manage or inspect certain tasks, and conducting an in-depth examination to make sure it’s all completed according to plan are all duties that fall under the purview of a project manager.
  2. Construction Bid & Project Schedule ManagementPerhaps more than anything else, a construction project manager’s primary responsibility is overseeing the bidding process. Winning a bid may increase a company’s profits significantly. However, there are many factors that may go amiss while drafting a construction bid, such as arithmetic mistakes in the financial projections, insufficient investigation of the work site, which subsequently blows over the budgeted cost or a hurriedly produced bid offer. That’s why it is essential for a contractor project manager to pull off the bidding proposals while finding the right balance between the company’s objective and potential clients’ expectations.If a construction project runs behind schedule, the company might lose a lot of money. Among the reasons why companies employ construction project managers is to prevent just this kind of incident from occurring. Even though a qualified construction project manager anticipates the timeline, unexpected complications may arise. For instance, even if a work breakdown structure (WBS) is developed in an orderly fashion, the plan may still fail to be implemented due to a lack of collaboration between departments.
  3. Defining Project Objectives & Managing StaffLeaders of construction projects often fail to set appropriate objectives. Despite its importance, this is often overlooked by the project leaders. The project manager is responsible for establishing legally binding objectives and doing everything possible to achieve them. In addition, the contractor project manager is liable for checking in on the execution terms of the contract, deciding on the accuracy of the job, managing the demands and outputs, etc. Based on those objectives, they can calculate how many people and what kinds of materials will be required. The most effective project managers are the ones that take the time to plan things out and establish clear objectives.On a building site, everyone reports to the project manager. Another job of a project manager is to assemble a group of competent individuals to carry out all the work required to complete a certain project. The most difficult tasks are likely to be recruiting and terminating employees. The next step is supervision, which may be challenging and time-consuming due to the complexities inherent in keeping track of all the minor things that a member of the crew may have overlooked. All coordination and direction of the construction crew is the responsibility of the project manager.
  4. Cost Control & Budget AllocationExperienced construction project supervisors examine historical work expenditure records and review for errors that might overrun the budget in order to create concrete strategies for the project’s finances. They also keep close tabs on the project’s financials and are prepared to make swift modifications to compensate for the concerns such as change orders, and cost inflation by vendors that might cause budget shortfalls.In order to keep projects under budget, project managers need to consider the many threats that might significantly increase the project’s scope. In order to avoid delays, it is important to double-check the project’s architecture and budget. Construction bookkeeping systems with specialized features like payroll management, material cost monitoring, and subcontracting are suitable for expanding construction businesses that outgrow the capabilities of general accounting software. However, it is essential to integrate them with a comprehensive work process management platform like KanBo to ensure full transparency.
  5. Contract Drafting & Conflict ResolutionOne of the most important aspects of a contractor project manager’s job is to draft legally binding contracts and agreements. That’s why they don’t only need to have the technical knowledge and experience but also the ability to communicate well in both verbal and written mediums. The parties included in such transactions often include external stakeholders such as architects, consultants, specialized experts, subcontractors, material vendors, and other third parties.Project management and conflict management are possibly quite similar fields to work in. The important thing is to have it all under control. The role of the project manager as “arbitrator” on the building site is necessary at times. A construction project manager is responsible for mediating any conflicts that arise on the job site so the work continues without any hiccups and delays.

Challenges of Contractors / Project Managers

Let’s take a more in-depth peek at how modernizing the back office may revolutionize the construction industry by helping companies create optimizations that allow businesses to accomplish more within a smaller duration of time without increasing their operating costs.

  1. Risk Management When Bringing New Subcontractors & Vendors AboardWhen it comes to the potential impact on your project’s timeline, consistency of execution, and workforce safety, few things are more precarious than bringing on a new, unproven subcontractor or vendor. Hiring reliable subcontractors and sourcing from new suppliers might take some time as it takes effort to pin down prospective professionals without carrying out a thorough assessment and historical performance evaluation. You can’t be sure of their reliability unless you put them through a rigorous qualification procedure.Apart from that, maintaining a reliable supply chain requires a diverse group of reliable vendors. These may be constructed in-house or via the assistance of a third party in order to get access to approved vendors.
  2. Efficient Cash Flow & Capital Investment ManagementThe construction industry is one of the most investment-intensive industries due to the significant amount of money spent on capital expenditures such as supplies, machinery, and means of transport. It’s reckless to put one’s company in jeopardy by not having sufficient funds to weather tough periods or deal with unpredictable circumstances. Some likely causes why businesses exhaust their liquid assets include over-leveraging, using funds and available cash on strategic initiatives, and over-investing in property and equipment that are underused. Without this safety net, construction businesses risk collapsing in the event of an unforeseen need for finance.One of the most common causes of construction businesses failing is poor cash flow planning. Your company’s performance hinges on how well you regulate its cash flow. This includes keeping track of your accounts receivable and payable, monitoring your project budgets, and sending out invoices for completed work in a reasonable timeframe. Having a steady inflow of cash helps you stay on top of your financial obligations, fund future growth, and cover unexpected costs.
  3. Bringing Third Parties & Consultants On BoardIt might be difficult to tell whether or not the vendors and subcontractors you’re working with have satisfied your basic standards for inclusion in your supply chain because of the haphazard and uneven nature of the onboarding process. It is possible to go around or skip business inspections. On the other side, onboarding may be time-consuming and resource-intensive potentially leading to delayed projects. It’s essential to be certain that the subcontractors you choose can carry out the task in a risk-free manner. Conversely, while making decisions about who to work with, it’s important to keep the growing relevance of ethical business behavior in mind.To ensure that they are a suitable match for the project, you should evaluate factors including their safety record, compliance with regulations, prior performance, credibility, and credentials like insurance and certification.
  4. Underinvestment in Technology & DigitalizationMany once-thriving companies eventually failed because their leaders failed to anticipate and respond to emerging technologies. Many businesses have folded or gone out of business because their leaders didn’t move fast enough to keep up with shifting consumer preferences and technological advancements. Organizations in the construction business that fail to keep up with the current digital landscape will soon become extinct. Drones, robotics, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and big data are just some of the technological advancements that are reshaping the construction industry.Recent data suggests that only around half of the industry’s businesses invest at least 1% of their yearly overall sales in information technology. Consistent underinvestment in innovation and a lack of willingness to develop are bad for construction businesses in the long run. Companies that innovate and adopt these new technologies and digital tools will be better equipped to handle the intricacies of building projects in the years to come. Others that resist change and go on as they always have will fall behind those who take advantage of the opportunities presented by the emergence of new technologies.
  5. Health & Safety ManagementAny health and safety certification procedure will need a RAMS since this is a common request from employers that want to see that their suppliers and subcontractors consider safety a major concern on the job. RAMS is like combining a risk analysis and a method statement in one document. When taken as a whole, they outline the steps you take to maintain a risk-free workplace environment. An additional step beyond a risk evaluation, a method statement shows that you have considered and addressed all potential hazards in the workplace. It’s a straightforward approach to transforming the results of your risk evaluation and the controls you’ve put in place into a secure procedure.It’s important to remember that although the building, plumbing, and demolishing professionals you choose may be specialists in their respective fields, they may not be authorities in health and safety, environmental concerns, or even matters like quality control or the prevention of labor exploitation. It’s possible their approach descriptions and risk evaluations are inaccurate as a result. Once you’ve settled on a team of subcontractors to do the job, you should think about the methods they’ll use to get it done so that you can prepare for any potential problems.You may create your own, or work with a professional who can help you draft a comprehensive health and safety policy. As a result, you can be certain that they will perform at a minimum acceptable level, improving the overall quality of your project.

Construction Companies Need to Meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

Without a move toward more sustainable production and consumption habits, the building industry’s climate targets will not be realized. If the construction industry is going to prevail over the challenges and difficulties that are now confronting it, then it must put climate and environmental considerations at the top of its priority list. This is especially true when one considers the fact that younger workers put a higher value on concerns pertaining to the environment and ecology.

Even if the existing infrastructure and economic systems are able to significantly cut emissions, in order to achieve carbon neutrality in the future, new solutions will be required. Just two examples of the many different areas in which new solutions are required to ensure environmental sustainability are the hiring process and the firing process. As more sophisticated technologies become readily accessible, there will be an increased need for digitalization that is of a higher quality and can really be put to use.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs is responsible for establishing Sustainable Development Goal 9 of the United Nations, and the construction sector plays a significant role in the implementation of this goal. It encourages multinational firms to make investments in the construction of global infrastructure so that a greater number of people may enjoy the benefits of industrialization and economic progress. In addition, businesses value the creation of an environment that is open to new ideas and provides support for them, which is why they take these actions. Businesses in the construction industry should work toward achieving the sustainability targets outlined in the following paragraphs.

  • The implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) ideas and the creation of infrastructure that is certified as being beneficial to the environment. The development of new transportation infrastructure needs to include more involvement and operations from the business sector.
  • A rise in investment in healthcare-related real estate, as well as the promotion of workplace health and safety, the delivery of medical treatment, and the facilitation of activities designed to foster teamwork, are all components of this initiative. It is important for businesses in the construction sector to become involved in corporate citizenship and sponsorship programs in order to make the communities in which they do business better places.
  • The opportunity to construct and direct educational institutions needs to be made available to all working people. Activities such as corporate social responsibility and sponsorship programs, amongst other things, may assist companies in developing the next generation of talent for their enterprises.
  • Water supply systems, wastewater treatment and disposal systems, and flood protection and treatment facilities all need to be created in concert with one another. During the building process, companies should make every attempt to have as little of an influence as possible on the surrounding natural environment.
  • Green construction and infrastructure should be integrated into the development of energy infrastructure in order to decrease the negative impact that energy infrastructure development has on the environment. The building and construction sector have to take the initiative in conceiving and administering projects including alternative energy sources.

KanBo for Contractors and Project Managers in Construction

KanBo provides a whole construction management solution that makes it possible for general contractors and project managers to efficiently interact and communicate with involved parties such as proprietors, financiers, and engineers. Contractors can maintain a high level of oversight over schedules, capital allocation, and other business operations when better coordination and real-time communication are utilized.

  1. Improve the Strategy and Organization of the Scope of the WorkConstruction businesses and project managers may speed up the creation of comprehensive construction projects with KanBo. This allows for greater performance improvement and enhanced risk mitigation, both of which contribute to the successful completion of full projects. They have the ability to improve insight into the correlation between resources and scheduling in order to finish construction projects within the constraints of both the budget and the timeframe. In addition, the program makes it possible for project managers to readily access, analyze, and disseminate RFIs, project documentation, and other forms of legal and administrative material in order to simplify operations across departments.Contractors are able to provide virtual cooperation and efficient communication across a wide variety of teams and departments, which enables continuous monitoring of and insight into the state of the job being done. In order to make judgments that are well-informed, they also have the choice to investigate and assess the interrelationships between the various procurement activities, as well as the associated difficulties and prospective change orders.
  2. Improve Asset & Contract ManagementWith KanBo, contractors can instill greater trust in their projections as a result of the increased efficiency and transparency brought about by the implementation of a transparent and universal source of truth. In addition to this, they have the opportunity to observe the real-time link between planned procurement operations and resources, which enables them to make educated decisions.
  3. Ensure Efficient Field Execution ManagementKanBo adoption by construction businesses promotes digital cooperation between distant teams by providing effective two-way communication, which helps to eliminate dependency and solve possible bottlenecks in the building process. It makes it possible to execute construction projects in real-time in a way that is operationally effective and streamlined, producing the expected outcomes on a regular basis with a high likelihood. Project managers now have the ability to manage teams, monitor crews, and evaluate results in real-time, all while benefiting from improved visibility and transparency of the job status and overall success across workgroups.Contractors have the ability to set up an effective communication channel that can be used to send work packages out to the field and verify that the project is completed according to the requirements that were stated while simultaneously tracking, retrieving, and analyzing reports about the current state of the project in real-time to allow intelligent and high-performance decision-making based on valuable insights.
  4. Enable Extraordinary Quality and Safety EvaluationsThe construction management system provides contractors to plan real-time quality inspections in a fast and straightforward manner and to receive information on unanticipated hazards, blockages, and interdependence in advance. Contractors have the opportunity to get significant actionable information from risk analytics applied to every construction project.
  5. Implement a Management System for DocumentationKanBo’s ability to handle paperwork in an efficient manner is one of its many strengths. Construction companies may make use of a single authoritative source of information to save, retrieve, and organize all of the many forms of project documents, such as e-mails, letters, memoranda, photographs, and more. They are able to provide their teams the authority to carry out building projects and make important choices based on the paperwork that has been updated to include all of the most current alterations. By allowing users access to project documents around the clock and ensuring that financial and operational efficiency are met, it results in a decreased dependency on specialized teams such as HRM.Construction businesses have the ability to monitor all of the pertinent rules, policies, and other regulatory data, enabling them to ensure consistency for the smooth execution of projects.
  6. Improve Efficiency in the Bidding and Tendering ProcessesDigital bidding may be used to replace traditional methods that are time-consuming and resource-intensive, and it can also allow digital contact with subcontractors. Contractors may also offer effective bid management by having the capacity to generate a high number of bids, define a submission development timetable, and expedite the selection process.

Project Managers to Benefit from KanBo’s Construction Management Capabilities

KanBo enables construction businesses to manage all facets of a construction project from a central place, which is a significant competitive advantage. Any construction company might benefit from using KanBo’s project and information management solution because of its scalability and versatility. Businesses in the construction sector are no longer required to establish barriers to the free exchange of information and the innovative solutions and breakthroughs that are generated as a direct consequence of this. KanBo is adaptable enough to be included in pre-existing organizations that have established hierarchies and lines of authority.

Executive Headquarters at the Highest Level of Management

Workers may have simple access to company-wide information such as objectives and projects, tasks and personnel abilities, and company-wide announcements by using KanBo. It is feasible that upper management would set up a virtual base of operations and data on a platform that enables agile work and knowledge management. Executives in the construction business will now have fast access to data and analytics that are displayed in a very visual manner. It’s possible that an organization’s innovation strategy might benefit from a decision-making process that’s both faster and more accurate.

KanBo is a Coding-Free Environment for Citizen Developers

In this section, we will just discuss two advantages of low-code approaches: faster delivery of applications and less need for human coding. It is now possible for people who are not traditionally programmers, such as project managers and business analysts, to design and create mobile apps. If IT backlogs are cleared up and shadow technologies are done away with, non-technical staff may have the opportunity to make a bigger contribution to the organization. The introduction of innovative technical strategies could be responsible for the increased productivity shown inside the knowledge management system.

One of the Best Options for Individuals Who Cannot Code

The creation of apps does not need the use of traditional programming, which means that non-professionals as well as software engineers are able to do so. It may be difficult for leaders in a company who are not proficient in coding to carry out their responsibilities in the appropriate manner. The primary advantage of using KanBo as a no-code solution is the reduction in the amount of time needed to build applications. Businesses are increasingly turning to these platforms for help since there is a shortage of in-house software specialists and an increase in the number of remote workers.

Information Industry Relies on KanBo’s Workflow Management System

A process is any activity that can be broken down into a sequence of phases that are carried out in sequential order. KanBo’s knowledge management capabilities, which allow for more efficient project administration, may be beneficial to both human resources and workers. By using the capabilities of the program, communication across teams and departments may be made much easier.

Final Word

Construction firms will need to be creative if they want to keep operating in the next years. The construction industry is facing several obstacles as a result of the present global economic climate, the scarcity of labor supply, and the limitations placed by supply chains. If contractors and project managers want to keep things functioning and without any snags, they need to be able to adapt their company procedures and long-term planning to new circumstances.

By providing a comprehensive set of building blocks for the development of various business functions across various departments, in relation to the adoption and improvement of existing systems and processes, KanBo software is one of the most comprehensive digitalization systems for construction companies. It aids businesses in fostering a cohesive workplace by giving everyone a bird’s-eye view of all projects in progress. This may help construction firms streamline their processes and save costs without compromising output quality.

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