Printing and paper pushing: fuel to the fire of inefficiency in construction

Printing and paper pushing: fuel to the fire of inefficiency in construction

The construction industry is one of few industries that hasn’t experienced significant productivity gains in the last decade. In fact, construction productivity is actually on the decline according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to the tune of a whopping $19.2 billion in efficiency losses per year.

Why? A lack of technology adoption and inefficient hard-copy paper pushing is among the top 3 contributors. Thankfully, the cost of lagging technology is probably the easiest to reclaim. We are all concerned with project cost, but in a manner of speaking, our budgets are consistently being busted by that rotund machine in the corner. It’s not the cost of the machine, paper or ink that will sink our budgets, but the labor inefficiencies that it fuels. Remove that fuel from the job site and watch bottom lines improve.

Some people simply have a need to print because it feels good to hold a document in their hand – to be in control of it. But we all know that paper is expensive and supports slow and risky business processes. The costs to print, file, ship, store, archive and track are through the roof. Proven by construction’s continuing productivity decline, paper processes are actually holding the construction industry back. So why do we continue to burn time and money printing and carting paper around when an electronic version is available form anywhere with an internet connection?

What some may not know is that the construction project management applications available today are very accessible for those of us whose core skills lie elsewhere. We can access drawings and project documents from the job site, corporate office, or on the road – as simply as we can “google” what we want to find through a web browser. Not only can we find information faster, but in a construction management application we can easily link corresponding documentation to track everything that ties to a specific issue. Even correspondence or memos related to the project. But don’t get me started on email inefficiency.  Check out our 3/27 webinar on how to start the transition from paper processes to collaborative construction management.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. There’s simply no need to print anymore. If we are concerned with cost, then cutting out the fuel that burns our budgets is a simple solution. And if you need to hold something in your hand to feel in control of it – your phone, laptop or tablet will serve you much better.

Want to see the relationship of several disparate documents, comments, RFIs and other activities?  Try that with printed paper!