While operational software is growing in popularity among a variety of industries, the construction industry, in particular, is taking notice of how this software can streamline processes and increase efficiency. In fact, one survey found that over half (56%) of SMB construction companies have already adopted construction management software to make the lives of their builders and contractors just a bit easier.
While there are a variety of out-of-the-box solutions available for construction companies, many organizations find that off-the-shelf software often falls short. As such, more organizations are electing to build custom-tailored construction management software to meet their needs.
If you’re considering acquiring your own custom solution, the first step is to start planning out what that will look like. To get started, here are just 7 must-have features for construction management software.
1. Bid Management & Financial Management
Step one for most construction projects is the initial bid, and your team is likely submitting multiple bids at once. In turn, your company may also be receiving bids from sub-contractors. After a while, keeping track of RFPs and submittals alone can become a juggling act. Instead, manage all this information through bid management software, which can provide you with savings in time, boosts in productivity, and more detailed reporting.
Throughout the bid submission and approval process, you’ll most likely also want to track the associated financial information. In addition, you’re likely tracking payroll, invoices, and project budgets, among others. When tracked manually, you increase your likelihood for miscalculations. Instead, use accounting management software for accurate expense tracking to financial forecasts.
2. Customer Relationship Management
Once a bid has been accepted, and you’ve acquired another client, you’ll have to keep track of that client’s contact information, relevant details related to their project, and your communications with them. And even if your team is excellent at juggling the needs of your clients, a CRM (customer relationship management system) can make them even better.
Not only does a CRM provide your team with the tools necessary to make recordkeeping and communication more manageable, but it can automate some of the tasks required to ensure you’re meeting your clients’ needs. From automatically sending reminders to project updates, your CRM can save you time to provide your client with a better customer experience. Plus, the average ROI for a CRM is $8.71 per dollar spent on the system (Nucleus Research).
3. Project Management & Scheduling Management
After your client’s project begins, you’ll need to develop timelines for your team, as well as your sub-contractors, to get the project rolling. With so many moving parts, ensuring that everyone is on the same page can be a challenge. As such, it should come as no surprise that one survey identified project tracking as the primary feature (73%) sought by construction companies, making project management and scheduling software possibly the most desirable features.
With the help of project management software, a company can foster improved collaboration, especially when not all of your team members are on the premises. When integrated with scheduling software, your project managers can assign tasks to sub-contractors, as well as develop comprehensive project plans that can be easily shared with all stakeholders involved.
4. Inventory Management & Equipment Management
Most construction projects call for thousands, if not millions of dollars, in materials—that doesn’t even include the multi-million dollar equipment that must be accounted for, maintained, and distributed to the appropriate locations. When not adequately tracked, you can find yourself losing track of where materials or vehicles are, when orders need to be placed, and more.
The good news is software can help in both areas. Inventory management software makes it easy to search for and distribute materials in a timely and efficient manner. Likewise, equipment management software can be integrated with your scheduling system to send you reminders for when equipment needs to be at a job site, as well as alert you when your equipment is due for maintenance.
5. Document Management System
All of the tasks mentioned above produce a significant amount of paperwork, including financial documents, those RFPs and submittals, contracts, and so much more. Physical paperwork comes along with the downside of needing to be stored in a physical space, not to mention a surplus of time and money: Research has found that it costs an average of $20 to file a document, $120 to find a missing document, and $220 to reproduce documents that have been lost entirely.
Rather than waste time, money, and space, you can consider going paperless with a cloud-based document management system (DMS). Especially when you already have an existing system, such as a CRM or project management software, you can easily integrate them together. With the two systems integrated, you can say goodbye to sifting through paperwork, and instead, easily store and distribute documents via your cloud-based system.
6. Communications Software
Whether it be emails, text messages, or phone calls, you and your team can easily find yourselves lost in the surplus of communication channels. Between receiving requests from clients to answering contractors’ questions, information can easily get lost. With communication ceasing to move forward, the progress of your construction projects will likely slow down as well.
To keep your clients happy and projects moving forward with timely communication, you can use communication software. By integrating this software with your CRM, for instance, you can automate some of your replies to clients; that way, you’ll never miss an important message. Likewise, when integrated with project management software, you can tie communications to a specific project, making it easier to track what questions are related to which project, for instance.
7. Mobile Compatibility
Many organizations are benefitting from cloud-based software, even those that spend the majority of their time in the same office from week to week. In the construction industry, however, most every project takes place at a different location. Not only that but the project managers, sub-contractors, and more are often not all on-site at the same time, nor have quick access to a desktop or laptop computer.
With most software now cloud-based, your construction company and partners can access the data they need from any time and anywhere. In this way, when your software is made accessible from a mobile device, via a mobile app or mobile responsive design, your project managers will be able to access project specifications to schedules from the palm of their hand.
Need a Custom Construction Management Software Solution?
While there is more than one construction management software for builders and contractors out there, those cookie-cutter systems aren't suitable for every construction company. Whether you’ve scaled or your unique need aren’t being met by the software you have, you may need custom software.
At ClikFocus, our team has been building operational software for over a decade. From project management to inventory management systems, we’ve small to enterprise-level organizations with software solutions that produce results.
To start discussing your solution today, drop us a line.