Data capture helps construction firms keep track of all their activities and work-in-progress. Construction firms deal with tons of images, drawings, documents, contracts and other records that need to be organized properly so that they are available when required. The records include information about projects, clients, employees etc. Many construction companies are turning towards data entry services to manage their structured and unstructured data efficiently and quickly. Data capture is a technology-driven approach to extracting information from various forms and converting it into digital formats for easy management and storage. It enables firms to keep track of the work they are doing and their projects so that they can see what is working best for them. This can help them identify where they need to make changes and improvements in future projects.

Common Data Capture Mistakes in Construction Firms

The inability to get critical information in a timely manner has been a major issue in traditional construction workflow. Given the rate at which crews move and operations are accomplished, companies cannot afford to wait days, weeks, or months for information from job sites to be processed.

Duplicate entry, human error, obsolete information, a lack of communication, and Jobsite distractions are just a few of the common errors that the construction firm teams face when obtaining information. Such errors could lead to reporting or making decisions based on inaccurate data. It must be possible for firms to report and analyze data utilizing effective methods. They should be able to inform project stakeholders about what is working well and where the project may be at risk.

When there are huge volumes of data, poor data capture is likely to result in inaccurate data, which can have several of consequences such as:

  • Unnecessary copies of existing data that aren’t wanted
  • Expensive and time-consuming data fixing methods
  • Delay as a result of bad data
  • Influence decision-making in a negative way
  • Decline in both productivity and corporate growth
  • Affect the customer’s business relationship

The backbone of reporting project health and performance throughout the organization is accurate and timely information captured on project sites. So error free data is essential for construction firms to ensure strategic planning and management of various construction projects.

Five Valuable Tips for Data Capture

Data capture solutions are widely being used across industries, including construction. There are many data capture methods that construction firms can use to organize data in real-time and stay organized, boost productivity, and reduce costs. Let’s take a look at five data capture strategies:

  • Do not blindly copy the manual process: The automated document data capture process begins with a review and analysis of the current procedure. It’s not a smart idea to just duplicate the manual (paper-based) process into a new, digital process because you’ll be missing out on an essential opportunity to reduce wasteful stages (for example, the way a person searches for one specific document versus how a computer does this).
  • Use limited steps: Record the content of a document as soon as possible. Instead of adding unnecessary conversion stages, beginning with the original source of the document. Every additional step increases the probability of failure and might result in data and quality loss. Avoid printing and re-scanning documents whenever possible, and conduct a simple data quality check at the source. Check the minimum resolution and maximum file size as criterion for further processing if users are allowed to upload photographs of documents.
  • Extract depending on needs: ‘Everything’ on a document is expected to be recognized. But in many cases, only a portion of the information on a document has to be identified, and existing data can be used to fill in the gaps. For example, sometimes it may be enough to automatically get the sender, addressee, and file from an internal database based on an internal reference, and then check for the presence of this information on the document (depending on the degree of deviation that is allowed). This method is frequently used to match bills to delivery notes or to distribute incoming mail within a business.
  • Choose the right document processing: Determine the document flows that could be automated. Don’t just automate because the technology is available; instead, choose the best process based on the following criteria:
    • Volume: A set-up fee and/or a minor document or transaction cost are common requirements for document capture implementations. For huge volumes of documents, the ROI (Return on Investment) is thus considerably faster and larger.
    • Employee engagement: Consider how many employees are currently involved in your current document data processing or verification procedure.
    • Error sensitivity: Find out whether your existing method is prone to errors, documents include sensitive information, or would a mistake repair technique later in the process be prohibitively expensive. These are signs that automating data collection is beneficial to you.
    • Repetition: Are you wasting time repeating the same procedures, are workers overqualified to perform these manual duties and do you have a stack of documents? No computer complains about doing the same thing over and over again (day, night or weekend).
  • People are important: Human involvement usually moves to error correction and quality enhancement. In such instances, a user interface that is both simple and efficient is required. This will be used to control errors and collect personal information in order to raise the level of automation and accuracy even more.

In a continuously changing landscape, organizations are now seeking proven mechanisms to acquire data beyond basic web forms or social media signups, and an effective data capture strategy is critical to assuring the success of your business. Many businesses use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to input and process large volumes of data. It can convert any scanned document or image into editable text format, thus saving time and boosting productivity. OCR has become an integral part of data capture systems. It helps in streamlining business processes, preventing errors and even improving customer service. It can be easily integrated with various other systems like document management, workflow management, customer relationship management etc.

Construction firms can benefit greatly by using outsourced services.  This will ensure benefits such as expert handling of huge volumes of data, stringent quality control measures, and high-quality output within a short turnaround time. This will enable construction firms to focus on core business processes without having to worry about managing large volumes of data effectively.