Software holds it all together
By Jeff Winke
For asphalt paving contractors managing a jobsite with all of its variables is a big task. How effectively it is accomplished will make the difference in meeting the goals of the project and achieving highest profitability. Software is the key connector that can hold everything together.
“Software can be used in a multitude of ways,” stated Nate Aldaco, head of product development/customer success for SpotOnSite, Denver, Colorado. “From the inception of the project scope, the communication is open and can be relayed and reported through documenting issues. The project can then be shared to other team members to collaborate on effectively before, during and after. The time tracking of the project can be documented with photos and even videos that are time stamped and dated by user and assigned to each individual repair which allows full transparency to your team on who and when, but also adds valued transparency to your customers and builds trust throughout the process.
“The field management aspect is built through sharing projects to team members from people in the office to your boots on the ground. This aspect of our software makes sure everyone who needs to be involved is involved and nobody is left in the dark on any change or aspect of the job throughout the entire process. Software can also allow you to filter certain repairs by repair category, area type or area rating. This allows users and teams to delegate phases of the job to your team or contractors.”
Software provides the asphalt paving contractor with efficiencies that are beneficial to its operation.
“Specialized software applications are a vast improvement over paper or spreadsheets,” stated Greg Norris, communications director with B2W Software, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “They make it easier to record data accurately and consistently. They also produce timely reporting on performance versus plan in a field-centric format, so contractors can make more immediate and informed adjustments to operations.
“An all-in-one application that tracks labor, quantities and other customizable data is preferable because it allows contractors to get comprehensive reporting on job progress without extra steps of aggregating data from multiple, separate systems.”
Software can streamline an asphalt paving contractor’s business.
According to Jared Hislop, co-founder /owner of Bitumio, Garden City, Utah, software should focus on three areas: “Winning more business, streamlining operations, and improving customer experience.
“When we break this down, the most important way to achieve this is by automating the mundane tasks in each of these areas that suck up time or get dropped altogether. Having a robust system that is intuitive and easy to use is critical to simplifying a company’s everyday business. All aspects of a company’s business should benefit from software. All areas of a business are interconnected. A won proposal turns into a job. That job needs to be scheduled. The schedule needs to go to a crew who needs to know what was included in the proposal. The job needs to be tracked and job costed to better inform your proposals. All of these areas are interconnected and should all benefit one another.”
Software certainly helps facilitate communication.
“Software facilitates better communication by streamlining what the overall project entails once its built,” Aldaco said. “However, a project is multiple areas with lots of notes, documentation, status, photos and videos, not to mention all of the open communication that must be relayed during the project from start to finish. Software not only includes all of this for your team, it also allows you to share the project with your customers from start to finish so they are also on the same page of communication as to what is going on during the project.”
Software provides advantages
“When it comes to communication, specialized software for performance tracking provides immediacy and accuracy advantages over paper or spreadsheets,” Norris said. “The data entered into electronic field logs is more thorough, structured and accurate and it can be seen, reported on and acted on as soon as the log is submitted.
“Performance tracking software provides daily, or even real-time, reporting on progress in the field versus the plan or estimate. This data allows managers to adjust operations immediately, while there is still time to keep jobs on schedule and budget. They’re not waiting for an accounting report at the end of the month to find out if a job, a series of jobs or even a specific aspect or phase of a job is losing money.”
Software provides secure access to important information when it is needed.
“In today’s on-the-go world, software must be accessible from anywhere,” Hislop said. “Having access in the palm of your hand to: past clients, past estimates, upcoming jobs, or details about the current in-progress job is a critical aspect to run a business smoothly and streamline the sales and operations of the business.”
An advantage of software is that it can be customized to meet needs.
“Customizing electronic daily logs makes it easier to fill them out and harder to make mistakes,” Norris stated. “Logs can be set up so only employees, equipment and cost codes associated with that particular job may be entered, eliminating opportunities for errors.
In addition to fields for capturing standard data, customizable fields can also be added to electronic daily logs to capture highly-specific information needed for a particular situation, business or work type. Contractors can change the nomenclature of fields, eliminate or suppress entire sections, and change the order of sections in daily electronic logs to make them easier to use for particular requirements. Reporting on progress versus plan can be customized to provide high-level overviews or highly-specific details.”
For asphalt paving contractors managing its business and all of its jobs with all of its variables can be effectively accomplished with the various software available today. Software can provide the power, speed, efficiency and transparency that companies need to successfully succeed today.