News Flash: Most Project Managers (PMs) in heavy civil construction do not actually manage projects. The PM role is often relegated to job costing and billing which are necessary tasks for sure but really just a tabulation of yesterday’s results – a little late for management. It’s like being an emergency room medical doctor versus being a mortician.
Project Management is management through making proactive adjustments to optimize a project’s efficiency and profitability. This requires an intimate knowledge of upcoming events in order to identify omissions, conflicts, and challenges, long before they ever happen.
Proactive is the operative word here. Identifying that the fuel truck is not coming by actually experiencing it not coming is only a job for Captain Obvious.
The reason that PMs do not have a clear picture of upcoming events is inherent in the communication complexity within construction companies. Multiple divisions, subcontractors, and suppliers are all impacting the same sites and resources and this means many different people are impacted by even single events.
Let’s take for example a piece of equipment moving between two job sites. Believe it or not, you need to keep 13 people in the loop if the impacted sites are to stay profitable. That’s 13 phone calls for just one equipment move! (See diagram) And it’s another 13 phone calls if plans change.
It just isn’t realistic to make 13 phone calls for every event so phone calls get triaged and our poor Project Managers are often Excommunicado’d.
A similar communication flow diagram can be made for other events too, such as equipment breaking down, mechanics coming to site, fuel being delivered, gravel delivery, pipe delivery, concrete, subcontractor engagement, and specialty crews.
Unfortunately, the alternative to playing hot potato with the telephone is equally unappealing. A PM not being able to see tomorrow’s events on any site is akin to playing baseball with your eyes closed. More often than not you will just end up looking silly.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this challenge and the solution is simple – automate your dispatch and scheduling functions. The leader in automated dispatch and scheduling for heavy civil construction companies is Vizzn Inc. and its namesake product Vizzn.
With Vizzn every division of a construction company collects dispatches and schedules event through the app on their phone. Simply by using the app, instead of phone calls, automatically keeps everyone impacted by those dispatches and events in the know. This information is sorted and filtered and calendarized based on every user’s individual needs. Vizzn also keeps those same interested parties up-to-date as events unfold real time.