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How Arup and MJ Dixon use email management to resolve disputes

20 September, 2022

The technology landscape globally is changing at an ever-increasing speed and this is no different within the construction industry. In fact, construction technology continues to rapidly evolve and drive forward the construction technology industry to become safer, cheaper and quicker.

There are numerous examples of how modern technology is revolutionising the construction industry today, such as Digital Twins, BIM, and the Internet of Things. So, it may come as no surprise that with everything going on in the world right now, and teams either working remotely or in a hybrid working environment, that it's becoming more and more difficult to access project information.

The days are gone, or limited, where you can turn around to the desk next to you and ask your colleague to help you find an email. What this means for a lot of people is that they don't have access to the information they need, they are being left out of the communication loop, and this poses a real problem.

Email remains king in AEC Project Management

With over 333.2 billion emails sent and received every single day in 2022, email is still the most used communication and collaboration tool in many industries and remains the most-used collaboration tool for project correspondence in the AEC. It's the one thing most people manage differently, creating huge risks for the future.

“We receive around 10,000 emails per year per project. And so it, you can imagine it can be quite tedious to keep track of all of that communication going back and forth.”
Karla Murray, Proposal Manager, MJ Dixon

One of these risks comes in the form of project rework. A recent study by Geneca found that 80% of project professionals spend half of their time on rework, and poor communication costs $62 million every year on average.

Reworks don't just waste your time and money but cause huge communication breakdowns within your team and with your senior executive teams and stakeholders.

It was found in our annual AEC Project Management research report that 78% of AEC businesses have experienced a dispute in the last 12 months.

Paul Hill, BIM specialist with the engineering firm Arup, joined Mail Manager on a webinar recently and gave his thoughts on if digitalisation is the key to solving long construction disputes and whether digital transformation in the construction industry is going to make life a lot easier.

“It will, but it'll be lumpy because it's not just digitisation. If you don't have information management and governance, then you can't rely on the information you have. So, it's that kind of golden thread as we were talking about earlier, that allows you to confidently say this, then this, then this. That audit trail is not just email, it's pretty much everything we do. So, we need to rely on digital information and because the industry and particularly Arup is very collaborative.”

We also spoke with Karla Murray, Proposal Manager with Canadian contractor, MJ Dixon, on how implementing an email management system can resolve disputes, thus digging them out of trouble.

Karla has been using Mail Manager for around 5 years.

“It's worked out really well, so we've enforced it throughout and across our company. Whether it's someone in the field or in the office, any email that goes out, they're prompted to file it according to the project and this way, there's that transparency and accessibility for everyone. So, over the past five years, it has really benefited us.”

One in two AEC businesses can’t easily access their project correspondence

We found that 87% of people are concerned about information visibility and accessibility in their firms. These concerns are highlighted by people increasingly needing to locate information from past projects. In fact, just over half of respondents (51%) said that they regularly need to find information from historic projects.

We asked Karla if it has been a dramatic change to the way they work overall, not just within email.

“Oh, yes, absolutely. Recently, a client I had submitted information to years previously contacted me, and again via email, and wanted some information. I had a vague recollection of it since, obviously, years had passed, and I was on to something else. But because of the [Mail Manager] system, I was able to go in, do a search with very little information and, within minutes, I was able to find not only the email and attachments but also the project folder. I was able to look at the rest of the information that I had provided so that I was able to respond with a more full-bodied answer to her query.”

One-third of AEC businesses lose critical project information with staff turnover

In our annual AEC Project Management research report, we found that less than half of respondents (44%) require employees to file all project-related emails into a central location, with 15% of respondents indicating that no emails are filed across the business. This opens firms up to huge risks relating to information management. As well as this, one in three businesses do not require their staff to file their emails when people leave the business, so this information is lost.

Paul explained what he needed from an email management system that the standard Outlook couldn't provide.

“A single source of truth. I can go into Mail Manager about a project that's been going five years and see entire chains of conversations that I have nothing to do with, but I need to find out about, which is almost impossible otherwise. A normal part of setting up a project for us is putting in Mail Manager.”

You can learn more about how Paul Hill and Karla Murray used and benefited from Mail Manager in their organisations by watching our full webinar here.



If you'd like to see how you can automate processes and create a Single Source of Truth in your organisation, contact us today.


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