Why an Inefficient Workflow Is Keeping You from Success – and How to Fix It

fix inefficient preconstruction workflow

If you find your construction business stuck in the same revenue range year after year but you feel ready for growth, it could be an inefficient preconstruction workflow that’s holding you back.

Your crew can be the best in the business, but if you aren’t able to bid accurately or quickly enough to win the right jobs, they won’t get to demonstrate their skills, and you’ll never reach the level of success you want.

Why “This Is How We’ve Always Done It” Doesn’t Cut It

Just because a workflow has always been one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Here are three major problems with this way of thinking:

   1.  The market is constantly changing. Operating by strictly traditional methods could mean you miss out on finding jobs to bid, or being incapable of bidding jobs per customer requirements.

   2.  Competition gets fiercer every day. You could be at a significant disadvantage if your competitors are more willing to think outside the box and to adopt new technologies than you are.

   3.  Growth requires scaling. If you want your business to grow past a certain point, implementing processes that allow for scaling is imperative; otherwise you’ll be stuck where you are now, or you could take on more than you can handle and put yourself in a precarious situation.

How to Identify an Inefficient Preconstruction Process

It’s not always easy to pinpoint where there are problems or room for improvement in your workflow since you live it day in and day out. But stepping back to examine the big picture can let you see things more objectively, and you might begin to identify some of these common issues.

Outdated Processes or Tools

Using manual methods for anything from takeoffs to accounting can be a big blow to your company’s efficiency. Digital tools exist for just about every aspect of running a business nowadays, and the right ones will exponentially reduce the time you spend on paperwork.

That said, you do need to regularly evaluate the software you use, especially if you’re on a desktop-based platform, because newer, better versions often become available. It’s essential to choose a cloud-based tech stack in a world where remote work is increasingly common.

Even if you do have the best software for each of your preconstruction tasks, though, you could still be bogged down by a process in which your tools don’t communicate with each other. Top-of-the-line systems only go so far if they’re siloed from the rest of your operations.

Duplicate Work

Is your team spending time transferring data from one platform to another? Do estimators have to wait for each other to perform takeoffs on the same plan sets? If you receive change orders or addenda on a project, do you have to study the plans closely to identify the changes and then redo a takeoff on the entire plan set?

As your team expands, if you don’t have processes in place to prevent it, you could even find that estimators end up duplicating entire takeoffs. If there’s no bid assignment setup and no clear tracking, your team might have no insight into what each other is doing. Bidding on the same project from within the same organization is not only a waste of effort, but also looks unprofessional to potential customers.

All of these issues – or even something as simple but time-consuming as flipping through plan pages multiple times to find what you need – are things that can be eliminated with the right technology.

Human Error

Think about how much time you or someone on your team spends double checking estimates and fixing errors before proposals go out the door. From the beginning of a bid, the process can be rife with mistakes: someone has to scale the plans and can make a mistake. Measurements can be missed or items miscounted on a takeoff. Typos can cause major problems.

Each phase has its own potential pitfalls, and without the appropriate tools, you’re bound to spend extra time checking for these mistakes and fixing errors before bids can go out. This leaves you scrambling up against deadlines and not doing your best work.

When you spend so much time checking existing estimates for errors, you’re losing out on time you could have been spending searching for new and exciting projects.

Lack of Communication

Something as simple as poor team communication can create serious efficiency problems in your company. How do you onboard new estimators and check their work? If they perform entire takeoffs before you can sign off on them, but they make a mistake, how much time could have been saved if you could have reviewed their work in real-time to provide feedback? How do you handle assignments, and what happens if an estimator is out sick unexpectedly? Without proper communication channels in place, it can be nearly impossible for another employee to step in and take over the work.

Then, there’s information sharing in general. Downloading files to desktops to send via email is a document version control nightmare, where no one knows which version of a file is the most current, accurate one. This lack of collaboration grinds the gears of your company to a halt and makes growth a constant uphill battle.

Your One-Stop Shop for Preconstruction Efficiency

If you recognize any of these inefficiencies within your construction business, there’s actually great news because these are easily fixable with a single platform. Adopting a cloud-based preconstruction platform like STACK can make all of these problems a thing of the past so you can focus on the future.

Streamline Workflows

STACK is a full-service preconstruction solution, so you’re able to pull in plans from any digital source. They’ll be searchable for what you need, and on-screen takeoffs can take less than half the time of manual methods. After takeoffs are complete, you can create detailed estimates with your measurements and generate professional, bid-ready proposals all within the same platform.

STACK also integrates with a variety of tools, such as project management software, and offers an open API for you to connect other platforms you use in your workflow, so you can seamlessly move data into and out of STACK  – eliminating manual work and mitigating the risk that comes with it.

Gain Accuracy

Easily check your blueprint scale, perform digital takeoffs using full-screen crosshairs for extremely accurate measurements, and avoid human error by keeping all your measurements and data in one place. You can create your estimates directly from your takeoff, where you can add in your indirect costs, overhead, labor, and other costs to determine your final price.

No more concern that an estimator was moving too fast and skipped a line item, typed in a number incorrectly, or forgot to account for sales tax in the final bid.

Improve Team Collaboration

With STACK, your team can store and find all of their documents and plan sets in the cloud and be confident they’re working off the latest version without having to wait for a colleague to send over files. Senior estimators can check junior estimators’ work in real-time, even if they’re not working in the same office, and it’s much easier to answer questions when both parties are looking at the same current version of a document.

With robust bid calendar functionality, each project can have an owner, so estimators are never unknowingly tackling the same project, and it’s simple to reassign a bid to another team member as needed. When a bid is reassigned, all of the plans and information is easily accessible to the new estimator.

Increase Speed

Ultimately, a tool like STACK gives you back hours in your day so you can be more strategic with the time you have. Reducing the amount of time spent on performing takeoffs and fixing errors allows you to focus on which types of projects are most profitable for you and which ones you’ll be the most likely to win.

Increased capacity for critical thinking puts you ahead of the others in your market who are still racing against the clock and doing takeoffs after dinner. Instead, you can make tactical business decisions that allow you to bid more profitable work and grow your company to its full potential.

If you’re ready to see how STACK can make an impact, schedule a demo today.


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