Contruent Blog

Facilitating Collaboration Between Headquarters and Remote Construction Sites

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted almost every facet of society and transformed the way professionals collaborate across virtually every industry.

Organizations that had long required their employees to dutifully report for work at an office were suddenly forced to reconfigure their communications networks and expectations. Overnight, social distancing and health concerns transformed millions of homes into remote workplaces.

And once the pandemic finally receded, workers expected employers to continue their work-from-anywhere policies.

Collaboration and communication across a far-flung network of remote workplaces had become the standard for businesses of every size.

Facilitating Collaboration Between Headquarters and Remote Construction Sites

Far ahead of the curve on remote collaboration

At Contruent, we’re proud to acknowledge that we were preparing the mega-construction industry for work-from-anywhere long before COVID put it on every company’s agenda.

The remote collaboration tools that fuel the efficiency and accuracy our solutions deliver were developed years ago to address issues that resulted in construction projects routinely failing to meet budget and schedule expectations.

In the engineering and construction world, remote collaboration is essential. Owners and their teams of office-bound project estimators, contract managers, procurement professionals and accountants need to communicate and engage with the contractors and suppliers at the site, which in many cases is on another continent.

Outdated communication processes, inefficient data sharing

This communication was largely conducted through legacy electronic formats. Estimates, change orders, contracts, payment requests and invoices moved between the supply chain and the owner via email, using a wide range of attachments and formats.

At each step along the chain, an attachment might be revised, deleted or improperly shared. Inconsistencies and inaccuracies proliferated, with many different parties working with many different versions of the same document.

Driving accuracy and transparency across the supply chain

What if we could eliminate this inefficiency, we asked ourselves, and speed up the process of remote collaboration? How might that contribute to increased accuracy? How could that deliver a single source of truth that would help keep these huge projects on time and on budget?

And so our gated contractor portal and contract workflow were developed to deliver efficiency and transparency across the entire supply chain.

Online portal fosters document consistency and a common vocabulary

The contractor portal requires every supplier or contractor to enter documents into the system using a predetermined format. Data and metrics become consistent across all suppliers, facilitating a common vocabulary used by all stakeholders. Each document remains a single, accurate and continually updated version as it moves through the system.

The portal allows gating based on level of approval, so as estimates, contracts and invoices increase in size, they’re routed directly to the party with the appropriate approval authority.

And while stakeholders on the owner’s side can view any document and see all data from every contractor and supplier, each contractor and vendor can see only the data and documents that pertain to them.

Templated contract workflow speeds the entire process

The contractor portal was designed for ease of use, which is also a key benefit of our contract workflow. It’s simple to set up and readily deployable right out of the box.

Project managers can quickly configure the necessary workflows, assigning roles and their corresponding approval thresholds, and entering contact information. Efficient communication and effective collaboration between the owner and the geographically dispersed supply chain are quickly established.

The templates are built on best practices gleaned over more than a quarter century of industry experience, so virtually every need is addressed. Work can begin quicker and more accurately—from planning and estimating through project completion—with complete transparency.

Significant delays are avoided, resources can be reallocated as needed, budget-busting traffic jams are avoided, and work follows the schedule much more closely.

The ease of use and scalable efficiency your projects demand

Alternative project management approaches feature drawbacks that put both the budget and the schedule in jeopardy. Manual project management, which relies on spreadsheets and error-prone, time-intensive human data entry, cannot hope to match the scale and complexity of mega-construction projects.

Customizable software solutions, on the other hand, are virtually blank palettes, requiring protracted blank-sheet discussions among shareholders about what to do and how to do it—all before any work can commence.

And each expensive month that passes while process consensus is sought puts on-time and on-budget further out of reach.

Hit the ground running sooner and with greater precision

Mega-construction projects—rail systems, energy grids, transportation networks—present unique sets of enormous challenges. If remote collaboration isn’t established quickly and maintained effectively, the countless course changes, delays and unexpected variables that attend any large endeavor will magnify exponentially across the project lifecycle.

Get your project started sooner and establish the single source of truth that will help you achieve your budget and schedule projections.

Want to learn more? Speak to a Contruent professional today.