When you are looking for construction quality management software, you should ask questions to get a clear picture of the vendor's expertise. Construction is not like other industries and not all construction companies are alike. Can the software vendor help you decide how the system should work at your company and make it easy to get up to speed with your unique needs? How much training will it take to get the system up and running? Here are five questions to ask vendors before you make a decision:
1. Do you understand quality management within the construction industry?
Ask the vendor if they have experience working in construction. You may find that the software vendor has a lot of expertise in software development and not much knowledge about construction. If you give them a general overview of what you do, can they can explain how their quality management system will work for you?
Does the vendor understand the different roles in the construction industry and how quality management affects people in those roles? For example, can they describe how subcontractors, crews, foremen, and superintendents would use the software on the field at your company? The vendor should have enough construction background to focus on how to make the software help you succeed instead of interview you about roles at your company.
2. Do you understand my speciality within the construction industry?
If the vendor understands the construction industry, you should then find out if they understand your speciality in the industry. Does the system come with checklists specific to your speciality, or do you need to start from scratch? Can the vendor relate to your speciality enough to help you decide how to put the quality management system in place in a way that provides you with the most benefits and the least amount of work?
The vendor should be able to do more than recite a list of features. Your company is unique, and your vendor should be familiar with your speciality and be able to help you decide how to manage your business so crews operate more efficiently.
3. Do you understand who will need to use the system at my company?
If you are confident the vendor understands your specialty in the industry, do they also know who and how the people in the field will use the software? How will a QA inspector use the system differently than a superintendent or a safety auditor? Can the vendor describe simple ways for each employee to handle tasks? You want to make sure there are not a lot of complicated processes that people will need to use in the field.
4. What training materials do you offer and how much training will I need?
If the vendor understands how field people will use the software at your business, find out how much training you will need to get the system to work for you. Ask the vendor what kind of training materials they offer and then evaluate them. For example, if they offer training videos, are they an hour long or in the five to ten minute range?
Long training videos or classes might be a red flag that the system has a steep learning curve and a field person might not take the time to review them. If the vendor offers five or ten minute videos, it might be a sign that the software is easy to learn and you will not need much training.
5. Can I trial a full version of your software?
Find out if you can trial the full version of the vendor's software. If you can trial a version that has only some of the features, you will not get the chance to see exactly how the software will work at your business. It may be more important to see what is being hidden from you than what is included in a limited trial. Even if the vendor explains the process to you and you feel confident it will work for you, you want to make sure everything works the way you expect.
After you ask vendors these questions and any others you might have and you are confident they understand your business, you should have an idea of how the software can improve your specific processes. There should be no question that the software will benefit your business.
If you're looking for construction management software, we'd be happy to answer your questions and start you on a free trials of FTQ360.