As a general contractor, it can be difficult to market your company’s services to prospective clients. There’s a strong market for construction work and plenty of jobs to be won, but competition is fierce and it can feel as though owners are only looking for the right price. It’s hard to balance your commitment to quality craftsmanship against an industry built on bidding wars.
However, as projects increase in complexity and construction technology advances, it’s becoming increasingly possible to compete on more than just your bid numbers. The use of modern technology and techniques can offer a winning competitive advantage if you’re willing to invest in acquiring the right expertise.
Lean methodology and the Last Planner® System in particular are proven ways to demonstrate a commitment to transparency, accountability and efficiency to prospective clients. Taking this commitment one step further, a digital Last Planner® System tool enables owners to have the same visibility into project information as the project team. With a digital LPS tool, owners can see how the project is progressing in full detail, and are more likely to voice concerns early if they see that something isn’t aligning with their expectations, minimizing rework down the road. This improves the working relationship by increasing trust, as well as the chance that the owner will view the overall project as a positive experience. If an owner knows that projects you undertake offer them enhanced visibility compared to your competition, they’re likely to feel more comfortable working with you.
In addition to increased transparency, owners will gravitate toward general contractors with a reputation for reliability. Adopting the Last Planner® System conveys your confidence in your team’s ability to deliver work on time by being very specific when promising exactly what work will be done, by whom, and when. If something isn’t completed as planned, then you’re also required to give an explanation. Essentially, a decision to use the Last Planner® System implies to clients that you trust your team to deliver and that they should, too. It also positions you well to take on work using increasingly popular alternative project delivery methods, like integrated project delivery, design-build, or construction-manager-at-risk.
Of course, all of this amounts to nothing if the work you deliver doesn’t match or exceed expectations. By holding your teams accountable and having instant, real-time insight into your project, you can identify any potential issues while there’s still time to correct them. As you hone your team’s LPS proficiency, your projects will run more smoothly, enabling you to complete them on or ahead of schedule. By the way, this isn’t about hitting an efficiency goal and then plateauing—Lean emphasizes continuous improvement, meaning that if you put in the time and follow the process committedly, you’ll continue to see improvements through cross-project learning and access to data you wouldn’t otherwise have had. With more of your projects finishing ahead, you’ll be able to take on more work than you previously could have, improving your bottom line.
Finishing on time or early doesn’t only benefit you as the GC; time is money for owners, too. The sooner their projects are completed, the better it is for their business. If you save them money on one project, chances are they’ll award you future work.
Differentiating your company from the competition doesn’t require spending a fortune on marketing or trade shows. With a strategic investment in processes and technology to drive efficiency and reduce risk for your company and your clients, you’ll more than stand out from the competition.
Want to take the first step? Watch a demo of Touchplan here.