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The industry at present


Thanks to the pandemic, the construction industry has suffered a great impact that resulted in severe consequences for all the companies that are part of this industry. As in most sectors, changes are constant, and developing adaptation abilities is key to making a difference. 

Within the industrial sector, we find companies that specialize in different areas such as developers, construction companies, civil engineering, or architecture offices, just to name a few. Most organizations in this sector go through difficulties and challenges that favor their growth once overcome. 

Even though we know every company is different and their problems are unique, thanks to our experience, we were able to spot common problems for all. 

In every new construction project, two things need to be closely related and organized so initial planning is not affected: the purchase process and the site manager


Main problems

Next, we will mention some of the problems we could identify in different construction companies; we recommend taking them into account so that you don't have to face severe consequences. 


Poor project management in the construction industry is the result of not having a specific and well-defined work methodology that establishes the actions that need to be carried out.  The lack of coordination among the areas that take part in the project slows down the deadlines established in the planning; this involves a gap between the actions that must work orderly which negatively affects profitability. 

Problems to coordinate the different activities and the company's areas in the construction industry (especially between the purchases and the site manager) will bring about a waste of resources and time. Lack of planning in the purchase process directly affects the processes involved in the development of the construction project since it will produce material shortages and extra expenses for buying things at the last minute (something that could be avoided by buying things in larger quantities). 

When the deadlines of the project are not met (because of coordination errors or problems in the initial planning of the project), cash flow problems arise. 

Having differences in the input and output of economic assets is a serious problem since, without the money that investors provide (and with which the project will be developed), you can't pay the suppliers that must give you the materials to build. 

Lack of organization in cash flow processes brings about problems in the achievement of the stages of the project according to the established deadlines and, since most companies charge investors once the work progress is certified, that income is not generated, which causes delays. It can produce a chain of payment delays and even a big debt for the company if it looks for unplanned capital injections elsewhere to move forward.

If the project doesn't move forward, other problems will arise: waste of resources; unproductive workers; profitability problems because the project will take longer than expected; and customer dissatisfaction because the project will not be ready on time. 

We were able to detect many problems arising from the lack of coordination between management and the project manager. 

If site managers don't have the necessary materials to carry out the project, unplanned expenses will be made: they will have to make last-minute purchases which are always more expensive, and workers will have to come back when all the materials are available, for example. Another problem that may arise is having time-sensitive materials on the site when they are not needed; this will generate a lot of waste because they can be lost, broken, or ruined. Moreover,  site managers will be in charge of keeping those materials intact (something that's not part of their job). 

Lack of coordination can bring about storage problems because the company can't store materials, and has logistics and delivery problems, stock shortages, or surplus (if we talk about time-sensitive materials, the problem is even more serious because it involves extra expenses since you have to buy them more than once). All these problems are once again related to missing deadlines and they affect the profitability of the project. 

Not following the process of buying materials according to what was established at the beginning also results in supplying problems in construction projects. This causes low productivity, affects profitability, resource waste, and missed deadlines. 

Related to the coordination problem among areas we should mention the problems that arise because of the lack of communication among them. Very often, lack of coordination is directly related to not having effective communication. 

When interdepartmental communication is not correctly defined, collaborative work identity is not achieved. On the other hand, information silos are created and cause the loss of important information that will affect the other processes and the development of the project. For example, if the site manager has to organize with the management area the materials they need for a particular day and the tool to do it is not used correctly or does not work, that information does not reach the area and management does not know the needs of the project, which will cause more and more problems. This is one of the many examples we can find to illustrate how poor communication affects all the areas of a company. 

The acceleration of digitization that began some years ago and became more important thanks to the pandemic, brought about many tools that facilitate the attraction of customers; many times, these tools are used to their fullest and companies lose their conversion opportunities. 

Not rising to the challenge of digitizing the traditional sales process causes the loss of potential customers. It is believed that the traditional process is the most efficient one but people do not realize that it uses more time and resources; moreover, today, people use new communication channels and if the company does not use them, opportunities are lost. 

Not adapting to the new communication channels that marketing tools provide and are related to digitization causes a reduction in the number of possible customers that are familiar with the company as well as the number of projects and purchases made. 

On the other hand, regarding the coordination of areas and interdepartmental communication, if the marketing area and the sales area do not communicate, all efforts to attract customers are useless. Marketing develops strategies that the sales area does not use; the sales area receives unimportant leads and uses resources in actions to attract worthless customers. 

Our analysis

Thanks to our experience working with several companies in this sector, at Drew, we were able to detect that the previously mentioned problems derive from poor project management together with a lack of process management in this industry. The companies belonging to the construction industry work with great organizations to avoid coordination problems since they have several areas located in different places and they must work together because they all depend on each other to move forward with the projects. 

Every new construction project involves predictability and coordination between the available capital, specialized workers, and the necessary materials to carry it out. First, before defining the design of the project, it's important to carry out the necessary feasibility studies to avoid starting with the design of the project before it's approved. Once it has been approved, it's possible to start to design the project with the certainty that it will be carried out. In general, companies must also take into account the necessary capital investors and the dates on which they should be present to carry out the project. It's important in this step to know the type of customer that will support the project and, from there, establish who the project will be offered to at every stage of its development. From Drew, we identify three types of customers that are generally present during the development process: capital investors, investors for rent, and customers that want to buy a place to live. The project can be offered to a customer taking into account the stage the project is in and the type of customer. 

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On the other hand, it's important to know how many materials you'll need at the beginning of the project (also known as a purchase offer) which allows you to know the final budget of the project. This information must be coordinated with the delivery dates of the work progress given to investors; this will allow you to calculate when you'll need to receive capital for paying the suppliers that provide the materials to move forward with the project. The ideal process of purchase and use of material, including their calculation, is what we explain in the following image:  


To carry out processes orderly, there is a very useful and very important tool: communication. Having a tool to organize the information of every process that every employee knows how to use is fundamental. To coordinate actions to manage, supply, and execute the project, it's very useful that all areas use a tool that allows them to create a schedule, where project managers can state the dates on which they need sensitive material based on the initial planning but taking into account daily problems (weather problems, for example). 

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At Drew, we think about construction projects as a living organism that is constantly going through changes and problems but that overcomes them in the end and manages to become the project it was thought of at the beginning. This is why we highlight that the problems we previously mentioned are interrelated and sometimes arise and some others don't; moreover, they're not the only ones. They can have different impacts on each company but it's important to be able to recognize them to work on them and achieve the expected efficiency from the start. 


How do we help?

Thanks to our 5-year experience working with construction companies in Argentina and Latin America, we were able to recognize the previously mentioned problems as the most common ones in this sector, although we know they're not the only ones.

The main mission of our company is to provide the necessary tools to solve the organizational needs of our customers. In most cases in construction companies, solutions are focused on redefining the organizational processes together with project management and the use of technology.  We also find some companies that need to fix these problems separately: the structure of their processes or the correct implementation of technology. 

Apart from these problems, companies belonging to the construction industry can face challenges related to the economic context of their country or external companies with which they have to combine efforts to achieve a project so we highlight the work it implies to manage them. 

When a construction company contacts Drew with a particular need, our company proposes to create primary instances of approaching it through meetings that allow us to know the organization and its way of working. From these meetings, we make a diagnosis with the main problems and needs we have identified and, then, once everything is checked with the company, we present a project to work on together, with goals and objectives that will allow us to see the improvement process. 

The solutions we suggest to construction companies, as we already mentioned, can be based on two big groups: oriented to the implementation of technology to accelerate processes or solutions directly related to the organization of the company's processes and the possibility of combining them with project management. As we already stated, in most cases, the solution combines the restructuring of processes with the implementation of the technology needed.

After the improvement process we present is approved, we implement it through actions to restructure or formalize the deficient processes together with actions that allow us to make the most of the digital tools that the agency uses or starts to use (in case we decide to implement a new tool). It's important to highlight that the company has to use technological tools according to its needs to have good organizational management. At Drew, we know the challenge companies face to adapt to technology; that's why we become strategic allies of our customers and offer them the most thorough tools so that challenges can be overcome and turned into a competitive advantage to boost growth. 

At Drew, we know both ways of managing are combinable by making the right matrix that intertwines the processes that go through every project. This way, you can see the tasks that each employee has to do, the specific time of development, and coordinate the structural processes of each project the company is carrying out; this is beneficial for companies that manage more than one project at the same time. 

In case the company needs it, we train employees so that the implementation of these changes is achieved smoothly and its impact is not high. 

At Drew, we don't sell ready-made solutions but solutions adapted to each customer to be a connection between the business world and technology since we think all companies are different.