The construction industry is always looking for ways to become more efficient – whether that’s changing materials, introducing smarter processes or reducing waste. Yet promoting effective communications often takes a backseat to other business areas. Until now.
For true efficiency, construction teams must work closely, align priorities and collectively solve problems. That’s why Elecosoft has developed Asta Connect: a lean scheduling solution designed to promote healthy communication and empower decision making within project teams
Why did Elecosoft develop a lean scheduling solution?
As a specialist in software for the built environment, we encounter many construction firms with great plans they need help executing. 91% of building professionals have been involved in a delayed programme, and 1 in 3 say better project management could have helped them to finish on time.
With Asta Connect, we wanted to bridge the gap between strategic vision and daily reality, to stop miscommunications and inefficiencies affecting project progress.
The building sector is still very manual at site level, with teams often mapping their workload on a whiteboard or spreadsheet. It’s not uncommon for critical instructions to be written on a post-it note and stuck to a cabin wall – even when construction companies use advanced software for high-level planning.
Asta Connect takes the principles of lean construction and breaks project master schedules into shorter phases, pull planning each phase. Project managers and specialist subcontractors can work together to build out the details for these phases, from anywhere, ensuring everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and can input their expertise. As each phase progresses this information can then be synchronised with the overall program so that the office stay up to date with progress.
What are the key features of Asta Connect?
Asta Connect is a web-based application for general contractors and subcontractors to plan together and stay connected with the schedule no matter where they are in the world. The solution includes three core features that support lean scheduling:
Master Plan: project managers can import master programme files from Asta Powerproject and other high-level planning software to set the overall project structure and objectives. They can then select the phase they want to detail, creating pull plans for each phase that all stakeholders can access. As this detail is progressed during daily huddles this information is synchronised directly with the Master Plan so that the office is updated on overall progress.
Whiteboard: once the project phase has been selected project managers and trades can create and visualise their jobs to be done with digital sticky notes and outline critical handoffs and information necessary to accomplish key milestones on time. The Whiteboard does the same job as a physical whiteboard or post-it note, but now in a digital format that is secure and actionable.
This view can also be visualised as a to do list for each trade within the Task area.
Dashboards: digital dashboards pull live data to monitor programme performance. Project managers can track metrics such as the percentage of each task completed to ensure programmes hit their key milestones. Dashboard data can also be rolled up and presented to colleagues and customers to demonstrate project progress.
What are the main benefits of using Asta Connect?
By adopting a lean approach to project planning and management, construction companies can achieve the following:
Smoother workflow: Asta Connect makes it easy to move tasks around to optimise workflows and enhance productivity. Focusing on smaller project phases allows teams to make short-term commitments and stick to them whilst also provide the platform to adapt to change and minimise risks.
Integrated design and build: Asta Connect helps construction companies to involve tradespeople at the design stage, so everyone is working towards the same objectives. There’s no more siloed working, which means fewer conflicts during execution.
Contractors can also contribute their skills and knowledge, suggesting adjustments that help projects run quicker and stay within budget and reduce reworks.
Flexible planning: project managers can choose whether to pull an entire phase of work or break each stage into more detailed subsets. They can also add new activities and tradespeople throughout programme execution.
Complete visibility: Asta Connect provides all team members access to the same information in real-time, so everyone is always on the same page. Stakeholders can also provide input and feedback at every project stage, minimising delays due to lack of communication.
Secure, reliable information: critical instructions can’t just fall off a wall like a post-it note or get wiped off a whiteboard. Asta Connect stores information securely, while still giving team members access to data via their web browsers.
Plus, as our lean construction software is web-based, we can ship regular updates and enhancements via the cloud to ensure we’re upholding high security standards.
Valuable best practice: the whole point of lean construction is to learn and improve. By working together to overcome obstacles, teams develop best practices for future projects, and have the data to back it up, rather than making the same mistakes time after time.
Make confident, collaborative commitments to customers
Investing in lean construction software isn’t just allowing companies to work more efficiently; it’s increasing trust with their customers. With no more disconnects between high-level planning and what’s happening on-site, construction firms feel more confident that they can meet customer deadlines.
Lean construction solutions like Asta Connect also foster a stronger sense of teamwork. Through each pull plan, contractors make unified commitments, and digital task management promotes healthy conversation around removing the obstacles impacting productivity.