Collaborate 2021: Construction Technology Conference, Day…

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Phil Puccio

Best practices for building on tap

TCE Strategy’s Bryce Austin described the steps cyber criminals follow to successfully breach data.

Cybersecurity factors must remain a priority for contractors:

Cybersecurity consultant Bryce Austin of TCE Strategy launched “Cybersecurity: How to be a Target” with a personal story of his own experience as an employee during the major security breach at Target in 2013 – a big headline at a time before security breaches were so common how they are today.

“Ziel did not understand the risk [surrounding data breaches]Austin said. “Target executives hadn’t experienced a major cybersecurity incident and didn’t make headlines every week of the month like they are now in 2021. That was new and this risk was not understood by many, many companies.”

Austin went on to detail many other headline incidents – from Sony’s breach after announcing the release of the movie “The Interview” to the recent Colonial Pipeline hack – and provided practical advice for those looking to keep their privacy safe (and why she got to protect your data). First and foremost, Austin said, he knew what to focus on: The common methodology for each violation was a chain of events in which every step is necessary for the hacker to succeed:

  1. Phishing

  2. Jump

  3. Scrape

  4. Aggregation

  5. Exfiltrate

Interrupt any of these steps and companies can stop the breach. Or, as Austin puts it, “Stop every step, stop every break. All of these things have to happen for injury to occur. And when you can identify and interfere with any of these five, you will stop the injury. That’s an important takeaway message. ”

In a future blog, we’re going to cover some of Austin’s “actionable steps” you can take to ensure you cover your privacy basics. In the meantime, read our blog: Why It’s Important to Have a Solid Cybersecurity Strategy.

Technology connects project managers directly with finance to better understand the performance and needs of their projects.

Help project managers understand the “financial stuff”

When it comes to profit, employee cost metrics – labor costs to your workforce and tracking your workforce utilization – are often at the forefront of these discussions, says Leslie Shiner, owner of Shiner Group, which also held a meeting for construction project managers on cash on Flow Forecast (see below). Shiner detailed two areas: understanding labor costs (often on an intimate level) and discussing the three ways to increase profits.

“How many of you want to make 10% more money?” Shiner suggested to the audience. “I ask that a lot and everyone will raise their hands. Well, how many of you want to make 10% more money by actually working 10% more hours and 10% harder? Well, not so many people want that. “

Instead, the “Profit Cycle” Shiner begins with the correct estimates, because budgeting is the basis for offers and invoices. The most important metric is gross margin, which allows project managers to compare different jobs of different sizes and understand which ones are generating the greatest profit for the organization. In the end, there are three ways to get this gross margin:

  1. Charge more

  2. Spend less

  3. Sell ​​more

So what’s the best method? It turns out to be a combination.

“I’ve seen far too many construction companies increase their volume and lose their shirts,” Shiner said. “If you double the volume, you lose your shirt because you suddenly sell more. Now you’re managing six more jobs than last month, now you don’t have time to do those jobs and you have to go and do something else … suddenly they’re out of time and on budget to not on time and way over budget . So selling more is not the easiest way to increase profits, but spending less and asking more is the way to go. “

Leslie Shiner explained the construction cash flow and forecast details to Collaborate’s project management attendees

Project manager’s guide to cash flow forecasting:

By and large, cash flow is more than just income and expenses, Shiner said. It’s all the money you make and all the money you spend. It may sound oversimplified, but in a broader sense, money-in can also be raising funds, selling assets, or raising an investment from outside sources. It can be incentives, grants, or tax credits – especially now with the Employment Retention Tax Credit and PPP Loans, there are many ways to get money and it’s more than just income.

Likewise, money-out isn’t just the cost of goods sold or operating and overhead costs; You must also have cash, for example, to pay for loans or to purchase assets or loans for equipment. Then there is the dreaded “T” word (taxes).

With all of these factors in mind, Shiner offers clearer advice to ensure your cash flow is there when you need it: “Make sure you take advantage of your discounts. Use credit cards carefully, but to your advantage. Check out ways to borrow money and see how you can improve your cash flow and profits using the four tools referenced in the webinar:

  • Review of your current business liquidity
  • Create and stick to a cash flow project
  • Make an adjusted break-even cash flow forecast, to be honest
  • Control your cash by understanding your financial windows

Be vigilant: we’ll take a closer look at the cash flow forecast in an upcoming blog.

Effective training programs, Shiner says, can save an average of $ 4,500 per employee elsewhere.

The importance of training:

Shiner also talked about the importance of incorporating training programs into your business model for better results and goals. Effective training programs increase productivity, reduce deviations from goals, lead to happier, more engaged employees, and significantly lower business costs. Companies that spend on training can save an average of $ 4,500 per employee elsewhere, Shiner said.

“Think of training as an investment, not a cost,” said Shiner. “If you can start a business that values ​​education, success, teamwork and culture, you should be able to start a company that will keep your people.”

Shiner shared a number of tips about the types of training platforms and channels that will be most effective, and the following tips on what to keep in mind when creating training programs:

  • Identity that needs rain
  • Identify what skills need to be developed
  • Clear goals and objectives
  • Make use of all available resources
  • Build programs with measurable results
  • Continuously evaluate training programs

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