Skip to content

Construction work happens in the field and on job sites, but the work that makes that all possible occurs in the back office. This is where the magic happens: schedules are made, contracts are signed, payments are received, and the business grows. 

Most teams try to improve the back office when growing a construction company. However, there are more opportunities for growth and improved processes than first meets the eye. These overlooked areas can often have the biggest impact on creating an efficient and agile back office. 

Here are five overlooked strategies to streamline the construction back office: 

1. Automation 

In our digital age, there’s no reason to perform many tasks by hand. Instead of wasting time on repetitive or mundane tasks, automation opens the door to faster, more efficient workflows with a reduced chance of errors. 

Automation can happen nearly anywhere in the back office. Even seemingly small improvements can lead to big-time savings over time. By automating regular tasks, employees have more time to focus on strategic and relationship-building tasks, and the company can save money by working more efficiently. Here are just a few back-office tasks that can be automated: 

  • Payroll -  Automated payroll systems calculate each employee’s hours, including benefits and special pay, to create the total for each period. Automated systems can also make direct deposits, calculate and file taxes, and more. 
  • Invoice collection - Collecting invoices and receipts can be time-consuming, especially when you have to find managers who are often on job sites and not in the office. Automated invoice collection can easily scan or find receipts or invoices for streamlined payments. 
  • Budget calculations - Don’t add up costs and resources by hand—lean into automation to find the total labor and materials cost for each project. Automated systems can also use that information to help calculate larger financial questions and project how much future projects will cost. 
  • Scheduling - An automated system can create the ideal schedule and consider each employee's skills, location, and preferences. With many moving pieces, automation can easily adjust and ensure that every project has a complete team. 
2. Centralized Systems 

Between accounting software, customer management, scheduling, project management tools, and more, it’s common for back-office staff to work with numerous systems in one day, often on the same project. When tasks are spread across numerous systems, employees waste time sorting through dashboards and files to find the information they need, and data is often disjointed across systems. When information needs to be moved, there’s also an increased chance of error. 

Instead, streamline processes by investing in software that integrates with other systems to create a comprehensive, centralized system. Using an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system puts everything in one place for easy access by any employee or back-office staff. 

Centralized ERP systems often operate in real-time, giving staff the most updated and accurate information to make strong decisions. When each system operates in a silo, data could be inaccurate or lopsided. A centralized system solves that problem with a convenient and connected tool. 

3. Document and Define Processes 

It isn’t flashy, but one of the most impactful things you can do to streamline a construction back office is to define and document processes. Projects move quickly, and teams often need to respond to potential clients immediately, which doesn’t leave much time to follow established steps. But the foundation of growth and efficiency is structure. Defining processes around scheduling, payments, employee time-tracking, contract renewal, and more ensures the company works more efficiently because everyone is on the same page. 

 To define a process, look at how the work is currently being done. Are there challenges or roadblocks that regularly occur? What can be done to avoid or improve these areas? Consider everyone involved in the process and narrow down who has a role to play and what they need to do. The process should be organized but not too strict that it is unsustainable. From there, document the process. Keep a record of it, either digitally or printed, in the office so everyone can access it. When someone is out of the office or leaves the company, the process doesn’t fall apart because everyone else can access the information they need to work seamlessly. 

4. Analytics 

For modern construction companies, data is power. Your company collects metrics on a wide range of tasks every day. Look at that data to find ways you could improve your processes or save time or money. For example, you may find that there is a lag between when a contract is signed and when work actually starts. Digging deeper into the data can highlight patterns about what happens during that time, how long it lasts, and how it impacts the project. From there, you can look for potential solutions. 

 Look at analytics around everything from client satisfaction to employee hours and skills and budget. Find patterns between the data that show if your company is reaching its goals and being as efficient and effective as possible. 

5. Reports and Dashboards 

What reports does your back office regularly produce or receive? You’re likely getting regular field reports from various crews that provide great insights into how the work is progressing. However, compiling and sorting through those reports can be time-consuming, especially if the information and situation are changing rapidly. In that case, the report might be outdated by the time you receive it. 

Instead, a dashboard that’s updated in real-time might be the best option for your company. These dashboards can quickly alert the back office to any issues around scheduling, budget, or contract breaches and provide an accurate view of work in progress. Instead of sorting through a report to find information, a digital dashboard is easy to check at a glance and can even provide notifications if the numbers drop below a certain level or an emergency occurs. Digital dashboards can be accessed on the go for a streamlined process, no matter where your team is working. 

Start streamlining your back-office work with hh2, a leader in cloud-based construction management software. Click here to learn more and schedule a free demo.    
5 Overlooked Strategies to Streamline the Construction Back Office

Construction Insights Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

Group 52

Subscribe to our email newsletter for the latest construction insights.