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Reinventing Construction Vendor Management with Software

3Di Systems | February 3, 2023

5 Minute Read

In real estate construction, vendor management can be a real challenge. From sourcing suppliers and handling incidents, to scheduling deliveries and invoicing customers, there’s a lot that needs to be done for projects to run smoothly. And if these tasks aren’t managed correctly, it can have serious implications for your business. 

The good news is that with modern software solutions, it’s now easier than ever to simplify construction vendor management. From service request management systems to asset tracking capabilities, right up to mobile inspection automation tools – there are plenty of options to help streamline supply chain operations and supplier relationships.

To understand what that looks like, we’re reviewing some of the most helpful tools to help you manage your vendors. 

The right software solution will combine some (or all) of these solutions into a single platform, so you can handle everything from one place.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The Problem:

When there is a lack of transparency and communication between vendors and developers, it can lead to delays in projects or inferior quality supplies. This means that it is difficult for developers to keep track of all the different vendors they use, as well as ensuring that each vendor meets their standards.

Without clear benchmarks, SOPs, and streamlined communication between vendors and developers there's an increased risk of issues and project delays due to poor quality supplies.

The Solution:

A CRM solution helps streamline this process by helping you manage a central database of potential vendors and any relevant information about them — all from the very first time you communicate with them.

  • Benchmarking: allows you to set clear benchmarks so everyone knows why one vendor was chosen over another.
  • Documentation: establishing clearly why one vendor is best for the company, and why particular vendors were not chosen (such as questionable business practices, like poor labor conditions).
  • Creating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to make sure the best vendors are chosen consistently.
  • Simplifying communication between parties involved. This ensures orders are fulfilled on time with quality materials.

Mobile Inspection Automation

The Problem:

Constructing a building requires many different vendors to collaborate in order to complete the project on time and within budget. Unfortunately, managing all these different vendors can be a complex process, especially when it comes to quality assurance inspections for each vendor’s work.

Standard inspection processes for each vendor’s work take up valuable time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere in the construction process — not to mention the risk of human error in data collection, or miscommunication between parties involved in an inspection report.

The Solution:

Mobile inspection tools provide you with digital tools that provide:

  • Speed: make conducting inspections easier and faster, with less redundant data entry and faster reporting.
  • Accuracy: eliminates manual paperwork and eliminates the risk of mistakes from copying data between documents.
  • Access: allow users access from anywhere using mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. A cloud-based database ensures everyone has easy access whenever needed.
  • Automation: on top of automatically uploading inspection data, these tools also automate documentation and tracking processes.

Billing and Payments

The Problem:

The process of invoicing and payment can be tedious and slow. How often do you need to re-enter things like customer data or products, services, and inventory into your billing system to copy over from other systems?

 Not to mention, developers must keep track of multiple invoices from vendors, devote time to creating and sending invoices, and deal with difficulties collecting payments from customers. The inability to quickly and accurately manage fee structures and payments can create delays in customer payments, leading to cash flow interruptions and a negative impact on customer relationships.

The Solution:

A Billing & Payments solution streamlines the invoicing process, reducing errors and creating an efficient, central system for managing vendor relationships. This software allows you to easily set up payment schedules and process invoices and payments in a uniform manner.

With a Billing & Payments software solution, you can:

  • Easily set up recurring payments for regular vendors.
  • Manage everything in one place — no more data silos, no more wasting time copying over information between systems
  • Automate invoices and payments based on as many factors as you need, taking into account everything from quantity, quality, transportation, inspections, and more.
  • Track expenses and payments to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Incident Management

The Problem:

When managing an extensive supply chain and numerous vendors, it’s difficult to keep track of all issues and ensure they are addressed in a timely manner. From delayed delivery of materials or defective materials to conflicts between vendors, tracking and managing everything can quickly get complicated and slow.

When issues aren’t managed properly, it can cause delays in construction, cost overruns, and can damage relationships with vendors.

The Solution:

An incident management solution like 3Di Engage can:

  • Automate the resolution process, allowing you to quickly address and resolve any issues that arise.
  • Provide real-time visibility of incidents, resolution workflows, and all relevant data — organized into a single database, and automatically updated system-wide.
  • Simplify complex processes, with a system that easily handles complicated, non-linear resolution processes that have traditionally been hard to streamline or automate. 

Asset Management

The Problem:

Real estate developers without a strong asset management solution often have a hard time juggling all the moving parts in their supply chain and vendor relationships. For example, it can be difficult to keep track of all the assets that need to be managed, from properties to raw materials, and what goes where, when.

If these assets are not managed properly, it can lead to delays in production and inefficiencies in operations, such as ordering too much or too little inventory, or missed purchasing opportunities. This can result in significant financial losses for developers, making it important to have a reliable system in place to keep assets organized.

The Solution:

Asset management software lets you easily organize all the assets you track – from properties to raw materials.

  • Centralized: Helps you manage your supply chain and vendor relationships from a single location.
  • Customized: Provides a flexible, scalable digital inventory to easily organize all of the assets being tracked, with as much detail as you need.
  • Better visibility: Gives any relevant team member real-time visibility and control over the supply chain, allowing you to make informed decisions and ensure that operations run efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • GIS mapping capabilities: with 3Di Engage, you also have a geographic information system to map better understand properties, the market and the factors that affect them.    

Reporting and Insights

The Problem:

It’s hard to effectively manage a supply chain and respond quickly to trends without timely and accurate data. Without access to meaningful insights from the supply chain, developers are unable to identify areas of improvement, or capitalize on opportunities to optimize their supply chain performance. For instance, a company that lacks visibility into their inventory levels may experience stockouts or overstocking. This can result in lost sales or increased carrying costs for the company.

The Solution:

A reporting and insights dashboard on 3Di Engage provides you with the data and insights you need to make better decisions about your supply chain. Presented as easily digestible visuals that provide more detail whenever you need, this solution can:

  • Provide access to analytics reports in real time, enabling you to gain a better understanding of your supply chain performance, and identify trends like changes in demand and pricing.
  • Uncover hidden patterns or trends using artificial intelligence, helping you make sense of complex data points quickly and efficiently.
  • Help you uncover opportunities for improvement in your processes, allowing you to optimize your supply chain performance, such as reducing costs or improving lead times.

Get any (or all) of these solutions in one central platform: 3Di Engage

At 3Di we provide our clients with all these features in a single, unified platform: 3Di Engage. Whether you want one of these tools, a few of them, or all of them, you can pick or choose the solutions that best meet your needs — and rest easy, knowing 3Di Engage integrates with your existing systems.

Since we’ve prebuilt all the necessary parts of the software, we can assemble a custom solution for you in a matter of weeks, all while keeping software development costs exceptionally low.

Streamlines your entire vendor management process with automation, reporting, and more, all in a single, non-siloed database.