"Why Do We Still Use Paper Dockets? Six Requirements to Address As We Go Digital."

News Item

Mark Shepherd-Smith

CEO and Co-Founder

With so much of our life going digital, many in the construction industry must be surprised that they’re still wading through mounds of paper every day. We’ve gone electronic with many of our site forms, but there is still one vital resource that’s firmly rooted in ancient Egyptian technology - the construction docket. Whether you call them dockets, tickets, proof of delivery, or purchase order receipts – there’s room for improvement when it comes to managing these slips of paper and the important information they contain.

The problems start when work is done or materials are delivered and the paper docket is handed to the guys on site. Because there’s a huge stack of dockets to deal with each day, it’s not unusual for a few to get lost or damaged. The ones that make it to the office are sometimes illegible. From there, the best case is that it takes a week or so to process, usually with both contractors and suppliers manual entering the vital information into their systems.

You can see that there’s room for improvement here. So why is it still a paper process across the world? I believe there are several reasons:

  • Paper systems are flexible, which is important when you’re working on complex jobs with a wide variety of partners and subcontractors
  • Paper dockets can cater to all the different needs of partners and subcontractors, such as legislation, health and safety, and time and quantities information.
  • Even though it’s a tedious manual process, paper systems can ‘integrate’ with other business systems

However, the reality is that this is an expensive process that creates waste, causes disputes and generally fails our industry. Of the reasons outlined above, there is not one that can’t be addressed more efficiently and effectively through a sophisticated digital docket solution.

So what do we need to do to fix it? This is a question my team and I have discussed in depth. Here are our thoughts, an effective solution must be:

  1. More than a PDF. It’s not enough to generate and share PDFs from standard forms. To truly solve the problems head contractors face, a digital docket solutions must leverage the data that’s generated throughout the process.
  2. Both flexible and structured. Head contractors, subcontractors and suppliers all have different requirements, including the need to define their forms to meet individual business and legislative needs. A digital docket solution must have this flexibility, while also providing the head contractor with enough structure to generate meaningful data.
  3. Simple and accessible. For the solution to be widely adopted, it has to be mobile enabled so it works for the guys in the field – not just the teams in the office. The interface on both mobile and desktop needs to be simple and intuitive so new team members, subcontractors and suppliers can get started on the system without extensive training.
  4. Integration-capable. Docket data is important to many business units, so a digital docket system must be able to integrate effectively with the project management, finance and other systems already in use.
  5. Workflow-driven and audit-logged. This information is vital to ensure transparency.
  6. An industry-wide solution. This is perhaps most important of all. There’s no value in a digital docket solution that’s build as a point solution for specific companies. It must be built from the ground up as an industry-wide platform solution that delivers benefits to everyone.

These are the six key requirements our team kept top-of-mind while we created Docketbook. We believe it’s the first industry-wide docket management platform that addresses all of these requirements in its approach to solving the paper docket problem.

To find out more about our approach to digital solutions for dockets, contact us at info@docketbook.com.au or visit our website www.docketbook.com.au.

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