Staying on schedule is never easy. Keeping up with the enhancements to construction scheduling software packages can often be just as difficult. This year we have seen some new innovations from scheduling providers to the homebuilding market, presenting builders with new everything from new functions to even whole new options when it comes to scheduling projects.

For example, at the Intl. Builder’s Show in Orlando, BuilderMT, www.buildermt.com, Lakewood, Colo., introduced BuilderMT Mobile Scheduling. Developed for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm-Pre, this product is a Web-based smartphone system that allows users to tag tasks from anywhere in the field.

The company stresses the fact this product is not an “app” but rather an integrated system that works directly from your smartphone by accessing a secure login on the device. All data integrates back to BuilderMT and Sage Timberline Accounting and Explorer Contract Manager, which the company announced integration with in 2010.

Another scheduling software provider AECSoft, www.aecsoftware.com, Sterling, Va., announced FastTrack Schedule 10.0.1 earlier this year. Perhaps the most notable update to the company’s flagship product is new compatibility with Microsoft Project 2010, which will allow users to open MS Project 2010 files directly in FastTrack Schedule.

Automated Trackers, www.automatedtrackers.com, Dallas, Texas, is another scheduling option to consider for homebuilders. Such builders as Darling Homes, www.darlinghomes.com, Dallas, Texas, Horizon Homes, www.horizonhomesdfw.com, Plano, Texas, and McCall Homes, www.mccalldevelopment.com, Billings, Mon., to name a few, use the company’s scheduling technology.

The company offers SAM (supervisors automated manager) construction scheduling software. The product enables home construction managers to automatically work through a customized set of steps, while documenting the specifics of each project at each stage of construction. The product helps builders focus on what the current actual build time is by product, providing timely data on project progression while interfacing with accounting systems for internal billing and payment controls.

The way it works is, each time you begin a new project the system downloads previously customized templates based on your identified critical path, purchase orders, “start” faxes, vendor and trade data, and tasks. Throughout the course of a project timelines and milestones will surely change. The SAM product helps you make the necessary adjustments throughout the process, and communicate with partners.

The company also offers Web-based vendor and trade scheduling, VIC (vendor information console). From here, users can gain access to schedules. Using VIC, builders can respond, confirm, or decline job notifications that are produced in the SAM product. BuilderMT offers a similar product as well, Trade Portal, which gives builders Web-based communication with trade partners.

Whether it’s new enhancements or new options, homebuilders have plenty of new options at their disposal these days when it comes to ensuring their projects remain on schedule.