Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

Tech for Vetting Construction Vendors

More professionals are using data analytics and technology to gain an edge in the construction industry. Kari Crowley, a specialist in investigative due diligence and a senior manager with Deloitte Advisory, discussed the use of technology as an accelerator to vet supply chains at the recently completed 2015 Women in Construction Conference. 

Crowley focused on the construction industry where a weak supply chain could lead to delayed projects, cost overruns, and substandard/counterfeit building materials.

Prior to the conference opening on October 15 in Washington, D.C., Ms. Crowley spoke with The Progressive Builder about key technology developments and how analytics should be viewed as valuable tools to integrate with standard business practices.

TPB: What key technology development can be of the greatest value to construction professionals?

Crowley: When you hear the words ‘data analytics,’ you may envision never-ending spreadsheets or hard-to-read data tables, but there are tools out there that do the hard work for you and deliver it in a digestible and meaningful way. Technology should be seen as a project accelerator. Deloitte developed Marigold, a software platform to do just that – accelerate the pace at which a large number of vendors could be screened for potential red flags and/or adverse information.

This information can then be used to make informed decisions about vendors and subcontractors prior to the kick-off of construction projects. Through Marigold – and the power of technology and data analytics – companies and other organizations can take steps to proactively avoid issues – both from a monetary, as well as a reputational standpoint.

TPB: How are analytics changing the way construction professionals work through the building process?

Crowley: With analytical tools like Marigold, construction professionals can quickly and efficiently vet more vendors prior to the building process. The software pools information from different commercial sources in a user-friendly way for companies to detect issues with vendors. The software is also persistent, so any time there is a significant change regarding the vendor such as an officer or shareholder change, M&A activity, litigation or allegations of impropriety, etc., construction professionals would be alerted to that change and determine its affect (if any) on a project. This real-time information can better prepare construction managers for course corrections that might need to be taken. In short, analytics can give construction professionals the ability to detect issues in their supply chain and make more informed decisions.

TPB: What are the most often overlooked data points that contribute to success or failure in the building process?

Crowley: In any industry, timing and information is critical. For the construction industry, there are many players in the ecosystem that makes up a construction project and sometimes it can be challenging to verify information throughout your supply chain. Taking the time to know your supply chain by proactively vetting to determine the reputation and integrity of your supply chain can often identify red flags. A company that is alerted to adverse issues prior to project kick-off has time to adjust and re-strategize. This knowledge and insight can save both time and money in the long run.

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