Push to Pursue Paperless Processes

February 5, 2019 Karli Langner

After years and years of self-contentment in outdated methods of business, it’s time we make those strides into the 21st century, and the eConstruction system has the potential to increase the quality, efficiency, environmental sustainability and productivity of the construction industry at large. There are many opportunities to save when paper-based processes become a thing of the past, such as printing costs, time, postage and document storage, and adding communication efficiencies.

The eConstruction effort involves using available technologies—including digital electronic signatures, electronic communication, secure file sharing, mobile devices and web-hosted data archival and retrieval systems—to improve construction documentation management.

You might be surprised to find that many state transportation departments are exploring aspects of eConstruction, while others are mainstreaming eConstruction practices. They’re finding it offers several benefits.

eConstruction Benefits:

  • Saves money by decreasing paper use, printing and document storage needs, allowing those funds to be allocated elsewhere.
  • Saves time by decreasing communication delays and transmittal time.
  • Improves communication by allowing faster approvals, increased accuracy and better document tracking, all while enhancing transparency and virtually eliminating disputes over document submittal.
  • Enables construction inspectors to spend more time at the actual work site instead of handling documentation tasks away from the site.

Real Value Realized

*All of this information was found in Innovator, published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Center for Accelerating Innovation:

The Michigan Department of Transportation, an eConstruction leader, piloted its system in 2013 on four projects worth about $130 million. In 2014, the department used it on a $160 million project to rebuild part of I-96 in Detroit, as well as on at least one project in each field office. In 2015, the agency began instituting the program on virtually all projects. Each year, the Michigan DOT saves an estimated $12 million through increased efficiency and six million sheets of paper by using electronic document storage for its $1 billion construction program, while reducing its average contract modification processing time from 30 to three days.

The Florida DOT, one of several agencies using eConstruction on design-build projects, has invested in a collaborative sharing site, mobile devices, digital signatures and form automation to improve its processes. All of the stakeholders on a construction contract have access to the collaboration site. The agency’s initial investment in eConstruction was about $1.5 million, but it expects to save about $22 million a year on paper and overhead costs.

The Iowa Department of Transportation piloted eConstruction on four 2014 projects, which yielded many benefits, such as reduced costs, immediate document distribution with no time or money spent on printing or mailing, and faster and more accurate contractor payments. Documents are secure but readily available for project partners to view on a variety of devices.

Guys….This is A No-Brainer.

There are SO many hidden costs associated with paper, including:

  • Inefficiency of turnaround time for customers
  • Low quality of data capture in the field
  • Excessive number of operational staff required to physically handle, manage, and file paper
  • The amount of physical space needed for storage and processing physical documents
  • Lost documents
  • Amount of time wasted by staff to search for an item
  • Inability to use information in a timely manner that leads to less effective decision-making
  • Copying, printing, courier, and postage costs
  • Cost of disposal and recycling

If the government is going paperless, then we definitely need to jump on the bandwagon.

Electronic ticket management systems automate manual processes and can eliminate the dependence on paper tickets that are often illegible and easily misplaced.

Each electronic transaction ensures that both parties are viewing the same data, providing one version of the truth for every user. Buyers can more efficiently reconcile accepted goods and services against invoices, permitting quicker payment to their valued suppliers and quicker month-end closings.

If you want to get started on the road to going digital, schedule your 15 minute appointment to speak with us now.

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