Silos aren’t the problem, systems are: tech to better connect construction teams

In the construction industry, projects typically involve multiple teams from different disciplines carrying out complex pieces of work. Success relies on these teams integrating and communicating with each other to get the job done.

The idea of the “siloed workplace” is commonly blamed for woes including:

  • poor productivity
  • ineffective coordination
  • wasted resources
  • frustrated teams.

To an extent, siloed work practices deserve their reputation as project saboteurs, but leaders need to be realistic in diagnosing the true source of workplace inefficiencies.

Are inefficient systems contributing to poor productivity?

Silos can make sense

Silos make sense in that they’re teams of skilled specialists who work closely together on a common goal. They’re a reality for most large operations. The point is not to try and destroy silos (and thereby nullify their benefits) but to connect them better.

Systems are the problem

The real cause of silo-related difficulties is the fact that teams are poorly connected. Teams that fail to synergise with the wider project have their work devalued and compromised.

The secret to connecting teams better lies in integrating the systems they use to carry out and track their work. Excel spreadsheets are commonly used as a tool to pull information from disparate systems and communicate it across project teams. There are obvious inefficiencies in this approach, including the time it takes for teams to meet, talk through and hand over spreadsheets, which are liable to change as the project progresses.

Solving the problem

Doing away with the downsides of multiple disconnected systems involves moving to a single system that accommodates everyone’s needs.

Mobile and cloud-based technology, such as siteoffice.mobi, is helping drive improvements in productivity across the construction industry. The siteoffice.mobi software and app covers all aspects of the construction phase of a project, giving managers and engineers access to:

  • real-time cost capturing
  • cost forecasting
  • a fully integrated program
  • document management (Safety, Quality, Design etc.)
  • intuitive dashboards
  • data-driven reports.

Benefits of a single system

Key benefits of this technology include:

  • Real-time project tracking. Far better than spreadsheets and paper-based systems, real-time tracking enables managers to predict and avoid major cost blowouts before they happen, and to improve production rates.
  • Everyone already has a mobile or tablet and knows how to operate it. All teams can have up-to-date project information, including documentation like sketches and plans, in their pockets wherever they go.
  • An integrated digital system captures and analyses data in ways that have not been possible before now. Using this data to make future decisions builds unprecedented value into construction projects.