In the growth stage of your construction business – when you don’t have the resources to hire specialized employees for each role – you’ve got folks wearing a lot of different hats and running at top speed.
Managing the complexity of all of your documents and workflows (from RFIs and submittals to equipment on the jobsite) can take time your team doesn’t have, whether you’re working from spreadsheets or using a traditional construction management software. There’s a better, faster way, using Kanban boards specifically designed for construction.
The Spreadsheet Struggle
Excel has been a tried-and-true solution for so many contractors. For a long time it was the only option other than paper sheets, and it remains a great tool for organizing and tracking data. The problem with Excel is that when you need to work fast, it can be extremely difficult to identify and visualize the data you need quickly.
Classic Construction Technology
Traditional construction management software can work well for large companies with dedicated data entry teams, but these tools are often more cumbersome than valuable for smaller businesses that work in many different ways. Big platforms don’t offer any flexibility in terms of the way you set up your workflows – you’re forced to do things their way, whether it makes sense for you or not. And frequently, you’re paying for many more bells and whistles than you need.
Kanban for Construction
What Is Kanban?
Originally developed in the Japanese automotive industry and done with physical cards, Kanban is a system of project management that emphasizes the visual aspect of tasks and statuses. It’s most commonly associated nowadays with technology companies and software engineers working under the agile development approach.
But Kanban has expanded to countless other industries. Anything that requires project management can benefit from the Kanban method – especially construction.
How to Use Kanban in Construction
There are so many benefits to using Kanban boards in your construction management process. We’ll discuss a few major perks:
– Real-time data
– Instant visibility
Use Kanban boards for any type of workflow: tracking RFIs and submittals, approving equipment onsite, managing the status of documents like drawings or as-builts. You can label your column headings in any way that works for you, and you can have any number or order.
For example, you might have a board for equipment that’s as simple as “in process” and “approved.” Or you could have a board for documents with many more status options. What matters is that your team has the ability to set each workflow up the way you function best together as a company.
When working with cloud-based tools, your whole team can use the software at the same time and see real-time updates each person makes. If you’re trying to determine which pieces of equipment have approvals outstanding, and your supervisor approves a backhoe, you’ll immediately see that’s been done and you can check it off your mental list.
In all phases of construction, the biggest commodity is time. The beauty of a Kanban board is that you get all the information you need at a glance – no searching, no digging, and no sorting. Using issues as an example, you project manager will know you’re in good shape if they see 12 issues in the “resolved” column and only 1 in the “open” column, whereas it’s a different story if those numbers are reversed. And they’ll know it right away, so they can make quick decisions, take immediate action, and move on to their next tasks.
Bid Faster. Win More. Build Smarter.
Get your FREE account today to:
Construction-Focused Kanban Tools
While plenty of project management software offers Kanban boards, it’s rare to find it in the construction management field specifically. STACK’s construction solutions offer Kanban project management, in addition to advanced workflows for more complex processes.
Also included in the platform are intelligent daily reports, allowing you to pull in issues, photos, daily weather, and much more; as well as planning functionality with the ability to visualize site schedules and use dependencies. Plus, STACK offers field productivity tools to help your onsite teams work better – on or offline.