Manual Processes: The Real Business Cost

Engineering and construction companies are unable to run effectively on spreadsheets and paper

Spreadsheets can be a powerful tool for data addicts. Most of us scratch the surface of spreadsheet software capabilities and respect people who can easily manipulate data, slicing and dicing along different dimensions to produce charts and graphs. Initially, there may be some valid reasons for spreadsheets becoming intertwined with your business:

  • Your internal and external stakeholders already have spreadsheet software;
  • Those stakeholders know, at least partially, how to use that software, and;
  • You’ve gotten this far with spreadsheets, so why change now?

While it may be tempting, it is never a good idea to allow your business to depend on spreadsheets. For Construction Pros reported that poor communication, rework, and subpar data management costs the construction industry $177 billion annually. Your organization can survive and thrive, but only if it moves beyond the paper and spreadsheet hurdles covered below.


An FMI and Plan Grid survey found that construction workers lose almost two full working days every week searching for project information and solving avoidable issues. Paper-based processes usually require data to be entered manually and require staff to enter that data. And even the most meticulous data-entry team members are prone to human error like typos now and then.

Despite being digital, spreadsheets don’t fare much better than paper processes when it comes to efficiency and accuracy. Manipulating data in spreadsheets is still a manual process subject to human error, and compiling data sources increases potential for error and further wastes resources.

Lost Bids

Construction firms with efficient, automated processes have few manual errors, and a lower portion of their payroll goes to administrative functions, giving them an edge toward competitive, accurate bids. But bidding against them with manual processes isn’t the only reason you might lose a bid.

Construction Connect’s 10 Tips for Submitting Better Bids article covers incomplete bid forms and documents. Bids submitted with missing or incomplete information due to human error or the inability to gather data from multiple data silos can result in losing projects to a competitor.

Winning Bids Based on Bad Information

Predicting total job cost for an accurate bid requires accounting for risks, direct labor, subcontractor costs, materials, equipment, and many other details. One flawed data point in a formula can create a bid with little or no profit margin. And in those cases, once the job begins, even a small change or error in one minor detail could wipe out the profits from ten good jobs.

The good news is that if you are able to detect the bidding hurdles outlined above, you can address them before they create irreversible problems. Many construction companies are detecting these issues by moving away from manual processes to comprehensive software solutions and by integrating platforms with iPaaS. Integrated solutions help construction firms improve understanding of their true strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately lead to winning more bids. The knowledge provided by an integrated solution can help organizations make smart decisions about which bids to aggressively pursue.

Spreadsheet software will never disappear, and in certain cases, spreadsheets may still be the right tool for the job. But just like in construction, it’s always a good idea to use the best solution for a specific challenge. Fiberglass insulation, for example, might be the best choice to increase a structure’s heating and cooling efficiency, but using fiberglass as a building foundation would be catastrophic. Using spreadsheets as the foundation for your construction data could be equally disastrous.

Begin Your Integration Journey Today

If you have questions about integration-platform-as-a-service (iPasS) software, check out the article The Good News About iPaaS Integration.

Gaea Global Technologies, Inc. (Gaea) created Nexus, an iPaaS solution, after decades of experience architecting and implementing engineering and construction systems. Gaea specifically designed Nexus to automate construction processes across applications and increase productivity. Nexus also offers clients a dedicated project-monitoring engineer (PME). The PME is a scheduler, cost analyst, and data analyst who is already an expert in all Nexus capabilities. PMEs provide services including project planning and onboarding, data analysis, data curation, and project updates.

Request a demo today to see how Nexus can reduce integration time by up to 75%.

Manual Processes: The Real Business Cost
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