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BEST PRACTICES GUIDE
Waste Not, Want Not –
Optimize Employee Productivity
Through Collaborative Software Tools
for Documen...
Waste Not, Want Not
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
According to an International Data Corporation (IDC)
whitepaper, the aver...
Waste Not, Want Not
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
Let’s see this story unfold … so now Dan, the Project
Manager, realizes h...
Waste Not, Want Not
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
So, instead of being reactive and wasting time
searching for documents sh...
Waste Not, Want Not
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE ‘IN’BOX
Email may be named a necessary evil. It’s...
Waste Not, Want Not
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
© 2015 Viewpoint, Inc. dba Viewpoint Construction Software. All Rights Re...
viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197
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Waste Not Want Not Best Practice Guide

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Waste Not Want Not Best Practice Guide

  1. 1. BEST PRACTICES GUIDE Waste Not, Want Not – Optimize Employee Productivity Through Collaborative Software Tools for Document Control and Workflow
  2. 2. Waste Not, Want Not viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197 According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) whitepaper, the average knowledge worker spends 15-25% of his/her time looking for documents.1 That means that in an eight-hour day, that worker spends nearly two hours each day day looking for information. For a five person team, that’s 50 hours a week wasted to chase down documents. Consider if each team member got back just one hour of that time every day, the team regains 25 hours a week. Imagine how that time could be more productively spent by effectively planning, anticipating and coordinating – rather than searching, chasing, and hunting. There has been a big effort across the construction industry in the past few years to eliminate waste for better efficiency and productivity. Spending 50 hours a week to chase documents? That’s wasteful on a colossal level! A Common Scenario Let’s put this problem into a more financial perspective with a simple example involving curtainwall prefabrication. It’s obviously important to get the glass on a building so interior work can commence without issues like water intrusion. It may take 6-12 months to fabricate and manufacture the glass and it’s critical to stay on schedule with every day being productive. What if a submittal just sat in your information sharing system (for example, SharePoint or Dropbox) for two weeks? Nobody was aware that the sub uploaded it! Without a built-in workflow engine, notifications are not automatically generated – so there, in secret, it sits. It’s 3 AM: Do you know where your documents are?? Trying to track down project information in order to keep the project moving on schedule can be a daunting task; it’s also a chase that takes a lot of time. Whether you’re dealing with electronic files, hard copy documents, or a combination of both, the hunt for information is a challenge facing many construction professionals. It’s likely that someone in your organization (perhaps you) has considered questions like these: • Who is currently reviewing the latest set of drawings or submittals? Who needs to process them next? • How do I ensure my subs are using the most current set of plans? • Can I easily find a record of all the changes that were made to any given document? These common questions have answers and a solution is available to contractors seeking to reduce or better yet, eliminate the issues altogether. 1 “The Hidden Cost of Not Finding the Right Information.” Susan Feldman and Chris Sherman. IDC. 2001.
  3. 3. Waste Not, Want Not viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197 Let’s see this story unfold … so now Dan, the Project Manager, realizes he doesn’t have the submittal and starts asking his Assistant Project Manager, Susan, where it is since it was due two weeks ago. Susan has no idea because it hasn’t been sent to her. She now starts searching and combing through her emails, in her Dropbox account, and in their project SharePoint site. Eventually Susan finds it and realizes it was uploaded by the sub two weeks ago. So now Susan has to go to her boss and explain that the submittal was uploaded on time but since she never received notification of its submission and she never checked the system for it, it just sat there for two weeks untouched. Sorry, this one’s not a happy ending. Does it sound familiar? Having to constantly check a system for new information is a waste of time. Losing weeks as something sits in the dark is rotten. A mad dash hunting for a document at a deadline is chaos. All wasted time with lots of frustration mixed in. So how can this be fixed? Businesses that were exhausted living that wasteful scenario have moved to a solution like Viewpoint For Projects that includes workflow processes for document reviews such submittals. So Susan comes into work at 7 a.m. and at 7:30 she receives an email letting her know that there is a new submittal that needs to be processed. From that notification, she accesses the submittal, performs her review, and then passes the item on to the Design Team for further review and processing. All of this takes place automatically through the system for every stage of the review process. At each of these stages (built according to your firm’s or client’s needs), any time a document moves from one stage to another there’s a time limit and if no appropriate action is taken, the document automatically moves on. Having to constantly check a system for new information is a waste of time. Losing weeks as something sits in the dark is rotten. A mad dash hunting for a document at a deadline is chaos. Figure 1. Example of a workflow diagram in Viewpoint For Projects. Figure 2. Example of a workflow notification in Viewpoint For Projects.
  4. 4. Waste Not, Want Not viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197 So, instead of being reactive and wasting time searching for documents she believes are past due, Susan can now be proactive: • View when a submittal is approaching its due date • Send reminders to the sub about the required submittal • Know exactly when it’s been uploaded when she receives the automatic system notification You’ve Got Mail…Lots of Mail So that scenario illustrates how a workflow engine like that found in Viewpoint For Projects can help eliminate time-wasting document chasing by sending instant notifications to appropriate stakeholders for review and processing. You may agree that efficiency sounds great, but could be thinking “I get hundreds of emails a day. The last thing I need is a bunch of system notifications flooding my email inbox!” An understandable reaction. Project teams have enough day-to-day email to sort through without a batch of notifications dumped to the inbox. Let’s demonstrate an alternative solution by considering what a typical day would look like for our assistant project manager, Susan. Susan’s day at work begins with starting up her computer, checking her emails, reviewing various Excel spreadsheets for deliverables, and looking through her sticky notes of to-do tasks. Using a variety of methods and systems, she strives to keep up with all her responsibilities. It involves quite a bit of juggling with room for error. Managing a workload in this fashion can lead to a hectic day and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, as well as potential for oversight, miscommunication, and costly mistakes. Eradicate those issues by using a solution like Viewpoint For Projects that provides a single location for access to all tasks and documents that require your attention or review. The “My Inbox” area essentially creates your to-do list for you, putting items requiring your action and awaiting your approval in your line of vision and at your fingertips. You Can’t Spell Wait without IT For many construction organizations, any document control or collaboration solutions deployed on a project are administered by someone in the company’s IT department or by an internal software administer responsible for handling all company projects in addition to other responsibilities. In such cases, project teams are typically required to submit an IT ticket in order to have any needed adjustments made to their project environment – things like giving access to a new subcontractor, making adjustments to workflows, adding new folders to the project directory. In candid speak: you are at the mercy of that administrator and will have to wait hours or days in order to see your needs met. Managing time is critical to a project’s success. Project managers can’t afford to wait for changes or additions they need made; delays could place a serious damper on productivity and overall success. The alternative to waiting could involve ‘going rogue’ with PMs downloading files directly, which could involve using unsecured Figure 3. Example of an action item list in Viewpoint For Projects.
  5. 5. Waste Not, Want Not viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197 THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE ‘IN’BOX Email may be named a necessary evil. It’s an absolute necessity to business communication, and for many it’s an essential tool for personal communication, too. Many also consider it a time-sucking burden. Love it or hate it, we’re stuck with it. Indeed, contractors and their external team members rely on email as the de facto tool for all project communication and collaboration. Everyone on a project has an email account and messages can be delivered almost seamlessly regardless of email client. However, social media consultant Su Butcher recently raised the issue of email and its use as a communication tool in construction: “With project teams scattered across your country (or the world for that matter) and fewer opportunities for face-to-face meetings as our workload gets ever more challenging, we need communications tools that help, rather than hinder, the smooth process of decision-making. Email just doesn’t cut it.”2 While she goes on to acknowledge email’s benefits – stability, ubiquity, relatively private – Butcher also emphasizes its drawbacks: • Complete lack of any reliable audit trail (though many pretend there is); • The tendency of people to send emails to absolve themselves of responsibility, instead of solving whatever the problem is; • A constant and unremitting drain on time and energy; • Spam. Some are so busy doing proper work that they never read their emails, which means that other people are wasting hours and hours of their time and resource composing long treatise which will never be read.3 These observed issues bring us to another point; too often, email serves as a proxy for managing tasks. Alexandra Samuel, online engagement expert and author, contributed to the Harvard Business Review about the problems this substitution can create: “If you’re conflating email and task management, then the job of simply communicating – reading and replying to your messages – gets bogged down by all the emails you leave sitting in your inbox simply so you won’t forget to address them. This approach also makes managing your to-do-list problematic: when you need to quickly identify the right task to take on next, nothing slows you down like diving into your inbox to scroll through old messages. The reason so many of us fall into the trap of conflating email and task management is that email is inextricable from much of what we do in work and in life: many of our tasks arrive in the form of email messages, and many other tasks require reading or sending emails as part of getting that work done.”4 As the experts have indicated, email is an indispensable part of daily communication; without it construction projects would invariably come to a screeching halt. But email clearly lacks many of the attributes that a true collaboration solution can provide, including audit trail, file size capacity, open access to external stakeholders, and Meta search capabilities. 2 Butcher, Su. “Killing Off Email.” The B1M Mail, Issue 4. http://www.theb1m.com/pdfs/The-B1M-Mail-Issue-4.pdf 3 Ibid. 4 Samuel, Alexandra. “Stop Using Your Inbox as a To-Do List.” Harvard Business Review. March 7, 2014.
  6. 6. Waste Not, Want Not viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197 © 2015 Viewpoint, Inc. dba Viewpoint Construction Software. All Rights Reserved. ABOUT VIEWPOINT Viewpoint, a leader in meeting the collaborative and information needs of the AEC industry, offers construction-specific solutions for a variety of professionals including small, medium, large, and enterprise contractors. Viewpoint solutions include takeoff and estimating, project management, accounting solutions, enterprise resource planning, project and BIM collaboration, mobile field-to-office, and enterprise content management. Viewpoint customers include more than 30 percent of the ENR 400 and have the most technology partnerships with the top 50 mechanical and electrical contractors in the United States. Viewpoint serves as the technology partner of choice to the construction industry and delivers the right solutions on the right platform, including cloud, SaaS, and on premise solutions, and provides customers improved accountability, efficiency, and productivity throughout the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. For more information, please visit www.viewpoint.com. systems, lack of processes, and opening the organization up to technical issues, viruses, etc. So that’s clearly not an option to pursue, but waiting cannot be the answer. Instead of creating that IT ticket and hoping your request makes it to the top of IT’s priority task list, what if you could walk over to the Project Administrator and ask her to invite the new sub into the environment or to make a needed change to an existing review process workflow. Instead of waiting hours or days, the process only takes minutes. IT doesn’t become mired in a never-ending list of PM requests and the clock doesn’t run out on PMs trying to keep a job moving forward. Conclusion It becomes a story of embracing technology – leveraging contemporary collaborative solutions as tools of the trade. For those businesses feeling a struggle with time-sucking file chasing, paper pile rifling, email overwhelm, and an IT impediment, you’re succumbing to “the way it’s always been done” while not acknowledging that your business needs have changed, the industry has evolved, and better solutions exist. Look beyond your current burden and consider a more efficient way to collaborate, to improve workflows, to allow confident decision-making, and to bring a new level of productivity across your business.
  7. 7. viewpoint.com | 800.333.3197

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