Sub/specialties have long been underserved and overlooked in our industry. In fact, many software and technology solutions that you see or use today were made with GCs in mind. The backbone of the construction industry is the labor that subcontractors more often than not provide. It’s time they had solutions that work for them, not just the large or general contractors. So, we invited some construction tech and specialty contractor experts to discuss their tech profitability secrets!
Our noted panel covered topics like:
- The difference between CPM software and your ERP
- The importance of tech for sub/specialties
- Using tech to improve ELM forecasts
- And more!
There’s a lot of valuable information in here, so we’ve summarized the interview with timestamps to help you find what interests you most.
Let’s dig in!
Get to the point with the below timestamps:
A year since Covid began (~4:00)
Ellis Talton opens the show and asks each guest about their past year, how their companies stayed on course with their strategic plans during Covid, and if they were successful.
“I think the real positive underlying current is that we are seeing a serious uptick in both the projects that our customers have, as well as a fire that is being created in companies to embrace technology and start adopting the technologies that they've always wanted to. Like it's really been a driver for innovation, disruption, and technological adoption.” - Chad Pearson
Challenges in the labor market (~10:00)
Kevin Booth discusses challenges specialty contractors are facing in regard to labor.
“They've decided they don't like the volatility of construction. There are many reasons why. Or they may have moved geographically. We find that too, they've moved into other areas and they're no longer available to work in the same place. It's just really compounded and exacerbated the problem of the labor shortage. And I will say, for decades to come, this is going to be a problem for construction. And that the solution, the long term solution is going to be increased investment in technology for the industry.” - Kevin Booth
How are you seeing some of your clients use technology to manage those projects and that demand? (~13:00)
“Well, I mean, the obvious is reducing your duplication of data entry. And of course, streamlining workflows, getting benefits of that, having visibility into the projects to a level where you can prevent rework. Those are the obvious benefits. But where our highest performers are going with technology is they'll look at it as a mirror. When a software, mainly an ERP, is doing its job, it is a mirror. And our highest performers will look in that mirror, see where the faults are, see where the mistakes are, see where the gaps are.” - Chad Pearson
ERPs, CPMs and WTF they can do! (~17:30)
Kevin Booth gives a clear and concise explanation about how ERPs and CPMs can/should be used in conjunction with each other.
“I have spent decades trying to get our ERP to do everything. The thinking being is that we want one central database. The original thinking wasn't flawed, we had good intentions. Central database and the ERP would serve everyone's needs. But after, like I said, decades, literally decades, we had failed to accomplish that. And I know I personally had a revelation one day when I realized it's never going to happen. And this is controversial. I'm sure we're going to get a lot of emails from my friends disagreeing with me on this. But I don't think you can have an ERP that does everything.
Maybe there's a best in class project management, human resources, human capital management, payroll, et cetera. There might be better systems out there. And so what CPM does is kind of allow you to utilize these best in class systems and bring all that data together. You don't have to have one central database, you can have multiple. But the CPM allows you to bring those databases together, and finally maybe achieve that goal that we've been trying to do, as I said for decades. I'll leave you with another simple thought; trying to get your ERP to do everything is kind of like using Excel to produce your documents. Now, can Excel produce documents? Sure. Is it the best system for doing documents? No. Is there a better one? Yeah, it's Word. So we use Word because that's the best in class for producing documents, not Excel. And so, it's the same with the ERP. We're asking too much of our ERP systems to literally do everything.” -Kevin Booth
Workflow efficiency (~23:00)
Chad Pearson shows off a visual with some pointers contractors can use to make their key workflows more efficient.
Using Briq’s CPM software to track important financial metrics (~30:00)
“What Briq has done for us is, as of right now, I can tell you where I'm at, how much labor has been spent on each activity with any given project. So, it allows us to pull that together like we've never been able to do before.” - Kevin Booth
Best practices for choosing tech as a sub/specialty (~32:00)
“Well, the process that we always recommend is to not even look at software until you finish some mission critical steps, including the first step, which is getting a small tech team together. Make sure that you have key representatives from each department onto a team. Then discuss and map out all your workflows, but go beyond that. Don't just map out your workflows, pick every single workflow and create a list of all the must have features to enable those workflows to work seamlessly. Once you have that, this takes a lot of work and a lot of time. But once you have that documentation, then you discuss and prioritize which features are nice to have a must have.” - Chad Pearson
Upcoming CFMA conference (~39:00)
Ellis asks Kevin to share a bit about CFMA’s upcoming annual conference and what they’re planning.
“We have our upcoming annual conference. So one of the components of CFMA’s annual conference is we have a technology forum. One day of the conference is devoted to these technology forums where we have different technology providers who will host attendees to find out more about the product. It's not really a sales pitch, it's more of a mini user conference. So I encourage people to check out these technology forums to get to learn more about the products and the features and learn from other users of the product as well.”
Audience Q&A (~46:00)
Our panel finishes up with a few audience questions.
(~52:00) Thank you!
The Briq team would like to thank our guests Chad Pearson and Kevin Booth for joining us, and everyone who joined us for the live webinar.
Briq is a financial corporate performance management platform built specifically for construction financial professionals.
We join modern technology, with hundreds of years of combined construction experience to give you deep insights into your business.
Briq unifies your financial workflows, making them more efficient, accurate and timely.
By automating workflows, consolidating financial data, and enabling real-time reporting, we allow contractors to make efficient and effective financial decisions.