There is no question that new technology is here to stay and the changes we will see in the next five to ten years are beyond our comprehension today. There are so many choices and options available that it can be quite daunting to know which way to go.
There are three key areas at issue:
1. What technology? It’s a bit like making the decision on whether to buy the new iPhone that has been released or wait until the next one comes out, knowing that the next one will be better again. When do you make the decision to upgrade your accounting system, your employee’s time recording system, your project management system and so on? You will never have it perfectly and with the pace of change, you will need to be changing too. The best time is always now.
There are building apps and specialized systems that help you to quote on projects, keep track of where your team are, have them record what work they’ve done on the job every day, make notations of variations as they happen and capture information in real time are key to the way you need to be working now.
There are plenty of options available. The key to choosing which one or combination is right for your business is to identify the key information and data that you would like to be collecting. Think about what you’d love to have if you could wave a magic wand over your business, what would be most helpful to you to manage your business.
2. Training. Like any new system, training is an essential component for success. There will be training courses or online training available for each system. The key is to take your team along during the change process and support and encourage them to embrace the new technology, to undertake the training and to implement and use the systems as you require.
You will inevitably have one or two employees who won’t want to change, who will be fearful of the change, perhaps worried that they may be found out to lack the skills necessary for the future. As the business owner, you need to deal with these issues and work with each employee individually to ensure a smooth transition and full cooperation.
3. Use of phones and other devices. The power of new technology lies in the ability to enter data on site in real time when the event happens. For example, when your client asks for work to be done that is out of the scope of the project, your employee can enter the details into the system whilst having the conversation with the client. This information can be emailed directly to the client for sign off, or used to calculate the dollar value of the variation to send to the client for approval before the varied works commence.
In being able to capture variations in this way, there is no chance that they will slip through and never be charged and effectively eroding the profit margin you had on the project.
The benefits of putting the time into identifying the best solution for your particular needs, undergoing the necessary training and implementation will far outweigh the challenges in the short term. The detailed information that can be recorded within builder specific systems that provides useful data from which to capture variations and make decisions can make a significant difference to the overall profit you make. The sooner you upgrade to new technology the sooner you will reap the benefits.