Why spreadsheets should be old news for construction companies

It’s every residential construction company’s nightmare.

You’re preparing to build first-time homebuyers their dream home. You’ve assembled a team of hard-working pros, drawn up a design that’s got major curb appeal and the site is prepped and ready. Your clients are going to love it!

But you’re stuck in the weeds trying to get your schedules lined up. Your subcontractor information is stored in several different locations. There are multiple spreadsheets tracking the project budget, finances and payments. Plus, your system is such a mess you can’t trust your data or quickly make a report. The stress is just too much.

Relax. There’s a better way to get the job done.

The answer? Digital technology.

We’re talking cutting-edge, cloud-based software companies with better collaboration features that lead to higher accuracy, easier scalability and tighter security.

However, spreadsheets and manual data input are as much a staple in the construction industry’s toolbelt as … well, actual tools. A study conducted by KPMG even revealed that construction and engineering executives as well as project business owners don’t tend to use advanced data analytics to monitor project performance. Translation – they’re stuck in the past.

Like all industries, digital is the way of the future for construction. So, it only makes sense these businesses get with the times and adapt a more reliable way to complete projects. That’s where construction management platforms come in. Think of them as your remedy to those spreadsheet nightmares you’re probably all too familiar with.

Construction spending in the United States from 1998 to 2018, by sector (in billion U.S. dollars)

If you’re nervous to make the switch, don’t be. Seriously, it only makes sense to give your company the tech advantage it’s been desperately needing. Here’s just a few of the reasons it’s time to excel past Excel:

1. Nearly 90 percent of spreadsheets have errors

It’s true what they say. Information is only as good as its source. Well, we have some bad news for everyone who just loves manual data input (all five of you that is). According to a report by Forbes, spreadsheets really aren’t that accurate. Emphasis on really. In fact, almost 90 percent of spreadsheets have errors and a “majority of errors reported were caused by human error.” Yikes.

Simply put, manual input is a tedious and time-consuming process prone to mistakes. And who really wants to be wrong when it comes to things like budget estimates and performance measurements?

We’ve all done it. Cut when we should have pasted, hid cells instead of deleting them, fat-fingered a digit or two. These types of general user errors are all too common for construction businesses that rely on accurate data for efficiency. In many cases, these every day oopsies can lead to poor management decisions that affect the bottom line. Double yikes.

Fortunately, construction management software can help reduce simple slip-ups. Moreover, it can streamline data entry, ensure transparency and foster collaboration and attention to detail. All of this helps to guarantee financial and job-planning accuracy across teams. There’s nothing yikes-worthy about that at all.

Buildertrend Data Report

2. Spreadsheets are insecure

Your business is exactly that. Your business. You likely don’t want any and everybody knowing the sensitive information contained in your construction spreadsheets. However, if you rely on this dated way of doing things, that means you have to send documents via email as an attachment. Uh oh. Now malicious parties can more easily get their hands on them. That’s just the digital downside, too.

Printed copies are no better. Shared between partners, colleagues and stakeholders, it’s easy for these documents to fall into the wrong hands with no easy way to determine where the leak took place. Lucky for you, taking back control of your data is easier than ever.

Keeping information in a secure construction management platform means you can control everything through easy-to-use cloud collaboration apps. But that’s not all, folks. You can also manage who can see what, reduce the amount of errors and track document changes. No more thinking twice before hitting send.

3. Scaling manual processes is impossible

The construction industry is booming. Even better, it’s showing no signs of slowing down either. One study indicates that 42 percent of construction companies are expecting revenue to increase in 2019 due to projected economic growth and a growing population.

As your business grows so too should the practices you rely on to run it. Manual input to track finances and plan might work when your company is only handling five projects. But what about 10? 15? Even 20? As your team grows, you want to keep communication clean and in check. Spreadsheets might not be your best friend there.

Instead, consider palling around with construction management software. It can accommodate your expanding needs while providing an overview of where any project stands. As your team grows, your communications and collaboration platform can grow with you. Go on and let your business boom.

4. Spreadsheets aren’t tailored for the construction industry

You need tools that work for you, not make you work. Spreadsheets aren’t built with the construction industry in mind. They’re designed to offer general features and functionalities. Think of it this way…a middle school student working on a school project is using the same program as your business.

Sure, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets can be tailored to some extent. But nothing beats the features and functions of custom designed software. Customer support can’t be beat either. The support teams behind Excel know Excel. Really well, probably. For construction specific concerns, you want a platform that’s built around your needs and only your needs. With custom management software, each feature is designed for your industry’s unique challenges. Features, tools and apps are meant to ensure better productivity and efficiency. It should give you everything you wish your old spreadsheets could and more.

Bottom line?

Like your business, technology is constantly evolving. New models replace the old and what was once cutting-edge either competes to keep up or fades away. Spreadsheets shouldn’t be the exception. For those looking to stay ahead, construction management platforms are the best way to collect and manage data specific to their needs – all in one place.

Better decision making. Trend identification. Issues laid out and made clear. All this (and much, much more) can happen when you’re using the right platform. When everything is automated and streamlined, there are more opportunities for you to focus on what you want to focus on. Stop spending hours with your head buried in row after row of cells and shift time to the strategic and creative side of your business.

For those looking to jump off the spreadsheet bandwagon and equip their business with the best tech, simply reach out to us. We’d love to help you transition from old, tired, dated, boring spreadsheets to construction management software tailored just for you. Ready to lead instead of getting left behind? Let’s chat today!

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