Tag Archive for 'Project Business Automation (PBA)'

Why Recognizing Your Construction Company is a Project Business is Critical for Success

By Daniel Bévort

How would you categorize your construction company? If you think about it, the construction part of it is just about the type of projects you do. Essentially, your company is a project business, a company that provides products or services for their customers through projects. 

Project business is an industry just like Retail and Manufacturing because projects are their primary business function. For example, if we think of a retail business, it’s about reselling goods to consumers. It doesn’t matter what goods you sell. Whatever it is, if you sell it to consumers, you are a retail business. The same goes for a manufacturing business. It doesn’t matter what products you make, if you manufacture it, you are a manufacturing business. 

Project business is the same. Whatever the product or service is, if you are running and delivering projects to your customers, you are a project business. The same holds true in construction – 80 percent of what you do is about managing projects.

Project Management as a Central Component of a Project Business

Oftentimes, people think managing a project and managing a project business are interchangeable. They’re not. Project management is something that a business does, regardless of the type of business it is. Project management applies knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to complete projects and is a central component of a project business. Since projects are temporary, managing a project is also temporary. On the other hand, project business is enduring and as such, managing a project business is an enduring activity. 

Characteristics of Project Businesses

Although we can compare project business to traditional industries like retail, distribution or manufacturing, there are several major characteristics unique to project business. Unlike traditional industries:

Projects are Temporary and Unique to Each Customer

Retail, distribution, and manufacturing companies produce or sell the same goods repeatedly. This allows these companies to take advantage of standardized processes and KPIs, automation, and economies of scale more easily than project businesses. As a result, these traditional businesses are more predictable and can replicate procedures and processes easier than project businesses.

Project Business Processes Can Differ Depending on Who is Doing Them

In traditional industries, processes and data are standardized no matter who is doing the work. In a project business such as construction, it all depends on who is executing the task. With the amount of detail included in a specific project plan, processes can differ between different project managers who have different preferences. Even the data that is considered important and used to make critical business decisions can be different across the company. This makes project businesses more complex than traditional businesses. Since project business processes aren’t uniform, it’s difficult to manage the business functions and establish standard metrics to measure performance.  

With all that in mind, it’s no surprise we’ve seen productivity in traditional sectors continue to grow while it has remained stagnant in construction and other project industries. This increase in productivity has largely been attributed to technology. The construction market has been slow to embrace digital technology solutions compared to other business sectors. It’s a lot easier to apply technology to standardized processes and data in order to automate and increase production. However, it’s not so easy with project-based construction businesses that have unique products and non-standard business practices.

And while there’s been advancements in equipment and mechanical tools in construction, streamlining business processes and boosting productivity through technology has remained a fragmented prospect. 

The important thing to keep in mind is if you’re not integrated and automated on the back end with your business processes, you’re not going to improve to the degree you want no matter how effective you are in the field.  

Identifying as a Project Business is Key to Growth and Success

In order to improve productivity and optimize your business for success, it’s important to first identify as a project business. Once you do that, it’s easier to see how you can improve, structure your project business processes, and identify what systems and solutions are possible.   

Project businesses need to govern their business activities in the same way traditional industries have. More specifically, they need to be able to control their business processes to optimize business performance. To do this, first look at the core activities for a project business.

Project Businesses engage in the following activities:

  • Scheduling, resource management, change control, risk and issue management, time and expense
  • Costing and estimating, budgeting, cost control, EAC/BAC, cash flow management
  • Earned value analysis and management, forecasting, KPIs, profitability
  • Project-owner collaboration, portfolio/program management, HR management, sales, customer service, business intelligence and financials

These are the key areas you need to focus on when building a successful business foundation for your construction company. When your business depends on the successful delivery of projects to your customers, it’s critical to be on point here. Recognizing your construction company as a project business is the first step to setting the foundation for expansion, growth and profitability. Failing to identify as a project business will lead to challenges in business productivity and performance. 



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This feature appeared in the April 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Catching Up to Keep Up

By Greg Sitek

By now you’ve had a chance to face the fact that we are well into the new year 2020, which is also the start of a new decade, the second in this the 21st Century. One of the many things that has change in recent times is the speed at which thing evolve or change. Many people look at the construction industry and think that it is slow to change. Although it may appear to be it isn’t.

Granted, much within the industry doesn’t change — the equipment used doesn’t “look” like it has changed but equipment owners and operators know that it has. Construction equipment is more efficient and more productive; requires less maintenance; is more comfortable in all kinds of weather and all kinds of climates; it has machine controls to assist the operator; some can be operated remotely, and the list goes on.

Typical hand held construction tools have changed evolving from the once standard corded tools to battery powered versions that deliver as much if not more productivity without the hazard of electric cords stretched a jobsite. Lighting has improved radically not only on the mobile equipment but also on the hand-held and on the jobsite. 

If you think about it, there has been a lot of change with the equipment, tools, safety devices, lighting, signs, communications, data and information collection and distribution, design and engineering and management.

Along with these changes have come an endless list of acronyms. If nothing else, our world has gone acronym crazy. Some of them have become a part of our jargon and we know instantly what they while others take time to figure out and still others need someone to explain them to us.

BIM is one of the acronyms that has become more common. What is BIM? Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that begins with the creation of an intelligent 3D model and enables document management, coordination and simulation during the entire lifecycle of a project (plan, design, build, operation and maintenance). (Autodesk.com)

What is BIM used for? BIM is used to design and document building and infrastructure designs. Every detail of a building is modeled in BIM. The model can be used for analysis to explore design options and to create visualizations that help stakeholders understand what the building will look like before it’s built. The model is then used to generate the design documentation for construction. (Autodesk.com)

What is the process of BIM? The process of BIM supports the creation of intelligent data that can be used throughout the lifecycle of a building or infrastructure project. (Autodesk.com)

Another acronym that has become popular is IoT — The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Wikipedia

We ran a few article on IoT in the ACP magazines and on this website. The most recent, Construction Enters the IoT Age, was posted on December 15, 2019 (http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=17582). According to market research firm, IDC, worldwide IoT spending will surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. It’s already disrupting many industries – from gathering sensory data on agricultural crops, trucking routes or the state of consumer appliances, to monitoring patient heart rates in healthcare. Construction has joined this IoT revolution. A study released by Dodge Data and Analytics, in partnership with Triax Technologies, found that nearly three-quarters of contractors surveyed believe IoT will help them control occupational risks, and about half expect it to reduce risks to the public, as well as financial risks and those related to property damage and construction defects.

Another article, The Future of Construction from DEWALT — Introducing the New Age of Jobsite Connectivity, was posted on May 31, 2017 (http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?p=14373). This article looks at the use of IoT to help contractors with asset management on the job. 

What’s next? How about, PBA – Project Business Automation. Project Business Automation (PBA) defines a new software category that integrates the fragmented project application landscape into one system, allowing information to flow freely throughout the enterprise, which means radically better and timelier insight and business management capabilities.

Project Business Automation is changing how project business gets done. It takes companies from a disparate and cumbersome collection of manual processes and business applications to a unified, holistic approach to their business. It takes a revolutionary look at the project business and enable entirely new capabilities that drive substantial improvements in efficiency, visibility, and control that ultimately lead to better project outcomes. ( http://www.adeaca.com/    )

Watch for articles on PBA in future issues of the ACP magazines. Meanwhile, to get caught up and/or keep current with changes in the industry take in some of the 203 educational session at the upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, March 7-10, LasVegas NE.

This editorial appeared in the 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder