Construction Without the Paperwork
By Jesse Wood
What should construction companies know about the trend toward paperless?
Construction companies need to know that plateauing growth is pushing nearly every industry to paperless environments. Efficient business runs on paperwork. When it comes to accounting/billing, HR, legal, and other back-office functions, paperwork is part of nearly everything they do. Construction companies that deal with hundreds of different forms, whether they be project bids, permits, insurance documentation, etc. need processes for managing them all. Those processes are taking up too much of our time. While businesses contend with trying to stay profitable, larger overhead may curtail their growth.
The biggest thing to keep in mind about going paperless is that even if you remove the paper from paperwork, there's still work to do. Fortunately, once you're digital, you can do a whole lot more with your documents by introducing automation to your normal business processes. Businesses everywhere are introducing automated processes to the workplace to free up resources and reduce overhead.
How can digital transformation help the industry save time and increase savings?
Getting rid of paper and going completely digital means so much more than discarding your filing cabinets, although that is a nice perk. The real value of a digital system comes from being able to do away with the required manual processes.
Even with the simplest of tasks like filing a document — imagine if instead of spending several minutes categorizing and finding the right location for it, you simply had to upload it to the system, which is intelligent enough to know precisely where the document is supposed to go. Likewise, when you need to find that document later, you can find it in an instant, instead of spending minutes browsing through a filing cabinet — and that’s if it was filed in the right place.
With the number of documents that pass through a construction office, the amount of time saved is invaluable. Intelligent systems can perform even more advanced business processes, with minimal input from personnel. Most importantly, you can handle more operations without sacrificing additional labor hours.
The number of processes in the accounting department and the HR department increase as your company grows. Resources need to be spent on these operational tasks, regardless of how well your company is currently doing. More business means more accounts to manage, more employees to hire, more subcontractors to manage. But you're essentially spending more resources on the same amount of work.
By automating the redundancies involved in business operations, your back-office can maintain its size and budget while taking on more work. More importantly, business owners, managers, and CEOs can take a more upfront role in their business if their time was previously preoccupied with those hard-to-manage operations. They and others can put more of their time into what their business does, whether fulfilling client requests, providing feedback on projects, negotiating bids, etc.
What is encrypted file sharing, and why does this matter?
Encryption is the most common method we use to protect our digital files. It's used in nearly every transaction we do online. Encrypting data before sharing it with another individual ensures that if malicious parties intercept that data, AKA hackers, they can't open it without the encryption key.
While the internet has made sharing information tremendously convenient, it opens up an abundance of complications. Email is probably the most common way we all share files, but the difficulty comes when those files need to travel between multiple points and servers, depending on the email provider. Most traditional email utilizes encryption; connections between computers are protected, but not the files themselves. Encrypted file-sharing is one of the only methods that directly protects the files.
How does this help construction companies keep sensitive client data secure?
Encrypted file-sharing is not only an exponentially safer method of transferring data, but it also displays concern and attention to detail on the part of the construction company. Clients who are tech-savvy themselves are more likely to appreciate the extra care that protects sensitive information. Convenience usually comes at the cost of security and vice-versa. Encrypted file-sharing is the best way to strike a balance between the two.
Jesse Wood is a salesman who can also design a circuit board. With more than 20 years of experience in both technology and business, he brought his expertise to eFileCabinet in 2014 and assumed the role of CEO.