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CONSTRUCTION KNOWLEDGE BLOG

October 17, 2012

Why Change is Hard
Filed under: Computers in Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

I’ve been writing about cloud computing for construction for a year or two, but have only pushed the easy parts of my construction management business into the cloud. I use DropBox to sync all my desktop computer files, so I have access to current files wherever I am. That works well and makes my Android phone much more useful.

I also really rely on PDF documents shared on Box.com with Owners, Architects, Trade Contractors, Code Officials, etc. We print many less sets of drawings and mail almost nothing. Both DropBox and Box.com cost a few bucks a month, but I save more than that in supplies.

So those two are the fruit that goes first into your bucket. They are easy, cheap and take almost no effort to set up. If you haven’t done them yet, get going.

I’m finding this next step more challenging. Moving my estimating, job costing and invoice approval system to a paperless, cloud accessed system seemed easy. Most bids come in as email attachments and lots of invoices do. But both also sometimes come as faxes and sometimes in the mail. So my system needs to handle all those formats, but I’d also like it to really not require me or my customers to have to print each document.

So I had to set up a coding system that uses numbers for sorting and I had to keep the number system from 0 to 9 because various computers sort the double digits differently. That’s just one of the challenges I’ve encountered as I’ve been moving through this process. I’ve been at it for two months and think I’ve just about got it. ¬†When I’m comfortable it all works, I’ll post the process.

So why is change hard? Well, some is and some isn’t. I found the DropBox and Box.com changes easy. I’m finding the cost processing change more challenging. We humans are wired for routine tasks and our brains rebel against change. We need to utilize our will to get beyond what feels right and normal and set-up new processes. These new processes will eventually become habits, but it takes time and effort.

I’m willing to put in that time and effort because I believe a small business succeeds by the following:

  1. Amazing customer service
  2. Keeping current with technology
  3. Controlling overhead costs

So there’s my challenge for you. Fight the tendency to just keep doing the same thing. Because if you don’t, the game will change anyway and you’re probably not going to like the outcome.

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