Getting Fitted For New Construction Software

With such a wide variety of products available, many companies looking for new construction software have a hard time even knowing where to begin when they determine that a change is in order.  One of the biggest concerns deals with what “size” of software to get.  Of course, the size of the package will depend on the software’s functionality, interface, integration with other systems, and so on.Finding the construction management software solution that is the right size for your company is not an easy task.  Far too often companies choose software that is not a good fit that actually ends up hurting their performance instead of improving it.  If the “fit” between company and software is too out of whack, it can become so time intensive to make the software work for the company that it ends up costing more to operate the system than the system delivers in value. For most small construction operations, such as a local landscaper or home improvement company, a simple software package generally delivers all that is needed.  The one stipulation here is that no software, big or small, will work if the company has not adopted the kind of procedures that the software package is based on. A number of small operators don’t have official business processes and as a result have a hard time getting the software to work for them.  This is because software is only so flexible.  In most cases, the business themselves will have to change some of their processes to fit the common denominators that the software is designed to work with.  Some software can be customized to work with a number of business procedures, but the amount of customization offered is limited, especially in packages designed for smaller businesses.That is not to say that the same problems cannot arise in larger organizations – they can.  In fact, they can be even more troublesome as it often becomes more and more difficult to change business practices in larger companies. It is also important to keep in mind that few, if any, software packages are “plug-n-play.”  This is, of course, due to the fact that no two business are exactly alike in their operational procedures.  However, most software will provide a solid foundation that can be build upon through customization after the initial install.Finally, the biggest names in construction software are likely to have done a good amount of research before designing their software system.  They generally design their software to work with the most commonly used practices so that they can reach the largest audience with their product offerings.  Therefore, some companies may find some functionality in their software packages that seems completely foreign.This, however, is not necessarily bad.  Instead, it can be extremely beneficial to companies as it provides a framework for improving processes and procedures that may have been costing more money than necessary in the first place.So, the moral of the story is that getting fitted for construction software is an important step in the new software acquisition process.  In much the same way that you will be forced to live an uncomfortable life if you purchase shoes that don’t fit well, purchasing software that isn’t a good fit for your company will likely impair performance.    

7 Steps To Create A Marketing Plan For Your Career In the Construction Industry

These 7 steps to create a marketing plan for your contracting business in the construction industry is vital to surviving in this competitive marketplace. A marketing plan is your own customized “roadmap” to advance your career and/or business throughout the year. It is an internal planning mechanism to keep you focused and to help you reach your goals as a contractor / business owner. There are seven important steps to devise a well-developed marketing plan.Step 1: Develop an overview. You need to answer questions such as why you are in the construction business, and your marketing goals and priorities either to find a job and/or to gain new clientele. What kind of services do you provide such as commercial, residential, new construction only, or do you accept tenant improvement jobs on existing buildings?Step 2: Create your brand. What type of image do you want to create for your customers? How do you convey this image to the public? Think about how your past employers and/or customers would describe your abilities. Do you provide a specialty service, or are you known for intangibles such as having integrity and transparency?Step 3: Define your differential advantage. What sets you apart from your others? Why do your customers come to you over other companies? Do you go that extra mile and do things above and beyond what is expected? Maybe you only use the highest grade of materials. For example, why would a person building their own home choose you to build it over another company? This is your differential advantage.Step 4: Determine your target markets. Who are your clients? Write in detail a profile of who does business with you. Their ages, location, position, and so forth, and of who you want to do business with, and whether you do residential or commercial work.Step 5: Determine your online presence. Do you have a website? Should you? Think about the potential benefits from online marketing and the amount of potential clients you could reach.Step 6: Decide your strategic action plans. Design a marketing campaign and specific techniques to put your plan in motion. Is it realistic and does it fit into your budget? Do you stand to profit from your ideas? Do your ideas represent your company well?Step 7: Put your plan in motion. Implement your marketing plan and campaigns. Remember, your plans are not written in stone. You can throw out ideas that aren’t working and implement new strategies where necessary. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and keep tabs on your competition and learn what works for them.Developing a successful marketing plan is overwhelming to some business owners, and understandably. It is an involved process, but absolutely vital to your company’s success. You will need to take advantage of everything your company can benefit from in today’s competitive market. It will be your key to achieving your goals and becoming successful contractor in the construction industry.

The Genetic Code For Business Success

Every human being is unique. Just like no two snowflakes are identical , no two people are alike. Each of us has a multitude of traits. These traits are polygenic (affected by many genes) as well as multifactorial (influenced by many factors). Thus, each of us is a product of the unique combination of genes we inherit from our parents and our unique experiences. In addition, according to epigenetic theory, our genes interact with the environment.This explains why in a set of identical twins, one may develop schizophrenia and the other may not. Let’s say a set of identical twins inherited a susceptibility to schizophrenia. In adulthood, one of these twins becomes a police officer in Detroit. The second twin runs a bed and breakfast (B & B) in Vermont. Guess which one is more likely to develop symptoms of schizophrenia? If you guessed the police officer, you are correct. Environmental stress is often a precipitating factor in mental illness. Assuming that working as a police officer in Detroit is much more stressful than running a B & B in Vermont, it is logical to assume that the twin working as a police officer is more likely to develop symptoms of schizophrenia, even though both twins have the same genetic predisposition.Genome refers to the full set of genes that serve as the instructions to make an individual member of a certain species. For years an international group of scientists working on the Human Genome Project sought to map the human genome. The effort was completed in 2001 but their analysis continues. These researchers have found that humans have about 25,000 genes and that 99% of these are present in other creatures as well.Just as physical scientists have mapped the human genome, organizational scientists have mapped the genetic code for business growth and success. Genetic codes provide the means by which organisms can grow successfully in their environments. An organism’s genetic code is the key to its life and this code is stored in its DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). In a study published in the SA Journal of Human Resource Management, J. H. Vermeulen and colleagues used qualitative and quantitative data to identify a genetic code for business. Vermeulen and his team argue that a genetic business code can be developed and serve as a crucial enabler of business growth and success. Their study revealed that the code is composed of three strands: a Leadership Strand, Organizational Architecture Strand, and an Internal Orientation Strand.The Leadership Strand involved four components: purpose, personal competence, ethical competence, and transformational competence. Constructs included in the purpose component included:o clarity of purpose,
o forming strategic partnerships, and
o sensitive towards the environment.The second component, personal competence, included the following constructs:o ability to handle change,
o ability to share information,
o business acumen competencies,
o competent leadership,
o flexibility in decision-making,
o focus on intangibles,
o sensitive towards the people component,
o solid understanding of the industry, and
o understanding of the global environment.Five constructs were discovered in the ethical competence component. These included:o entrench values in the organization,
o high levels of loyalty,
o honesty as a value,
o integrity clearly visible, and
o lead by example.The final component of the strand, transformational competence, was composed of the following constructs:o focus on operational efficiency,
o innovation culture,
o predisposition to change,
o reaction to change crucial, and
o re-engineering capability.The Organizational Architecture Strand revealed four components including: strategic direction, customer centricity, people effectiveness, and operating efficiency. There were numerous constructs in each of these components. Here are a few examples from each:o strategic direction: clarity of mission, ownership of infrastructure is a competitive advantage;
o customer centricity: built a strong image, customer centric culture, understand customer needs;
o people effectiveness: drive people development, people orientation, utilization of intellectual capital; and
o operating efficiency: cost-driven, alignment of operational processes, internal communication.The final strand in the genetic code for business growth and success is the Internal Orientation Strand. Four components make up this strand including: spiritual core, mental core, emotional core, and drive and passion. The spiritual core component includes four constructs:o manage own destiny,
o personal insight,
o reconsider identity, and
o redefine purpose.The constructs in the remaining components are as follows:o mental core: direction updated frequently, high commitment level, and intrapreneurship;
o emotional core: invent their future, resilience and renewal; and
o drive & passion: business drive and passion visible, drive towards efficiency to optimize value, sustainable commitment to excellence.Notice that the genetic business code differs from the genetic code for known organisms in that it has three strands rather than two strands (referred to as the “double helix”). Vermeulen and colleagues state that in their integrated model, the Internal Orientation Strand is in the center, serving as a connection between the other two strands. They propose that the “constituting” role is the function of the Internal Orientation Strand, whereas the “structuring” role is the function of the Organizational Architecture Strand. The “acting” role is the function of the Leadership strand. The strands are interrelated and interdependent. Vermeulen also purports that a deficiency in one component will consequentially influence the total alignment and functioning of the model.I don’t know about you, but right now I feel like I’m a bit tangled up in the strands of this complex model. Although I have not gone into it in depth here, I am very impressed with the scope and methodological soundness of Vermeulen’s research design. I think it reveals very important and timely information. The business environment is changing at a very rapid pace and this genetic code illuminates vital components for business success.But now that we are aware of these “strands,” where do we go from here? Unfortunately, this business genetic code does not provide us with a blueprint to inform us exactly how to run our businesses to ensure growth and success. In fact, it would be impossible to develop such a blueprint. Why? Because just as no two people are completely alike, even identical twins, no two businesses are ever completely alike, even if they are in the same industry or operating in the same business environment. In an article published in The TQM Magazine, Norman Burgess discusses the numerous attempts that have been made to standardize a quality process that will guarantee success. Burgess comes to the same conclusion that I have drawn in my own research and experience…it can’t be done. The diversity of organizations and their environments makes it impossible to standardize a success formula.However, the business genetic code can serve as a useful tool nonetheless. It identifies areas that are crucial to organizational health so that we know what to examine when trying to identify where improvements may be needed. In an article published in Management Decision, Alexander Fink and colleagues argue for an approach that combines an examination of both external and internal factors. Notice how many of the components and constructs of the business genetic code have to do with people…people inside and outside of the organization. The success of our businesses is influenced by many things, but there is no doubt that we could not exist without people…both our employees and our customers. In order to examine how we are doing in the strands identified by Vermeulen and colleagues, we need to have a keen awareness of the perceptions and attitudes of both our employees and our customers.Q: How do we obtain this awareness?A: Through scientific surveys.Fortunately, organizational psychologists have already found a way to incorporate the components of the business genetic strand into employee and customer surveys that can be used to identify areas that need improvement; enabling organizations to take action before problem areas begin to damage the “strands” and push the DNA out of alignment, so to speak. Psychologists have spent years developing and perfecting standardized instruments for discovering the perceptions and attitudes of customers and employees. Data from these instruments can be analyzed in order to identify the key drivers of the perceptions of your employees and customers. In turn, this information can be used to plan a course of action that will improve these perceptions and lead to improved alignment between the strands, which will lead to growth and increased profits.