On Center Software New technology making waves in concrete construction

By Kyle Hamer, 
VP of Marketing, On Center Software 

For decades, technology has been the driving force behind productivity gains. We moved on from 10-key calculators, note pads, markers, rolls of blueprints and walkie-talkies to laptop computers, tablets, and smart phones. Some 20 years ago, we used a “killer software” for estimating called Lotus 1-2-3.

Today, electronic plans and images are instantly loaded into digital plan rooms, dramatically chopping printing, transportation, and storage costs. Digital plans now reside on a server or a computer hard drive, just a few clicks away. Cloud-based storage is growing as well. You no longer have to store rolls of plans and file boxes in your office or warehouse.

Reap the benefits of software automation
On Center has been at the epicenter of construction software for takeoff and estimating, since 1988. That’s our wheelhouse. Competition is fierce when bidding for jobs in the concrete business, and often what sets one contractor apart from the rest is the accuracy and timeliness of their bid. Estimating software increases productivity with more bids and wins. Studies show that companies using On-Screen Takeoff and Quick Bid speed up bids so much that in some cases, it is the equivalent to hiring 2.2 full-time employees.

Fast and furious change orders
On-Screen Takeoff is designed to handle change orders, hundreds of them. In some cases, changes on paper plans are easy to miss. You can’t rely on eyeballing cloud notes on a new set of paper plans with new specs replacing old specs without a bold alert. We’ve all spent countless hours looking over paper plans, side by side on a table. And mistakes have been made. With On-Screen Takeoff, project managers can instantly identify changes and spec addendums on digital plans by comparing the previous plan with the new version using color-coded overlays. Deletions are in red, additions in blue.

Tablets, laptops and smartphones
The introduction of tablets in the mid-2000s is making an impact in field today. The project manager and foreman are no longer stuck copying and sending papers back and forth for every change. Plans, change orders, and RFIs are sent electronically from the tablet in the field to the project manager’s laptop. Areas can be traced for takeoff and counts using a stylus on a tablet or a mouse with a laptop. There are cameras in smartphones and tablets, which allow a foreman to snap a photo and email a picture of an issue and get an answer within minutes. Contractors are using tablets in the field to digitally sign contracts, enter time cards, fill out progress reports, and capture photos of completions. The foreman can now assign goals to the crew at the start of each day based on the production rate. No more guestimates.

With On-Screen Takeoff, the manager can instantly check the percentage complete or project hours left and see if the job is on track or if it is bleeding. The longer a problem goes unnoticed, the more blood is let. Catch the cause early on so you can change the mix of the crew, or add new equipment.

We are truly in the center of the digital construction age, leaving the era of ancient estimating using paper and pencil to the dustbin of history.

By Kyle Hamer, 
VP of Marketing, On Center Software 
Kyle Hamer leads marketing programs, brand management, and website development for On Center Software. Prior to joining the company, he spent several years in the coatings trade and worked for a General Contracting business. Since then he has invested the last 15 years in strategic sales and marketing management for startups, turnarounds, and market expansions for over 40 companies.