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Increasing Productivity with Reliable Information in Renewable Energy

Oct 13, 2022

From our Content Contributor Partner, Procore

Guest blog by, Julie Vasquez

More often than not, the successful completion of a renewable energy project hinges on a productive workforce firing on all cylinders from groundbreaking to handover. How efficiently teams can work will have a direct impact on a project’s budget, schedule, and profit margins.

The loss of productivity can happen in all kinds of ways, and it sometimes goes unnoticed until its impact is felt. This includes spending time on non-productive activities, like chasing down project information, dealing with mistakes, and rework.

Sometimes the information is where it needs to be, but it’s no longer up to date or accurate, further exacerbating the issue. If the weak link is in the information chain, failing to address it makes a project significantly more susceptible to productivity drain, which can result in difficulty meeting investor expectations. 

Renewable Energy Stakeholders Require Streamlined Information Management Processes

When renewable energy developers initiate a project, they have far more stakeholders than the typical commercial construction project. They may have investors who are taking advantage of environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) initiatives and tax credits; power companies that are planning capacity for increasing demand; and government incentive programs that support the development. All of these partners have high needs for regular communication and detailed reporting.  

Challenges with information management impact the ability to report to these project stakeholders. Data coming in from multiple sources on complex projects need to be integrated which creates inefficiencies. Any conflict in the information leads to inaccurate views and wasted time in back-and-forth communication. 

Renewable energy developers are under significant time pressures to deliver projects on schedule to meet investor expectations for return on investment and capacity growth. The ability to track permitting and entitlements, and see ball-in-court progress is key to keeping projects on track in both planning and development. Project and portfolio leaders need real-time visibility to progress and blockers so they can take timeline actions.  

Effective Information Management Is Critical to Building Renewable Energy Projects Efficiently 

Renewable energy projects often involve advanced technology and complex processes. Giving accurate information to the people who need it is the surest way to avoid costly rework, poor decision-making, or other productivity issues. Otherwise, you get projects where key pieces of information are excessively siloed, hard to find, and may not even be reliable. 

The disconnected nature of these data silos means even when a worker can get their hands on the information they were looking for, there’s no guarantee it’s any good. Instead of collaborative decision-making, teams experience a lack of transparency and high friction levels that slow down progress. 

Spreadsheets, for better or worse, are still nearly universally used in construction. However, they can be burdensome to update and can easily fall out of date if they aren’t meticulously updated. This means instead of focusing on critical items like budget and schedule; project managers are often forced to spend their time manually entering texts, photos, and emails from the field into these static documents.

The lack of connected, reliable information on many job sites results in unnecessary duplication and wasted effort.

There’s a lot of time wasted double and triple-checking documents and schedules. Or worse, they’re working off the wrong drawings or financial reports because they haven’t been updated.

You often hear the story about the superintendent driving to the office to pick up printed drawings, and by the time they get back to the job site, the drawings have been updated.

Technology Helps Renewable Energy Providers Improve Productivity

Renewable energy developers and builders need the right combination of tools, insights, training, and controls to maximize productivity, both in the field and the office.

A cloud-based project management solution like Procore goes a long way to improve information flow. By breaking data out of silos and bringing it all together on a single connected platform, teams are able to access the project data they need to be successful. This one change empowers teams to seamlessly document any issues and relay information that could impact productivity.

Connecting teams and data eliminates time-consuming, manual processes that erode productivity and result in hard-to-find, inaccurate information. Connectivity not only makes it easy to store, share, and view project data from anywhere, but it ensures the information is consistently available and reliably accurate. Rather than risking working off the wrong plans, manually entering redundant information, or spending valuable time double-checking a hand-written note on a drawing, workers will be certain what they are seeing is the most accurate, up-to-date information available.

As renewable energy businesses scale, they need to get workers up to speed quickly and minimize risk. Standardizing these processes allows a business to ramp up its employees more quickly as well as create predictable future performance. Additionally, teams are better aligned so they’re approaching things the same way from project to project.

Stop Poor Productivity in its Tracks

You wouldn’t send workers to a job site without their tools, but teams are frequently asked to do their jobs with little to no ability to effectively collaborate, communicate, or document. This creates an environment ripe for budget- or schedule-busting inefficiencies to rear their ugly heads.

To stop poor productivity in its tracks, renewable energy developers and builders need to equip their teams with the tools and technologies that help them perform their work as error-free as possible.

About the Author:

Julie Vasquez

With over a decade in technical product marketing and product management, Julie is passionate about transforming industries by connecting technology and the people who use it.

Content Contributor Sustainability
CoreNet Global