Here at Bangert, we are always asking ourselves why this condition is so pervasive in construction. I think that Larry Silver, a noted construction industry consultant put it best: “Companies in our industry are always putting out fires, I call that tyranny of the urgent, meaning they’re always working in their business and not working on their business.” (Listen to the BuiltCast podcast episode featuring Larry HERE). I agree. Stephen Covey had another view, “Sharpen the saw.” Stephen’s premise was that if we take the approach that there’s so much work to complete and there’s no time to stop and make long-term improvement that we are in fact creating a self-defeating, and self-perpetuating situation. The irony being that if we take the time to sharpen the saw, in the end we will be far more productive than if we just keep sawing. Yet we don’t want to stop because there’s so much sawing to do.
In my own experience, I have worked with many companies that have kicked the can of investing in better technology and systems down the road for quite some time. Nearly every one of those clients comment after we have them up and running that they should have done it sooner.
As I observe the construction industry, I see the the best run and most profitable firms leading the charge in breaking new ground in construction tech. They adopt and even develop truly innovative tech and processes around it. They effectively multiply their efforts and increase profitable work while decreasing cost of production. They make major strategic investments in tech and have for decades. These firms recognize that the short term pain of implementation is minor compared to the long-term value it builds in the company. On the other end of the scale, there are far more companies that continue to operate with generic, inexpensive, and ill-fitting software – filling the gaps with Excel. I liken this situation to building a wooden boat and choosing not to caulk the seams, because it takes too much time and costs too much; besides, we can cut milk jugs to scoop the water out and they’re free! That boat will never stop leaking no matter how hard we work to bail it out. All the while we fail to see the cost of the bailing effort and how omitting caulk has devalued our effort and investment to build the boat in the first place. It’s called “Banana Boat.”
We’re the first to say that investing in new software systems should not be taken lightly. It is a serious investment in the future of your business and can have significant positive impact – or when poorly executed, very negative. Careful consideration is prudent. In every case, we take the long-term view. It is our mission to increase the value of construction business. As such, we take the time to guide and inform clients before they commit so that a positive outcome is assured. Now more than ever, the right technology is a strategic advantage that can affect your ability to grow and acquire both new projects and talent.
It’s ironic that in an industry where “we get it done” is such a point of pride, that so many companies choose to continue to operate their “boats” without caulking them. My advice: make a plan in 2019 to shrug off “tyranny of the urgent”, and “sharpen the saw.” You will not regret it, because the reality is: the best time to improve your business is now.
Need more proof? Our partners over at Acumatica have put together a handy calculator so you can compute your costs of “doing nothing”. Click here to find out your true cost.