Are we ramping up for a comeback in residential? If so, are homebuilders restacking the deck with technology in order to effectively gear up for the work? Of course each case is different, but we continue to see stories of homebuilders eyeing the comeback trail with confidence thanks in part to strong information technology at their disposal.
One such builder is French Brothers, www.frenchbrothers.com, Alamogordo, N.M., which expects to wrap up the year with a total of 85 closings. For the company, that type of growth comes down to more than simply building quality homes; it includes having quality processes in place as well.
According to Tom French, the builder takes a very critical look at each and every process and procedure. That can be quite the eye-opening experience, as it can at times expose some rather unappealing flaws in the process.
The company believes information technology plays a strong role in its success. For instance, French Brothers uses technology from MARK SYSTEMS, www.marksystemsusa.com, Mt. Holly, N.J., as part of its strategy for integrated communication between its superintendents, vendors, and customers. Use of the technology vendor’s Integrated Homebuilder Management System Internet ToolKit on iPads allows its construction managers and superintendents to communicate on site or remotely; viewing every detail for every home.
“Incorporating technology into our business is a key component to our growth in quality. To use technology effectively requires that we have, or put into place, good processes,” says French. “If you don’t you would simply be automating poor performance. It’s hard work, but as you progress the relationship between process and technology becomes obvious.”
Fully-integrated technology offers support for every activity involved with building a home. The IHMS system delivers full backoffice and field operations functions directly to the desktop of every person in the building process. The technology from MARK SYSTEMS offers a single database architecture, which means the information is delivered instantly to every team member, including purchasing, scheduling, field operations, trade partners, sales office, and design center personnel, among others.
As the market continues to churn out more success stories, the idea of information technology playing a role in the residential comeback seems to inevitable. Whether it’s being able to access critical information from the field, or simply have data tied seamlessly throughout key phases of the build process, technology can help provide the necessary means to ensure processes and procedures are definitely up to par.