Why construction progress tracking matters
Delays and budget-overrun are all too common in the engineering and construction sector. 98% of megaprojects in mining, oil and gas and infrastructure face schedule or cost challenges according to a 2015 McKinsey report (The construction productivity imperative). With so many moving parts and different disciplines, keeping a site on track is critical.
Among the main factors accounting for this, inconsistent progress reporting and inadequate communication are often on top of the list. As a result, productivity has remained flat for decades in the industry while spending is on the rise (US construction spending has hit its highest level in 13 years, with a seasonally adjusted rate of $1.28 trillion*).
Yet, many companies are still stuck with outdated technologies and inefficient, manual reporting. Thus, they often lack a global vision on their key advancement metrics.
But monitoring advancement is tough
SK E&C, despite deep expertise in construction management with over 50 projects run yearly, worldwide, suffers, life many, from a lack of visibility on their sites' advancement. Remote construction sites, multitude of subcontractors and suppliers, or even skepticism towards changing to new tools... making it even harder.
Siloed projects and poor communication between business units and onsite stakeholders make access to information difficult. Site intendants and planners waste too much time updating or tracking down missing data and not enough leveraging it for better decision-making.
Besides, data is hardly traceable, as there is no standard reporting process and consistent data governance. Because they struggle to know the origins of issues happening on site, it is therefore difficult to make people feel accountable.
Last but not least, planners have a hard time checking data quality using flexible tools like Excel spreadsheets. Data validation on top of reporting is therefore a manual process open to frequent human errors.
As a result, delays creep in slowly day after day remaining unseen until too late, while they could have been anticipated or avoided, and site intendants lack of resources to understand teams progress.
Real-time reporting to optimize work performance
SK E&C leveraged ForePaaS platform to implement real-time reporting in order to optimize work performance and monitor delays efficiently. Improved communication and better accountability allowed them to proactively address delays when observed instead of just reacting and implementing corrective control strategies. With first initial deployments of selected construction sites, they are now scaling a standard report practice across their construction projects thanks to:
- Automated data integration and cleaning
- Flexibility to update activities and planned progress
- Accessibility, even in remote locations
Eventually, they could better share information among planners and site intendants through a comprehensive dashboard including all relevant metrics for progress monitoring and performance trends. Nothing was new to the final users, as the basis for action as what they already prototyped in Excel, including their business validation rules and proprietary indexes.
The platform authentication options helped to implement a system where viewers have different levels of access depending on their roles, whether onsite or at SK E&C' HQ.
Reports have become easily, quickly verifiable and project teams are better aligned on information, whether it is at a global level or broken down between each discipline involved in the construction project.
The project started small - with documents sent by email, and the application has since been implemented in 3 different sites in a few weeks only and soon it will integrate new data sources such as field management solutions. This comes as a steppingstone to building an actionable project database for future ML & AI projects.