Blog Post

COVID’s Hidden Costs: 3 Ways Custom Digital Forms Help

Posted by Kristen Frisa

In many ways, construction companies can count themselves lucky in missing the brunt of COVID-19’s destruction on earnings. But do you have any idea how much the pandemic has truly cost your construction business — and why custom digital forms may be the solution?

Unlike many businesses, construction has been lucky to have been considered an essential service in most areas. Work has continued on projects throughout the pandemic.

This time has been an exercise in “Plan Bs” and flexibility, and as luck would have it, those are some of construction’s stronger attributes. Still, the construction industry has not come through the past 24 months unscathed.

Construction has been affected by:

  • limits to the numbers of people allowed on site at one time
  • increased safety protocols and PPE costs, over and above construction’s already rigorous safety regulations
  • supply price fluctuation and supply delivery delays or unavailability
  • lower productivity rates thanks to all the above factors

All that on top of the increased costs of employing a workforce. According to a new study by Integrated Benefits Institute, COVID-19 costs employers nearly $1 billion each week due to lost time.

The analysis looked at costs from disability wage payments, employee benefits, and sick leave wages, and averages total costs over the past 22 months. Since the study was completed in December 2021, chances are those prices have risen more.

What Can I Do About Added Expenses?

There’s not much we can do about COVID-19-related expenses – there’s no “off” switch on a global pandemic. It appears some indicators, like supply prices and availability, will lag on even after infection numbers dwindle.

Our power lies in the ability to keep our businesses and our employees as healthy as we can to better weather the storm. How? We can start by maximizing organization and efficiency to do the most with what we have.

Luckily, there are tools at our disposal that can help. Technological tools can help us be more effective, maximizing worker productivity through improved knowledge of all facets of a project.

Online Form Benefits

Let’s have a look at three unique ways digital technology can recoup your time and money to thrive now – and well into the future!

#1: Faster, Better Data

It’s very difficult to act to solve a problem if you don’t know it exists. Because of their inherent complexity, this is sometimes what happens within construction projects.

For example, changes to supply delivery dates or the availability of subcontractors could impact a project’s schedule significantly. Quick thinking and adjusting a schedule could avoid conflicts and keep a schedule moving, but only if managers have access to all the information in time to make the changes.

Early access to information can only come when project data is strategically collected, and organized, then quickly disseminated to all stakeholders.

You can see how information taken using a paper and clipboard would fail on these fronts! Paper forms are often incorrectly filled out or left incomplete. Then they are filed with the rest of the paperwork. The information they contain is compiled into a spreadsheet, only to be passed around ahead of a progress meeting.

(This is where custom digital forms really shine!)

Only informed construction teams can quickly react to a changing situation to maintain efficiency, and those teams need quick, accurate, and accessible data.

#2 Accurate Information

Faulty data can be catastrophic for a project’s budget and timeline. Small administrative errors (which often occur during data collection and re-entry) skew project decisions and cause extra work for project teams. The preferred solution tends to throw a larger administrative team at the problem, but that has its own pitfalls.

A larger administrative team costs more money, and may not be feasible for smaller businesses like those run by mid-sized general contractors or subcontractors. A bigger team also means more chances for collaboration failure and miscommunication, which can lead to more cost overruns.

Instead of going bigger, get smarter. Digital forms allow project teams to collect accurate data in the field, eliminating the need to re-enter the data down the line and preventing a lot of mistakes.

#3: Less Time Collecting the Data

Up-to-date, correct data is the key to efficient project management. But the data management itself can’t be so time-consuming that it offsets any efficiency you’ve gained.

With Device Magic, your teams can collect data on custom digital forms anywhere, anytime, helping you cut data entry errors by half and saving hours of administrative costs each week. The data is easily retrievable, so that you can see and react to critical situations quicker and more effectively.

Through a Pandemic and Beyond

The pandemic has undoubtedly forced many construction companies into the digital age. Embracing virtual meetings and cloud computing are just the lead indicators of the industry’s thawing attitude toward technology.

But these solutions are not only for the pandemic: as more companies realize the efficiency and accuracy they can achieve through digitizing their business operations, the holdouts will be left behind.

So while COVID may be the push you need to try new computing tools for your business, ultimately you’ll require those tools to continue to succeed in construction.

Take the chance to improve your company’s efficiency and productivity with custom digital forms. This is the best approach to handle the additional costs the pandemic has caused and to stay competitive into the future.

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