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Potential savings from electronic documents

Justin Kovaleski

This week, staff reporter Jason Scott turned his normal blog space over to Justin Kovaleski.

Kovaleski is the director of business development for Lemoyne-based Eastern PCM LLC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and an MBA in sustainable business and green development.
He has worked for Eastern PCM since 2007 and serves as chairman for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Central Pennsylvania Chapter.
Kovaleski was just recognized as one of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 winners.
Take it away, Justin.
• • •Let’s face it. Nearly every industry is looking for ways to cut costs.
The construction industry, especially, is not as active in the Central Pennsylvania region as it once was. All firms are searching for new ways to reduce overhead costs and to discover a new competitive advantage.
The construction industry uses a lot of paper. The creation of the design documents is a long, tedious process that requires many copies, reviews, reprints, et cetera. Then you have to distribute the documents to stakeholders, bidders, testing agencies — all of which typically require multiple copies.
Once the planning phase is complete, the construction begins and along with it the submittal process. When I started in the construction industry, I had never seen more paper come across my desk than during this phase of a project. Every single product that is installed on a commercial construction project is submitted in document form.
Each product submission can be voluminous and is submitted with five to 10 copies, depending on the demands of a particular project. Considering the size of a project, we are talking about tens of thousands of pages just for this phase.
Now imagine the cost savings potential of not using any of that paper.
Much of the business world has been converting to the electronic age over the past several years. While the construction industry has definitely caught on, there are still many firms that have not taken the paperless leap yet. If you haven’t started to make the switch, now is the time.
Switching to electronic document distribution is easier than you think. Most people are already doing it with email, but there are other avenues available for larger file transfers and distribution, such as FTP sites, cloud networks and construction-based team collaboration software such as Primavera and Newforma.
Utilizing electronic document distribution for all your construction paperwork will benefit you many times over.
Not having to buy all that paper is the most obvious benefit. Other benefits include environmental stewardship, faster communications, reduced space needed for file storage, reduced costs for clients, improved field-to-office communication, reduced shipping costs — and no more paper cuts.
Exact savings cannot be calculated except on a case-by-case basis. Even without knowing the average percentage of savings per project, the cost savings potential is quite obvious.
So if you haven’t looked into switching to electronic-based document distribution yet, then I encourage you to put the paper down and start today.
Justin Kovaleski can be reached at 717-233-3816, ext. 17, or at [email protected].

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