The construction industry has a massive role to play in the overall economic health of our country, and yet we are losing around 10 per cent-30 per cent of it through wastage. No industry is a stranger to bureaucracy, but in a complex operational chain with multiple stakeholders, there is an opportunity for manipulation of information at every level in construction. To add to this, the challenges of blue collared labour on-site make it nearly impossible to supervise remote projects in real-time. Pilferage is a cost that we have accepted and factored. But with scaling operations and decreasing margin, can we afford to keep losing to pilferage and corruption at every stage?
Of course, we have invested in technology and infrastructure for managing construction projects but construction, be it anywhere across the globe isn't a cookie cut scenario and in India, more importantly, the challenges do not stop there. Most enterprise systems have failed to understand and incorporate these features of the construction industry in India.
Tools such as Whatsapp have become the co-ordination and communication system while ERP has ended up becoming a mere project accounting tool.
ERP VS Project Management Solution
Often, we have used the terms ERP and Project Management as synonyms but they have vastly different purposes. While ERP is ideal for manufacturing organisations where processes and the end product are definite, in construction, there are only a few parallel to manufacturing. The end product is not constant and there are multiple external stakeholders involved in every project. Moreover it is a temporary endeavour that must be completed within a defined period. In such a scenario, an ERP limits itself to managing the commonalities like procurement and accounts. The rest of the operations remain alienated from the system. A project management solution on the other hand, is the platform that doesn't just limit itself to being a smarter excel file, but encompasses the core operations and facilitates collaboration to push for on-time and in-budget completion.
The Case for Real-time Co-ordination
Project budget makes little sense till it is linked to the schedule, as costs that are not undertaken under a pre-determined period, are bound to escalate the budget. All the major factors that cause delays can be mitigated by having a strong communication channel between the departments of planning, procurement, execution and accounts.
Without a common platform for collaboration, fault finding and resolution cycle is bound to elongate. Transparent and real-time flow of information is the only way we can clear project hindrances faster and curb misreporting and manipulation of information.
The Question Is How?
With an active push for digitisation across India, connectivity is no longer an issue. In fact, while we feel secured with physical paper work and register for managing our construction projects, knowingly or unknowingly we have already started adopting mobility. Vital information of our projects is housed in mobile applications such as Whatsapp. We can no longer complain of having a failed information flow due to non-tech savvy foremen.
But have we equipped them with the right tools to capture this information for improving project management and future maintenance of the projects we build?
Superwise - Making Project Supervision Wiser
SuperWise is an easy to use homegrown construction project management solution built by industry insiders who have identified the challenges to effective project management in India. The idea behind SuperWise is to enable smarter collaboration with between various departments within the organisation to achieve on-time and in-budget project completion.
It is the only solution that is designed for the foremen and supervisors to communicate real-time information of all the events on the construction site from the comfort of their smart phones just like they do in Whatsapp.
The information shared in SuperWise is supported with live photographs from the construction site along with geolocation of the user. This information is available on immediate basis to the entire project team on their smart phones and computer screens.
A. Planning & Scheduling
Accurate cashflow projections
Task execution history with images at every stage of execution
Prior notification alerts for a shift in critical path
Reduced time to prepare a project schedule
Minimises pilferage with real-time monitoring of events at the site
Faster resolution of hindrances
Directly reports progress of the project schedule
Availability of project design documents
C. Procurement & Contracts
E-Tendering system for transparent procurements
Automated comparatives for received bids
Clear pending material indents from site
Tracking contract execution/purchase order delivery
D. Estimation, Budget And Accounts
Track estimated vs actual project BOQs
Check resource variation (planned vs actual) via rate analysis
Automated re-conciliation of bills from vendors and contractors
Two-way integration with popular accounting systems
Change or Collapse
The change is not linked to changing people or processes; it is the change in mindset. It is to lead the transformation that is imminent, with transparency in communication and timeliness in deliveries. While many have an opinion that this transparency comes with a cost, we have seen that, this cost is well compensated with increased trust and credibility with clients and sub-contractors.
We believe in building India the right way. I am sure so do you.
- Ruchik Vora, Founder, SuperWise