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How construction companies can benefit from digital information management strategies

Implementing a robust digital information management strategy could change that.

Did you know that construction is one of the least digitised industries in Australia? That means many construction companies are currently missing out on the efficiencies, cost savings and sustainability dividends associated with digital information management. Implementing a robust digital information management strategy could change that.

When you look closely at the construction industry, it’s no surprise that digital ways of working have not taken hold to the extent they have in other industries. Locally, the construction industry boasts a large proportion of small businesses, many of which don’t have dedicated resources to devote to digitisation, and a large independent contractor base. However, where some see challenges others spot opportunities.

At Canon, we’re big believers in sound information management practices. Storing information digitally is cost effective, secure and environmentally friendly. Digitising paper records also helps you reclaim valuable floor space. Best of all, you don’t necessarily need specialist in-house expertise to develop your own digital strategy. Generally speaking, a successful digital information management strategy will feature:

• A clear purpose: What do you want your strategy to achieve and when?

• A comprehensive audit of current information management practices: What’s working and what isn’t?

• Strategy actions: A list of action items for your team. For example, one action might be to migrate sensitive data to a secure cloud-based storage environment.

• Responsibilities: Who is responsible for what?

• Reporting: How will you report on implementation and successes?

• Review process: How and when will you review and update your strategy?

• Endorsement: It’s important to have senior management sign off the strategy.

There are several reasons for construction companies to consider implementing a digital information management strategy and embrace digitisation more broadly. Digitisation has been shown to drive big gains in a range of areas, from communication to training and safety. Given the persistent challenges facing the industry in terms of project costs and efficiencies, workplace safety and budget blowouts, there are compelling reasons for construction companies to embrace change.

Let’s take a look at some of the things that happen when you successfully implement a digital information management strategy.

1. Greater operational efficiencies

Implementing digital processes can help drive operational efficiencies and increase productivity. Whether it’s automating accounts payable processes, instituting digital approvals, facilitating connections with remote teams or cutting down on unnecessary travel between the site and head office, the benefits of digital processes cannot be underestimated.

2. Improved communication and collaboration

Good communication across your organisation isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s essential. Construction workers regularly cite miscommunication between the office and work site as a contributing factor to inefficiency and low employee morale. Digital communication tools can solve that by enabling greater levels of collaboration, remote access to important information and improved record keeping.

3. Streamlined supply chain management

One of the biggest barriers to improved productivity is inefficient supply chain management. Paper-based accounting and invoicing practices can eat into a company’s profitability very quickly. Think about how much time senior staff waste on manual tasks - time better spent on more productive and profitable tasks.

4. Enhanced security

Data security is a major issue for businesses. Construction companies typically hold large amounts of sensitive data, from employee records to confidential contracts and tender documents. Quite often, these are physical paper documents or stored in email inboxes. Secure, cloud-based storage solutions are safe, accessible and reliable.

5. Improved compliance and safety

Safety is a major issue for the construction industry. It’s also an area where digitisation can help. Digital solutions allow you to give authorised users with a smartphone immediate access to critical information, like the documents needed for effective incident reporting. Once submitted, incidents can be automatically escalated to site managers or back-office managers enabling faster decision making when it matters most.

As you can see, a well thought out digital information management strategy can lead to some serious efficiency and productivity gains. The question is: When will your company implement one?

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