workplace

The Importance of Communication & Real-Time Collaboration on the Worksite

Constant communication and collaboration are very important elements to the overall success of any construction worksite.This is true for a variety of reasons, including for safety reasons, to enhanced business practices, to increase efficiency and productivity, to make more effective use of construction equipment and just better overall collaboration between all parties involved.

How Construction Communication Software Increases Performance and Productivity

Real-time collaboration on construction worksites is exceptionally important because it keeps all workers and other interested parties in sync with the day-to-day activities that take place both on the site and in the office.

Effective project management can not only help save time and money, but it helps you stay on course and within your budgetary limitations. Daily accounting reports can be created to ensure that managers are aware of what they’re spending at all times. Additionally, a good project management software can help the entire team collaborate with each other and streamline the communication between team members – regardless of what location they may be working at throughout the country.

Channeling the Power of the Cloud to Improve Collaboration

Cloud-based construction management software will ensure that there is a more effective channel of communication among workers. It provides a host of benefits to the job site information management process by:

  • Increases the distribution of resources, ensuring the right tool is always in the right place
  • Keeps clients in the loop, leading to fewer misunderstandings in construction management
  • Improves interactions between the suppliers, vendors and all levels of management
  • Provides accelerated access to key documents with real-time markups to keep everyone on the same page.

Online construction management software also reduces meeting times tremendously.  Imagine needing to call a meeting or make an announcement at a moment’s notice – it could take quite some time to provide such an alert in real time or gather up all parties involved with a short notice.

Construction collaboration software can address these sort of issues and more.  It now has the tools that make it easier to achieve such a goal.  Good construction collaboration software allows managers and workers to use mobile devices to streamline the process as well.  Not only can managers communicate directly with their staff and sub-contractors, but they can obtain the information needed to update and submit professional reports, collaborate on sub-tasks and delegate assignments, provide updates and changes on to jobs relatively quickly.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge

Cloud-based construction management software is critical to remain competitive in the construction industry.  It basicallyadds value to the overall IT Networking Infrastructure for the construction industry and provides your company with a competitive edge.

Provide your team with the features you want and the functionality you need no matter where they may be with the cloud-based construction management software from FASTTAC. Our construction project collaboration software is revolutionizing the way drawings and documents are distributed on the job, streamlining communication and building collaboration regardless of where your team may be. Contact us today to request your free demo of our construction software, and start building a better bottom line for your company

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Facilities Managers: Digital Information vs. Traditional Information

Think about what Facility managers have at their disposal today, paper drawings rolled up and in “cubbies” or laid flat in large drawers.  Add to that the countless binders with manual after manual of motors, fans, pumps, panels, motor control centers, and the list goes on ad nauseam.  These are typically kept in a locked room where they cannot be lost, accessed nor updated…but they are there!  This facility information is located where it is not needed and needed where it is not located!

Technicians need access to relevant information to complete their assignments at their work locations; it must be the latest and must be accurate.  Over the years, this equipment is updated, control modifications are made, outlets are added, walls are built and demolished, and adjustments are made to solve a problems and nothing is documented.  However, when a technician is assigned to solve the next problem, the modifications previously made (which had not been documented) are now in jeopardy of being broken again by the next solution.  This costs facility managers significant money and inconveniences their customers.

When digital information is available from the start, a technician could have had all pertinent information available “as designed” at the work site and could have documented all modifications made to the original design for the solution.  In addition, any technician that follows would benefit from this documented “institutional knowledge”.   Now this next technician is working with full information and not just partial information so that any prior solutions are not broken by subsequent solutions.  This saves both time and money.

Some may say, of course the second technician will be able to perform better with information provided by the first technician.  However, the only way to actually accomplish this is to have a digital information plan.  Traditional information storage and access solutions cannot solve this problem because neither technician would have been permitted to take non digital information to a work site nor would they be permitted to “markup” the paper.  Remember that digital information cannot be lost, destroyed, or misplaced!  It can be updated remotely, modified with markups, and kept current by the technicians that use it every day.

A good digital system will be able to be used by an average technologically savvy technician; it would be able to provide the tools necessary to easily markup the electronic drawing thereby recording institutional knowledge.  Also at the same time that same digital system must protect the content from any permanent markings.

All in all, digital information will improve the service provided by facility managers and in the end, reduce their overall costs.

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Project Management on the Move with iPad Construction Apps

In business as in life, organization is the name of the game. With so many tasks to complete during the course of an average day – and many more as a particular deadline approaches – keeping an account of them is the first step to actually accomplishing these task. Project management software has taken off these days, because of their ability to sync information between team members in real time, as well as their particular utility in construction-oriented jobs.

Construction Apps Make Collaboration a Breeze

On a construction site, there are a million things to do – and different people handle fractions of the collective task. There are construction apps for the iPad that allow large-scale collaboration on such projects, from onsite workers, to offsite project managers viewing specifications and drawings at the same time. The utility of status updates and timelines are fully realized with the emergence of these apps, where only a username and password is required to log in and contribute.

Naturally, the tendency to stay consistently on schedule is a by-product of using construction apps. As the quintessential project management software, the project manager can gauge onsite progress, then amend individual task completion dates as he sees fit. Indeed; he can alert the client of the changes well in advance, and connect with the onsite team leader via the app to show the client the benefits/necessity of adjusting a milestone or deadline. Or, for hard-and-fast terminal dates, everyone involved in the project is aided by the collaborative time management features of the software. In sum – it increases productivity and helps you stay on schedule.

Project Engagement and Punch Lists

A natural byproduct of the enabling abilities of a construction information app is the ability to keep track of the project. You can be alerted vital changes as the project progresses, or notified of the completion of specific tasks by the onsite team leader as they are finished. The collaborative nature of the app then eliminates cross-talk between different parts of the team, since they all have access to the app and everyone is updated at the same time. Essentially, construction apps optimize efficiency – which leads to better results, lower costs and has benefits for your reputation.

Keeping Clients In the Loop

This crucial aspect was touched on a bit earlier, but bears mentioning again. In the past, it would have been unwieldy trying to appraise a client of everything going on mid-project; for example, what if you needed more time for a task to improve upon an expected result? Trying to explain this looked unprofessional, and had an adverse effect on your reputation.

With many of these construction apps for iPad, you can keep the client in the loop throughout the project – without drowning them in the details. Their ability to access project data files explains to them more completely than you ever could, the benefits of adjusting milestones or approving funds for better outcomes.  It never has to be complicated, especially when the right app can simply provide a simple issue identification and resolution for reference.

Project management software is the collaborative app of the future, and it’s already here. Make sure your organization isn’tleft behind with help from FASTTAC. Our construction project collaboration software ensures that everyone on your team – from contractors to clients – is on the same page all project long.  Make sure your construction management works at maximum efficiency from start to finish with help from FASTTAC.

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5 Traits of Successful Facility Managers

Taking on the responsibility of building facility management is a highly demanding, and also highly rewarding position. It is a role that requires you to have industry insight, mechanical expertise and business acumen – but there’s more. Developing or building upon the five skills below, will help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your daily operations.

1. Superior Communication Skills

While it is fair to say that superior communication skills are required in any management position, the ability to provide clear, specific and timely communication is a must for all building facility management professionals. In fact, poor communication can result in costly mistakes and a multitude of safety and security concerns.

2. Technologically Savvy

While all facility managers must have the mechanical knowledge required to effectively manage their school, hospital or building, they must also be technologically savvy from an electronics standpoint. Not only are more and more facility management solutions electronically automated, but understanding the crucial role facilities management software plays in your success is essential. Facilities management software will help you to identify areas of opportunity, to stay organized and can even be customized for your specific needs.

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3. Both Proactive and Action Oriented

To be successful in building facility management, you must be both proactive and action oriented. Proactive enough that you are able to troubleshoot and identify areas of opportunity above and beyond what your facilities management software suggests. Action oriented in that you must be able to quickly identify the best solutions for the inevitable emergency and unforeseen situations that might arise. This could include your response to in-house mistakes, mechanical failure, power outages, or weather related emergencies. You must also be able to reevaluate your facility management solutions on at least a quarterly basis, with the intent of evaluating compliance and searching for more effective solutions.

4. Motivational

Whether your team is large or small, working in building facility management requires you to learn how to motivate your team to get their job done. There are many ways to motivate your team, a few of which include: recognizing a job well-done, communication clearly, ensuring your team has what they need to succeed, and providing the appropriate ongoing and recurrent training.

5. Fiscally Responsible

If all that’s not enough, you must also have the business acumen required to be fiscally responsible. This means that you must be able to accurately project your spending, to stay on budget, and to renegotiate vendor contracts in a matter that help you meet or beat budget for the line items you are responsible for. This means you must also invest time in exploring new short-term and long-term cost-saving solutions.

Building facility management is the ideal position for anyone with the traits above, who also enjoys a job that will present them with a multitude of daily challenges. While challenges will always arise, successfully managing each challenge—and implementing the changes required to reduce the likelihood of the same challenge in the future is highly rewarding.

Make sure your building’s facilities management is prepared to handle the present and the future with help from FASTTAC. Our facilities management software solutions keep all of your documents where you need them, allowing you to easily store and save all of your building’s information to keep your team on the same page. Discover what how the facility management solutions from FASTTAC can help you build your business and request your demo today!

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Measuring Your Construction Project Management Efficiency

Regardless of the size of the construction project, contractors and project managers alike must take a proactive approach to measuring and managing their efficiency. Managing your project properly is not only essential for keeping your clients happy, but is also essential for staying on budget—and for breaking ground on your next project in a timely manner. Turn to the tips below to measure the efficiency of your current and future projects.

Create a Plan of Action with Clearly Defined Benchmarks

First and foremost, you must create a plan of action that includes a detailed workflow. Within your plan of action, you will need to set measurable benchmarks – supported by daily, weekly and monthly goals. You will need to identify the KPIs that will help to determine your progress, and as the inevitable roadblocks arise – you will need to modify your plan of action as needed. Project document management software will help you to create an organized workflow, which is also easy to share with your team. It will even help you to determine areas of opportunity. While every construction project will need to be adjusted and revised along the way, you must have an initial plan to work from – and modify this plan as needed.

Turn to Software for Real-Time Updates

Project document software will not only help you stay organized, but investing in iPad construction apps allows your team to access real-time updates throughout your project. The construction collaboration software is intuitive and easy enough for your non-technologically savvy members to update. This way you can manage your project remotely, or see the progress of multiple projects at once. This will also help you to identify areas where you can scale back to cut more costs along the way.

Provide Clear, Concise and Timely Communication

Another benefit to construction collaboration software, is that it allows you the ability to identify bottlenecks and other areas of opportunity sooner rather than later. This allows you the ability to provide timely communication. However, you must master the art of providing clear and concise communication. Do this with a combination of verbal communication and electronic communication. Don’t forget to encourage your team to ask questions, and provide feedback so that you can adjust your plan as needed.

Walkthrough Daily or Weekly to Assess Progress Firsthand

As helpful as your project document management software and iPad construction apps may be, there is nothing that can replace a live walkthrough. Depending on the scope and scale of your construction project—this will need to be completed twice daily, daily or at less active projects a weekly basis. This will help you to determine any project-specific challenges, as well provide you with invaluable insight that you can turn to for the remainder of your current project—as well as insight that often transfers to your future projects.

Managing the efficiency of your construction project is not only essential for the success of your project, but is required for further developing your project management skills. The reoccurring theme, is that you must stay one step ahead at all times—and construction collaboration software will be one of your greatest assets in achieving this goal.

When it comes to construction, time is money. Don’t let poor communication derail your project and reinvent the way your team stays on the same page with the construction documentation software from FASTTAC. Our cutting edge project management technology transcends the traditional workflow to help streamline communication and accelerate access to up-to-the-second information. Learn more about how FASTTAC’s construction documentation software can take your business to the next level and request your free demo today!

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Where is Your Data?

Facilities range in age from just constructed to the completion of the pyramids!  Many studies around indicate that the time it takes to perform maintenance and repair on facilities is as much as 33% longer per repair due to the lack of access to information about these repairs.  Much of the time the information is available, just not accessible, and some of the time the information is just not available.

You have two things to consider with this information; first, if it is the former, how do you permit “rank and file” to have simple access to it, and if it is the latter, how do you capture it so that you have it and can find it the next time it is needed.  We will address the first consideration in this writing.

Most facilities departments have received at the conclusion of each project completed specific drawings, documents, Operations and Maintenance manuals and various and sundry product information about the installation just completed.  In the past, it came in rolls of paper and in boxes upon boxes of files.  Today it can still come in this paper format as well as on CDs and DVDs, portable drives, in proprietary electronic formats that require many different types of programs to access, shared FTP sites and the list goes on.

Also, most facilities departments have a “place” where this physical and digital information is stored for safe keeping.  The larger the facility, the larger and more complex the storage place can be.  A complication of this is when the facility also has a bit of age, not quite the pyramids, but sometimes going back 50 to 100 years.

The most important thing to do with this information is, make it available to rank and file so that you can begin to attack the problem that is currently consuming 25% to 35% of your facilities budget!  Balancing the “keep it safe” and “make it available” is the challenge.  Most times facilities departments err on the keep it safe instead of making it available.

You must make drawings and O&M manuals available to rank and file to reduces this time which consumes 35% of your personnel maintenance  budget…the question is…how?

Instead of answering with what, we will discuss key considerations:

  • Having a place to store the files is not enough; you must make it “bullet proof” to protect the images from accidental acts of overwriting by competent technology users, malicious acts of disgruntled workers and random actions by your technology challenged users.
  • You must have a tool available to mark up those drawings with markings that do not change the authorship of the originator of the drawing nor modify the original file
  • Everyone using the system must be tracked and notes left behind identified with each user
  • The data should be accessible connected or disconnected from the network
  • The solution must be as simple to update as it is simple to use

 

Now that you have decided to do something to make available the hundreds, most likely thousands and very likely, hundreds of thousands of pieces of facility information…the question is…what?  It is like eating the proverbial elephant, one bite at a time.  Consistent organization of facility information across all of your facilities whether handling content or in the capture of user inputs that keep that content current will make it valuable immediately and into the future.  Focus on these considerations will bring about the answer that is right for you.