The impact of technology in the professional contractor industry has changed drastically over the past ten years. The explosion of mobile devices, ubiquitous LTE connectivity, and cloud-based file storage has made a big difference. Running from job-site to job-site with file folders full of timesheets, bill of materials, and progress reports can be a thing of the past with the right use of technology.
There are many similarities in the professional contractor space to the family-owned businesses, because most are started and run that way today. Be sure to check out that post if it applies to your situation.
Real-time Job Tracking
Job tracking and updates are critical to professional contractors. The coordination and phasing of labor, materials, and subcontractors can quickly overwhelm even the most seasoned field and project managers! Providing technology that enables job issues and updates to happen in real-time is key.
By combining mobile devices with cloud-based applications you can have online job tracking that is visible in real-time to your Project Managers. From a technology standpoint, it is important that your job tracking system be mobile-friendly, and available remotely. There are literally HUNDREDS of cloud-based job tracking software applications out there. The key is to find the one that will integrate well with your accounting package and specific industry.
A technology roadmap is critical when selecting what job tracking application(s) you may want to use. Trying ad-hoc solutions and not thinking through the entire project lifecycle leads to frustration and duplicate data entry if you are not careful.
Stop Using Email for Job Tracking
First, read this post on how you should stop using email. Many contractors utilize email as an elaborate job tracking system, which is a huge productivity drain. Not to mention very frustrating once you have 263,000 folders and your Outlook is non-responsive!
The first step to solve the "email" issue is to adopt a cloud-based document storage platform. Many contractor-specific project management apps have some type of document storage capability, but we have found a standalone cloud-based document storage solution like Microsoft SharePoint, coupled with a workflow engine like Microsoft Flow can also be a great way to manage your document workflow. Once you have this up and going everyone has the LATEST copy of the documents and sign-offs can happen digitally. No more searching for documents in your Inbox!
Professional Contractors need a technology roadmap that is mobile-first and cloud-based. The pain of data re-entry into multiple systems, intake of paper (or spreadsheet-based) forms, and lack of job visibility affects both profitability and scale. Sitting down with an experienced technology partner to develop this roadmap BEFORE it affects your business is critical!