As construction continues to adapt to the disruption brought upon the industry in 2020, a heavy emphasis is being put on driving the effectiveness and efficiency of both project and field operations teams. One of the main initiatives that many general contractors have taken on is implementing construction software that allows them to quickly and easily share information across the organization.
In recent years, many operations teams have resorted to using Microsoft Excel as a basis for their human resources database. It has proven a strong tool for resource management and workforce planning. While Excel can be a powerful tool for organizing data, the more expansive the spreadsheet system becomes the more likely it is to be riddled with errors. On top of that, while an Excel spreadsheet could be considered “centralized data”, the lack of permission controls often results in a hesitation to share information with the larger team.
Your resource management and workforce strategy is one of the few processes that will touch every department in your organization. As a result, the full value that centralized workforce data provides can be lost if that data isn’t readily available for your teams to access and analyze when strategizing for project bidding, resource allocations, marketing and sales, and recruitment and employee retention.
Building trust in data means making the same data available to your larger team and creating a single source of truth for everyone to use as a blueprint to work from. Given the long history of using “gut-feel” for decision making and project planning, it’s clear the construction industry has had a hard time trusting data though the age of digital transformation. In fact, a KPMG study reported that only 35% of executives have a high trust in their organization’s data, with 25% stating that they actively distrust it.
Data management has come a long way in a short while though. In this article, we’re going to explore the meaning of “centralized resource management” and some of the benefits that come along with it.
What is centralized resource management?
While there are tools in place that can significantly help with collecting, processing, and storing data, centralized resource management is as much a concept as it is a software platform. It’s putting the right tech stack in place to unify multiple sources of information and establish a standardized methodology across your entire organization. This is no easy feat. Different work teams are often siloed off, software adoption takes time and costs money, and building a culture that trusts data will take time and energy.
Centralized resource management helps to ensure cross-functional access and can boost your data to provide the value it actually represents. If people are your greatest asset, your workforce data would be a close second. That means data collection, storage, and accessibility should be a high priority.
Easy-to-use resource management tools, like Bridgit Bench, that were built specifically for construction not only help to lighten the load when implementing a data-driven process, they also help to surface relevant information when creating strategies and forecasting project demands for your project pipeline. Let’s explore some of the benefits of centralized resource management.
5 Benefits of centralized resource management
PRESERVING THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR DATA
Data integrity may be one of the most important benefits of centralizing your workforce data. There should be no redundant data present in your resource management system. The more you add repeat information, the more mistakes you’re likely to make when deciding which resources belong on which project.
With a centralized resource management system in place, your data is always up to date and redundancies are easily avoided. On top of that, potential errors are surfaced immediately and operations are able to quickly remedy any issues.
DRAMATICALLY IMPROVING YOUR OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY
Maintaining your workforce data in a series of spreadsheets can be incredibly tedious and time consuming. When your organization’s workforce data is controlled within a single source of truth, like a resource management tool, the members of your team previously tasked with managing your data can be switched over to more profitable core business needs and processes. On top of that, it allows you to completely eliminate the manual data-entry and processing, which helps to reduce the risk of poor decisions and provides more time to react when project changes occur.
Let’s take a look at a real life example. With offices across the US, Andersen Construction’s Operations Manager, Mark Horton, was spending over 9 hours each week maintaining their workforce data in a series of spreadsheets. While that time was spread out over the week, the end result is undeniable – the equivalent of an entire workday was spent copying and pasting data from one spreadsheet to the next. Since implementing a centralized resource management tool, Horton has already cut that time down to three hours that gets spread across their project operations team. Read Andersen’s full case study here.
ACHIEVING DATA STANDARDIZATION AND CONSISTENCY
A centralized repository of workforce data allows you to consistently manage and share your data across internal systems and across multiple offices. That not only means that everyone is looking at the same information, but also that everyone understands the information they’re looking at. Your team will also be able to work with your data more effectively and with less preparation time, helping to optimize your internal processes end to end.
CONTROLLED TRANSPARENCY FOR DIFFERENT LEVELS OF ACCESS
Once you’ve made the decision to implement centralized resource management, your data will be secured and users won’t be able to access your workforce data without being given the appropriate permissions. This level of controlled transparency means there is no need to store private information on multiple platforms or spreadsheets.
Bridgit Bench, for example, allows you to create custom permission groups to provide different levels of access to different work teams. This helps to not only control access, but also helps to improve collaborative efforts by allowing you to comfortably provide more access to your workforce planning process and helps to break down departmental silos that may exist within your organization.
IMPROVED COMPANY CULTURE THROUGH BETTER COMMUNICATION
By improving collaboration within your organization and providing access to not only your decision-making data, but also your decision-making process, you allow your team to participate and better understand organizational strategies. Not to mention that errors in planning will ultimately lead to errors and confusion on the jobsite. Keeping everything up to date and accessible helps to improve company culture by eliminating errors that potentially trickle down to the project level. In fact, Autodesk & the Field Management Institute (FMI) indicate that 52% of rework is caused by poor project data and miscommunication.
In addition to the benefits listed above, centralizing your resource management also helps to improve the overall quality of the data you capture and build trust in a data-driven culture within your organization. For more information about construction resource management, read our guide here.