The construction and building industries provide employment, housing, business stability and growth to a large swathe of the population. Though the industry has seen growth and change, it hasn’t taken up available digital management technology at the rate of other industries – much to its detriment.

Some of the largest issues hitting the industry currently are unique to the size and structure of the construction industry workforce; a large contracted/temporary workforce; an over-reliance on old/outmoded systems; and underutilisation of helpful newer technologies which streamline processes.

In order for the industry to truly adapt and thrive in our modern cities, some drivers for change need to be set into action, starting with the streamlining of payments to contractors and employees.

BricklayerImage via www.thinkstock.com

Progressive Payments

The construction industry is risky business. With a larger than normal percentage of its projects, its employers and its employees at risk of the effects on insolvency, the construction industry is a set of rolling dice.

Compounding the problem is the industry’s reliance on an unusual workforce constitution.
Most construction companies employ their workers as individual contractors, with separate rates, conditions and payments (as opposed to most other industries with a centralised payroll). This creates a backlog of problems for employers, as there are an almost un-trackable amount of payments to generate, and for contractors, it’s even worse…

Contractors are often left high and dry; when employers enter into insolvency, there is no protection for contractors, who are often paid manually at the end of their contract.

As a result, one of the largest problems and bottlenecks in the industry is created by the lack of willingness to adopt new technology. Progressive payment platforms (payment software which allows companies to process invoices and pay contractors incrementally, and save their data in order to automate future payments) alleviate the problems inherent in the current manual payment model, and protect contractors from unnecessary risk and loss. They’re also relatively easy to roll out, and have low ongoing operating costs. Progress claim template usage is simple enough for even the most luddite among us.

ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software takes a holistic approach to digital business tracking. It allows companies to streamline their inventory and purchasing processes into a single operating system, allowing for less training and ongoing maintenance.

It also combines employee and contractor data, HR resources, WH & S resources and finance data. It is a digital bulletin board, warehouse and encyclopedia in one.

ERP software gives businesses the freedom to invest in a complete software solution, and it’s easily integrated with payment systems for maximum freedom. ERP software is often used on handheld devices and mobile phones, meaning that it travels with you wherever you go.

ERP software also has the agility to operate across devices – meaning that its use can be transferred across sites and cities. For large construction companies, this means the ability to effectively carry out multiple complex jobs at once, with separation of information. It also means that contractors, employees and employers have unprecedented access to their data sets – an architect in one city can easily upload plans and revisions into the ERP which can be accessed in a remote location across the country.

Streamlining a complex industry like construction doesn’t need to be fraught with difficulty. Smart technological solutions offer painless fixes to age-old problems, and allow for the integration of new technologies as they develop. Through the use of ERP and progressive payment software, companies are better able to adapt to their modern workforce, and offer the stability and service that their employees, contractors and clients expect.