Steel detailing is a perfect example of the type of industry that needs an internal tech stack to keep project managers, checkers, detailers and other team members on the same page. But even if your entire staff is located in the same physical location, it's essential to have a solid system in place for managing all the tasks, milestones and messages. Here are a few types of technology every business should have for day-to-day operations.
Cloud Based Project Management Software
A solid and dependable cloud-based Project Management (PM) software is crucial for a steel detailing company. However, a spreadsheet is not a solution, because even a few projects can quickly get out of hand. Instead, dependable database software like Asana, BaseCamp or Teamwork Projects (TWP) will make your life a lot simpler and more organized for a small monthly fee.
At X Steel Detailing, we have found that TWP is a great fit for our team. It operates across multiple time zones to stay organized and on top of project deadlines. It also gives us the ability to easily communicate with clients when they can expect submittals.
Internal Messaging Software
We gave up email for internal communication a long time ago, because it is much more efficient to chat. Slack also is a lot more fun with the ability to send a quick gif. We set up some internal guidelines for proper use of Slack to keep things organized.
However, there are limitations. While Slack is great for quick questions or highlighting the urgency of an issue, if the discussion gets too long, your message thread can get lost. For longer discussions, use your PM solution so that it is better organized and documented for future reference.
COVID introduced the world to Zoom. We were using Zoom and Google Meet since X Steel first started out of necessity of being a remote company. Being a little ahead of the curve allowed us to learn some of the intricacies of each software, but overall they are very similar.
The bottom line with videoconferencing: Don't be shy to show your face. It is so much easier to interact and converse with folks when you can see their facial expressions. Otherwise, just talk on the phone.
Being a fully remote/distributed team since the beginning has been a competitive advantage for our company. By leveraging technology and over-communicating, we have formed a great company culture of high performers focused on delivering quality and on-time drawing packages for our clients.
What are some of your favorite remote work tools?