The value of raw digital data cannot be overvalued. Digital data helps you maintain transparency and control of your projects. It can save up to 50 % of your costs. Disappointingly, contemporary records and project deliverables are still too often transmitted via pdf’s – or even paper.
Ironically, this leaves project stakeholders manually extracting data that was already digital in origin. How can you avoid this loss of control and money?
In today’s super-competitive construction climate, raw digital data is an unexplored resource that can help the bottom line. A recent McKinsey report estimated on-site productivity in the construction industry could be increased by as much as 50% by using a cloud-based reporting platform.
New construction-centric digital reporting management system platform such as Kapio Cloud, allow construction managers to rapidly assemble accurate data in near real-time, data that is both backward-looking and predictive.
Serious problems can be detected as they happen
Philip Wright, Contracts Consultant at Optimise International, has more than two-decades of experience with the construction industry. He gives an illustrative example.
For instance, consider the specialist suppliers that may be involved in the initial phase of a construction project – a geotechnical designer, a concrete supplier, a specialist in fabrication of reinforcement cages, and finally a foundation contractor are all working on a project. Each of these respective suppliers and their data inputs must be managed; The procurement strategy for these suppliers will also have an influence upon how these data inputs are managed too. There will be a significant amount of information to manage even before execution of the works commences.
Multiple players increase the need for transparency
The many supply inputs have an influence on each other. Therefore, the risk influences within these supply inputs must be assessed. This is especially the case, when any negative influencing factors increase the risk of not achieving specification or worse still, catastrophic failure.
Therefore, we must seek to mitigate the risk of these possible negative influencers upon the final execution. To do this, supplier contract deliverables in terms of technical and quality parameters need to be as transparent and collaborative as possible; here the procurement strategy will play a part too.
Importantly, the information supply chain needs to be lean to avoid the risk of data entry error. An effective and efficient way to overcome error is to use raw digital data or use a digital quality management system.
This maximises the chances of spotting supplier non-compliance, especially in the case where the non-compliance is left unchecked and compounded together with other instances of non-compliance in the supply chain can ultimately significantly increase the chances of failure. Analogous systems rely heavily on human interaction and with it, the risk of human error in each information process.
Difficult to cross-analyse analogous data
If we consider a procurement scenario whereby a main contractor has chosen to sub-contract every aspect of his work, say for example the geotechnical works – then, there would likely be a separate agreement for each supplier under the umbrella of the main contractor and not necessarily under the umbrella of each sub-contractor.
In this scenario, the chances of losing control of the data are dramatically increased, which means the risk is increased. Accordingly, the management systems for this scenario will need to be effective to be able to manage this increased risk. With analogous data from many sources it is a lot more difficult to get an overview, especially in real-time, which is really what you need. Philip Wright explains:
If we consider, analogous reporting and QA systems; here I include PDF based systems too, then the control and analysis of data is really important to be able to achieve specification and ultimately acceptance of the works. Invariably, such systems are reliant upon manual data entry from digital to analogous format and in some cases back to digital to allow for assessment against the project specification.
The above described method of data acquisition is invariably error prone and time consuming, especially if the data must be used to cross-analyse conformity with specification. Under such a procurement scenario, unless we are the main contractor, every other stakeholder will find it difficult to cross-analyse data from other suppliers. This is important as this data has an influence upon the works being performed.
Digitally stored data – a virtual gold mine
A collaborative approach is required and with digital based systems this scenario can be managed extremely effectively. Not only will a digital system tick all the boxes required for the contract deliverables and QA systems on most construction projects, but all the digital data that is amassed during the project lifetime is no longer subject to archive once the project is complete.
On the contrary, if we consider artificial intelligence and machine learning, then this acquisition of digitally stored data can be extremely valuable in the future. Essentially, contractors could be sitting on assets of archived project data they never considered had any value. It’s a virtual gold mine. According to Wright,
A client may be best positioned to request transparency through a cloud-based digital reporting system that can be used in a collaborative environment which greatly mitigates errors to the benefit of all parties.
- Reinventing Construction: A route to higher productivity. Barbosa, F. et al. Report McKinsey Global Institute, February 2017
- See how you can use Kapio to store raw digital data