Poor document management can negatively impact your construction business. Without an organized, easy to understand system for managing your construction documents, your team could waste time looking for documents they need to do their jobs well. And since time is money, fruitless searching for documents can lead to increased costs. Lost documents can also damage your ability to serve your customers well and negatively impact business continuity.
The Cost of Poor Document Management is Millions of Dollars in Lost Productivity
A Gartner Group study says that 25% of business paper documents that are misplaced are never found again. And according to an IDC study, workers waste as much as 15% of their time searching for data they need to do their jobs. Millions of dollars are wasted each year as employees search for and fail to find the documentation they need.
Why is Document Management Important to Construction Companies?
Construction is a notoriously document heavy industry. Construction companies must manage and easily access drawings, blueprints, permits, POs, invoices, contracts, insurance information, and more. Many of these documents are revised throughout the project, which means construction companies must track multiple versions.
What is Construction Document Management?
The method that construction companies use to organize blueprints, drawings, permits, contracts, specs, and other documentation related to its construction projects. Managing documentation is an essential piece of construction accounting.
This blog will discuss electronic construction document management and provide tips for how to implement a useful construction document management system.
What to Look for in a Construction Document Management System
Look for document management that is accessible, secure, cost effective, and easy to use. Electronic document management should increase access to critical documents within your construction company while also reducing the time it takes to locate a document.
Good electronic document management systems should offer the following benefits:
- Search. You should be able to find documents in seconds using keywords.
- Organization. You should be able to categorize your documents in a meaningful way, and your system should allow versions to prevent errors and rework if crews are relying on outdated documents or plans.
- Sharing. Your system should allow you to share documents with the key people in your organization using the cloud.
- Ease of Use. It should be easy to upload and share documents with the people who need to access them. Does your system allow automatic attachments of related documents to streamline processes?
- Security. Only certain employees should be permissioned to add or delete sensitive documents.
- Scalability. Your system must be able to grow with you.
How to Integrate a Digital System to Handle Your Paperwork
If you’re worried your current construction document management processes are costing you time or money, it might be time to take a good look at your current documentation system and the processes you use to manage your documents.
A simple, two-step overview can help you to assess the status of your construction company’s document management system.
What documents to keep.
How long to keep each type of document.
What format to keep these documents in. The answer to this question may be guided by legal requirements in your state.
Second, assign rules or process to the different types of documents you handle. Some of document management is a process of deciding what to keep and for how long. For example, there will be different rules to govern how you store the following:
- Documents for current projects, which must be accessible to complete daily tasks.
- Archive documents based on legislation that governs your state and/or the state where your projects are built. Certain documents have a retention schedule, like tax information and official contracts.
6 Tips to Ensure a Successful Integration of Digital Document Management
- Create a plan to guide your document management.
- Assess how documents are handled today and identify any redundancies that you can eliminate.
- Pinpoint areas within your company where document retrieval or lack of access is a roadblock and where you can improve and speed up processes. Address those areas first.
- Ensure sure your planned system changes will be easy to adapt to your company’s culture. (Change isn’t easy, so the document management system should be able to fit your company’s culture and flow).
- Assign a person to manage the change so that there is someone who is accountable. That person should create a process document which includes rules for the organization. For example: all permits should be scanned and filed within a certain amount of time.
- Use a single platform (like an all-in-one construction management system with built in document management) wherever you can do so. If you have documents in Dropbox, google drive, other spreadsheets, then you’re creating more work for your team.
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