Once upon a time, paper ruled every construction company’s office. File boxes and cabinets overflowed with everything from contracts, to change orders, to AP checks. Whole rooms housed paper archives. Good luck to any contractor who suddenly was confronted with a law suit and had to hunt down all the necessary documentation. The search often took months—and countless staff hours.
Today, many contractors have banished most of the paper from their offices. Instead, they have replaced physical documents with electronic versions that can be stored, routed, and retrieved much easier. But what about the paper that is still commonplace on the job site and on the road?
Cloud technology is now making it possible to extend the paperless office into the field. Here are a few examples:
Cell phones are great for taking pictures electronically. But snapping photos of job progress and issues does no good if the pictures sit on multiple employees’ phones or are not documented properly. Mobile document management apps are now available to add information such as job number, date, and notes to field photos. Best of all, the photos and information can be instantly uploaded, from the job site, to a centralized document repository for easy access later on. All of this visual documentation helps to reduce legal liability.
Gone are the days of keeping track of all those paper credit card receipts accumulated from business lunches, quick trips to the building supply store, and other on-the-job expenses. Now employees can just take a picture of the receipt, enter the date, select the vendor and expense type, and route it directly to the accounts payable clerk.
Receiving tickets and invoices
Basically, with today’s cloud technology, your smartphone serves as a scanner. This is especially useful for documenting receiving tickets of materials delivered to the job site, as well as invoices. Every paper document photographed can be indexed for easy search and automatically routed to other employees who need to approve, process, or be notified that materials or invoices have been received.
Taking a paperless approach in the field keeps important documents from getting lost, speeds information transfer, and shortcuts processing of items such as credit card receipts. And because of recent technology advances, paperless construction—both in the office and the field—is more achievable than ever.
How paperless is your construction company?