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How to improve construction document management

If you’re reading this, then chances are your construction document management systems could use an overhaul.

Gone are the days when pen, paper, and a filing cabinet could keep your documentation organized, safe, and easily accessible. In an ever-changing world, construction document management is quickly evolving. Most companies are now using software or a blend of pen and paper plus software to get the job done.

Don’t be left behind in the dark ages of endless stacks of paper and time-consuming spreadsheets. Having a refined system that provides you and your team with the exact documentation needed to work quickly and professionally will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. 

Find out what it takes to tune up your document management system and reap the benefits. 

What is construction document management?

Construction document management describes the system used to organize and manage contracts, drawings and specs, permits, and compliance documentation. Used by a wide variety of people — including construction managers, business owners, and their subcontractors — it’s a vital system that can make or break the success of a project and everyone involved.

In construction, the projects that run smoothly are ones where information is quickly found, updated, and shared with the correct people. Without an excellent system for documents, this reality will stay a distant dream.

Benefits of construction document management

A good construction document management system streamlines your operations and client communications, saving you the administrative burden of having to be the point-person for everything.

The best document management processes can revolutionize your business, providing you and your team with the exact information needed to work quickly and professionally. But a sub-par system makes your business inefficient and puts you at risk. 

Here are some major upsides of investing in your document control processes:

  • Professional presentation – You can’t afford not to invest in your construction management system. By demonstrating to your team and clients that you’re a well-organized, professionally run business, it makes you more competitive and more appealing in RFPs and bids.
  • Increased efficiency – From daily construction reporting to safe file storage, it keeps your business running smoothly and efficiently.
  • Reduced administrative burdens – A good system streamlines your team and client communications, saving you the administrative burden of having to be the point-person for everything. 
  • Improved collaboration – A successful system makes managing your subcontractor and internal communication easy, further saving you valuable hours every week on data entry and conversations. 
  • Fewer errors – Taking manual data entry out of  the equation is the  fastest way to reduce the opportunity for errors while you’re improving workflows. 

Whether you’re still using paper documents, spreadsheets, or more advanced document control systems, our five tips below will supercharge your company’s workflows:

5 tips to improve your existing document management processes

1. Take an inventory of what you’re doing now

Whether your company runs on pen and paper, or you are fully embracing digital, if you have documents, you have some version of a document management system. Understand how you are currently organizing, accessing, updating, and sharing your documents internally and externally. Then, consider where the biggest pain points and inefficiencies are in your current process. 

Your construction document management system should do at least these five things:

  1. Ensure that your documents are organized and easy to find within seconds 
  2. Have security and privacy measures built-in
  3. Make sharing documents simple
  4. Allow collaboration with people outside your organization
  5. Be equally accessible in the field and the office

Taking stock of the areas where you can implement more structure and process will help you improve operations immensely. 

2. Adopt cloud-based software

After taking stock of your current processes, you’re likely seeing the value in a document management software. 

Today, business is done from far more places than the office. It’s important to have a software that enables you to work wherever work is done. Whether you’re in the field, on the road, or at the kitchen table, cloud-based software makes it easy to access your documents from anywhere. It provides business owners, contractors, administrators, and teams working in the field the ability to easily and efficiently access the files they need.

Being able to use your smartphone, tablet, or any desktop computer to access important files means you don’t have to wait for documents to be emailed to you. Plus, you can run incredibly efficient, high-tech sites that integrate smartphones and tablets into daily operations to gain enormous efficiencies. 

Choosing the right software for your business

There are many softwares specifically designed to manage documents. But other software also exists, which is designed for more broad use cases. These more general softwares can provide document management solutions along with other benefits like automatically invoicing clients, tracking material deliveries, and providing insights to grow your company.

Large firms that deal with a variety of documents and projects may need more specific, enterprise systems like Procore. Mid-sized companies in sectors such as trucking, road building, or civil contracting may benefit from software that is more lean and specialized in materials movement — like Tread — to help alleviate the specific pinch points in their workflows, provide project status insights, and help with decision making. 

3. Integrate your systems

Just like it’s important for your people to be able to share documents easily between one another, it’s important for your softwares to share documents as well. 

Construction often requires the use of various specialized document software; from Adobe to CAD, to Quickbooks and more. These systems aren’t going anywhere, so your new system needs to accommodate them. 

Through APIs and systems like Zapier, you can develop a technology stack that is customized to your needs. Connected systems mean you have a consistent record of each document across softwares. This helps you maintain a single source of truth, rather than having multiple places where different versions of the same file can be found. 

4. Consider security solutions

Keeping your construction documents secure when they’re in use — and archived for later — needs to be a priority in your document management system. Project documents left on-site, or stored insecurely, pose a major risk to your company.

One of the best practices in securing project documents in the construction industry is strategically allowing and/or restricting access to features, specific project details, schedules, and reports, based on the roles of your contractors. Accountants, foremen, and project managers will have different needs, and require varied levels of control and data for their construction projects.

Using a high-quality document management system will make sure your files are safe, and make filing and storing documents painless. A tiered-access system empowers team members, automatically providing access to the documents they need, while at the same time keeping your data secure.

5. Digitize and automate your processes

Paper is a pain. It takes up space, can get lost or damaged, creates a fire hazard, and is a general liability. It slows down your business and makes your job harder!

Going digital alleviates the administrative burden and risks of paper management. But even when documents are digital, manual data entry leaves a vulnerability for human error. 

The more opportunities you can take advantage of to automate processes like digital time cards, e-tickets, and daily digital form submissions, the more benefit you will see from your document management system. 

Tread’s construction software and solutions

If you love the idea of excellent document management systems and are interested in a solution that can do even more, consider Tread. 

Tread is an all-in-one solution that makes it easy to streamline your document management and so much more. We help material movers and civil construction companies manage key documents like tickets, timesheets, and invoices through secure digitization and automation.

Through our scheduling and dispatching solutions, e-ticketing processes, and reporting services, our system will give you the cutting edge to stand out from your competitors. Plus, our multilingual customer success team provides fast, remote onboarding, which makes the transition to our software even easier.Find out how Tread can improve your construction document management and streamline your operations. Get a free, personalized software demo today!