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Harvesting Data to Grow Your Business

Cotney Consulting Group harvesting data
November 11, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By John Kenney, Cotney Consulting Group.

The ability to use data effectively gives your company a competitive advantage.

Today’s roofing industry is a wild ride, with labor shortages, supply chain issues and other challenges. Staying on task and meeting deadlines is especially critical and requires quick decisions. Those decisions could make or break your company.

Construction and roofing are also amid the world’s technology adoption, which has accelerated in recent years. As a result, the volume of project data continues to grow exponentially. Construction leaders realize that their data has doubled in just the past few years.

Accurate data is crucial in empowering leaders to make quick and impactful decisions in the field. However, a recent survey by Deloitte shows that more than 3,900 industry leaders globally agree to operate without a formal strategy to use data can pose a significant risk.

The actual value of technology for the roofing industry is the ability to learn from your data to help you achieve your goals.

Roofing operations and project managers typically make decisions using some available data in the field. But the needed information is not always readily available or easily accessible to make quick decisions. Even worse, the data that is accessible may be wrong.

The ability to use data insightfully has become a primary competitive advantage.

The ultimate leaders emerging in the roofing industry know how to use data to make informed decisions and gain performance insights.

Adopt a good data strategy

Research confirms that adopting a solid data strategy can save money and propel a company to a higher level of performance.

Creating this strategy includes hiring employees with data management skills – a core component in an operating model.

Wasting materials and schedule overruns are common problems within our industry and are increasing over time. According to a recent study published in Construction Dive, global construction waste is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025, and 77% of construction projects are delivered 40% late.

Using insufficient data has cost the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion, representing 16.5% of the gross domestic product in one year. Using inadequate data may have had almost $14 trillion globally.

The cost of using insufficient data to make quick decisions is growing. For example, one study we (CCG) recently completed suggests poor quality data and miscommunication are responsible for 48% of all roofing rework in the U.S. In 2021. The estimated cost of this rework was 5 percent of the original contract price.

A $20 million roofing contractor would have performed $1 million in rework in 2021. More than $140 thousand could have been avoided using accurate data. We have found that one in every three poor decisions results from using incorrect data.

Quantity does not equate to quality

With the increased adoption of technology, the volume of data collected by the roofing industry is growing rapidly. As a result, industry leaders should take a step back and consider how much of their data can be used to make actionable and informed decisions.

In a recent Mckinsey study, more than 80% of survey respondents say their project data has increased over the past three years, some by more than 50%. That means a substantial amount of that data is generated throughout a project’s life. But at least 25% of the data is unusable.

How much of your company’s data is unusable? Only 17% of survey respondents reported that 75% of their data was usable. Most said it was more like 50%.

Each business faces its own set of challenges. However, half of our (CCG) survey respondents said they could not easily combine data from different sources.

Data use is critical

Getting data into a usable form is a challenge, and not every company can afford to hire a data scientist. As a result, managing company data is often left to the existing staff. So, in addition to field supervision, project management, and personnel tracking, they are also required to collect, manage and analyze data weekly.

Most would agree that the need for making quick, real-time decisions in the field is increasing at the project level — schedule accelerations or compressions, stakeholder requests and emergency response play into it.

Good data leads to successful decisions

Time constraints and urgency of decision are two of the most significant risks to project decision-making. Data being readily available will help. However, project data quality needs to improve for project leaders to make better quick decisions. An absence of reliable data and inexperience can be considerable risks to projects.

Data management skills a requirement

Hiring good analytical and data management person can be critical to your competitive advantage. Train your existing staff and new hires to manage, capture, and analyze project data better.

Good analysis and data management will be crucial for job management in the future.

Learn more about Cotney Consulting Group in their directory or visit www.cotneyconsulting.com.

About John Kenney

John Kenney is the Chief Executive Officer at Cotney Consulting Group. Prior to starting Cotney, John had 45 years of experience in the construction industry. John began his career by working as a roofing apprentice at a family business in the Northeast. Because of his skill and hard work, he progressed from roofing laborer to foreman, estimator, chief estimator, Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer with his various companies. John has worked for multiple Top 100 Roofing Contractors and is intimately familiar with all aspects of roofing production, estimating, and operations. In his last role, John was responsible for the daily operations and performance of a large commercial roofing contractor. During his tenure, John ran business units associated with delivering excellent workmanship and unparalleled customer service while ensuring healthy net profits for his company.

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