At its core, Qflow is an environmental risk management tool. That is the purpose the platform was developed for and that is our area of specialization. This is a very important area of construction that we feel strongly about. With that being said, we are not naïve tree huggers that turn a blind eye to the commercial struggles in construction and the many other variables that are seemingly far removed from sustainability. Qflow is here to help evolve the construction industry. By focusing on one narrow component of the industry without regard to the others that make up its whole, is not very efficient.
The use of data in business analysis has been in great demand in recent years. “How can we use data to find ways to cut costs and increase our bottom line?” It’s a good application of data analysis for sure. Although, as business intelligence and big data have evolved, businesses appear to have subconsciously made business data and environmental data mutually exclusive. Almost to the degree that you can’t focus on one without diminishing the other. The general narrative around environmental data is misguided and this article aims to set the record straight.
Business benefits of environmental data
Since the inception of Qflow, we have identified several areas where we can apply environmental data to business analytics and get remarkably valuable insights. Let’s take a look at how this data translates into real business benefits. We’ll be using construction data as an example.
Supply chain check
By keeping an accurate log of all deliveries and transfers going on and off your construction site, Qflow provides you with the ability to continuously scrutinize your supply chain. This makes it incredibly easy for contractors to iteratively tighten up the supply chain and identify the group of suppliers that are causing the majority of the problems on your projects. The actual percentages may vary but the Pareto-like principle remains the same. Find the few causing the most trouble and adjust accordingly. Over time, this can drastically help improve your projects efficiency and productivity. If your supply chain is aware of this detailed analysis, you might even find that even your best and most reliable suppliers up their game.
Legal support/ Accountability
Over the course of several projects, it is often inevitable that disputes, accidents, or miscommunications will occur. Of course, nobody wants this to happen and we are always working hard to ensure that they don’t. However, when they do, it is good to cover your bases. Many of these incidents will often lead to insurance companies getting involved and they will open an investigation into a claim or dispute. If you are able to quickly and efficiently provide them with a single source of truth to assist the investigation, it will substantially help your team and the insurance agency to settle the claim. This is the kind of support Qflow can provide within the context of material deliveries and waste transfers. By keeping an accurate log of ongoing project data, in the event of an incident, your project team can turn to the log of data and find out exactly what has happened, what was promised, and/or what went wrong. This will give them a clearer picture of how to proceed. Should this take an unfortunate turn and escalate into a legal matter, once again, you will have an extra layer of support to fall back on using the log of data collected by Qflow.
Project teams can use Qflow data to derive great benefits in the planning stages of their projects. By going through the insights delivered by Qflow on previous projects and using the raw data to analyse for causal relationships, the team can predict unwanted outcomes on the new project and take proactive measures to minimize the risk of this happening again. In doing so, a small amount of upfront work can result in substantial savings in time and money. When Qflow is deployed at the beginning of a project, the data and insights can help the team calibrate the projects performance on an iterative basis. If done diligently, at the end of the project the contractor will have created a new baseline for how to operate the most efficiently, which can be carried over to the next project. As a result, the commercial benefits will compound over time, taking your business to new levels with each project, while simultaneously reducing your environmental impact.
Our data science team are working on developing a predictive analysis model to further alleviate the project team of both planning and administrative work. This will allow Qflow to do even more heavy lifting and provide you with a detailed report and prediction for future project works. Improving your projects business performance will appear to be a seamless process.
The waste and materials tracking components of Qflow were originally intended to protect and prevent environmental non-compliance on construction projects and help them in reporting on sustainability certifications. However, we have realized now that the benefits of these two modules go far beyond this limited scope. There are a vast range of things you can do with this raw data once collected and we have found that calculating carbon on projects has been of great interest to many of our clients. However, we want to take this a step further. We are currently in the early stages of developing a carbon tool that will completely shift the way construction manages and reduces carbon. Imagine being able to automate carbon tracking on all your projects and feeding that data back into design, creating a system that perpetually reduces your carbon footprint. This will help solve a critical problem in the industry and free up a huge amount of resources for you to focus on other important tasks.
Finally, Qflow can be used as a backup system for cross checking material deliveries and waste disposal. With Qflow, information does not slip through the cracks and if a piece of information is missing, the project team is immediately notified. This results in Qflow becoming an accurate source of truth, updated near real-time. Let’s say something feels wrong about the materials you are receiving on site versus how much you are spending. You can easily go to Qflow’s cloud portal and crosscheck the information you have on hand to make sure that what was promised to be delivered has in fact arrived on your site. Through simple filters, you can sort by dates, suppliers, and modules.
This creates an additional layer of security, protecting you from the repercussions of potential mistakes made by subcontractors who haven’t been paying attention. This kind of air tight data adds a great sense of ease and relieves potential problems that can compound and cause massive disruption to your project.
As mentioned in the introduction, we are on a mission to help make construction a more sustainable and less disruptive industry. However, it is important to remember the vast commercial benefits that exist in doing so. There is a prejudice infused in many big industries which states that sustainable business is more expensive and less profitable. That may have been the case in the past. We are here to tell you that is no longer the case. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you aren’t sure about this, check out our client case studies and note the commercial benefits each of these has experienced after using Qflow.
This is an exciting time to double down on aggregating and analysing construction data. Investing time, energy, and capital in a data platform that is right for you will be one of the most lucrative and rewarding investments you make in 2020 and beyond. To find out what platform is right for your business, read more about developing software partnerships instead of buying products. If you have any questions on how Qflow can help you take advantage of the data on your project, please feel free to reach out to us or book your demo right here on the website.