Since the invention of Excel, the spreadsheet program has been used as a tool to run construction projects. While it is extremely useful, spreadsheets do not have the capability to ensure smooth operations in construction, due to the complexity involved. In order to secure profit, construction expenses must be within budget, and contractors rely on these spreadsheet-generated reports to make multi million dollars’ worth of decisions.

However, despite its many capabilities, using spreadsheet program is not good enough for construction projects for the following reasons:

1. Potentially Inaccurate and Delayed Reports

inaccurate spreadsheet

To make good decisions that have high-value impact (millions of dollars), contractors need accurate and real-time information. However, spreadsheets will only generate reports when the user inputs data; the data is not automatically collected, processed or even displayed. The user will have to perform such tasks manually. This means that the generated report is not done in real-time, which may not reflect the current conditions. With manual and delayed input, there is a high risk of inaccuracy in the data, which would then be detrimental to contractors who need to make crucial decisions.

2. Ineffective and Minimal Collaboration

person confused by multiple spreadsheets handled to him

Collaboration between stakeholders is key to a successful construction project. However, using a spreadsheet program will result in the information being stored on one computer and thus, hinder the collaboration between the site and office. On the other hand, using an online spreadsheet program such as Google Sheets may lack the capabilities available in the desktop version of Microsoft Excel, which are superior.

With the information only available on one computer and dependent on the user to distribute to other stakeholders in a timely manner, mistakes are bound to happen due to poor communication between site and office. Poor collaboration and communication also can cause reduced accountability, where it may be unclear whose responsibility it is to ensure construction projects stay within its budget. Ultimately, the risk of losses will become too high.

3. Highly Dependent on Manual Entry

manual entry of spreadsheets

Managing spreadsheets involves a lot of manual work, and updates may not be timely. In fact, it may be delayed until absolutely needed. Besides manual updates, maintaining spreadsheets involves a lot of manual entry, where it is the user’s responsibility to ensure accurate data is entered. This is when the user will spend a disproportionately large amount of time to verify their data and find the source of a mistake.

4. Error-Prone in Over 85% of Excel Spreadsheets

different versions of spreadsheet files

In an effort to foster collaboration among stakeholders, some users resort to sharing a spreadsheet file between different departments. This will definitely lead to different versions of the same report, which then takes up additional time and effort to reconcile the information so that the final version is reliable.

When there is an issue with a spreadsheet-generated report, the source of the problem is not identified immediately. Manual investigations will take time. If it takes too long to find the source of the error, it will be already too late.

The decision maker needs good data to make a decision. This is unachievable when a decision is made based on unreliable data. The decision maker will not be able to verify the information provided to them, and will have to wait and depend on the employee to verify instead. In urgent cases, the decision maker will be forced to make assumptions based on unreliable data.

5. Inaccessibility

spreadsheet files taking a long time to transfer

The person responsible for producing the report will have the file saved in their computer, and this person is not the decision maker. It is the employee then who will have to ensure the decision maker receives the correct file in a timely manner. More often than not, this will hinder both the decision maker and the employee’s work, as requests for update or information may happen at any time, and with the access only available to one person, it will result in a delay.

How Can Contractors Manage Projects Without Using Excel Spreadsheets?

It is important to remember and consider these factors when choosing the right tool to manage your construction projects successfully:

  • Accurate, real-time data

  • Seamless collaboration between office and sites

  • Full accessibility and convenient

  • Real-time flagging of critical issues

As such, it is important to consider good building construction software, especially those that are built based on the aforementioned principles. Speedbrick offers a few construction software products that help contractors to improve their workflow, from procurement and business analytics, to subcon management and revenue tracking. Speedbrick’s products ensure all stakeholders have the necessary access to the information needed, as well as the accuracy of the information presented. Moreover, decision makers will receive real-time updates and quickly identify and mitigate the risks in the projects they handle. By using the right construction software, the digital transformation of your construction business will be smooth and worth the ROI.

If you’re interested in any of our solutions, please schedule a free demo with us today!

See Speedbrick in action

Schedule a free demo with us to see how we have served projects worth more than RM13.2b, and achieved 99% client satisfaction along the way.

Recommended Posts