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Built by experienced professionals specialized in construction and technology, StructShare streamlines the workflow and enhances communication both between the job-site and the office, and with the suppliers of materials.
In a conversation with CIO Applications, the founders of StructShare, Arik Davidi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer and Or Lakritz, Co-Founder, Chief Product & Strategy Officer, share insights on the success of their company and becoming the go-to procurement solution provider for the construction industry.
What are the rampant challenges in the procurement business of construction materials?
Davidi: Our target audience is mainly specialty contractors. In the current business scenario, a majority of specialty contractors work offline via email and messaging apps as well as use spread sheets or legacy software to execute and manage the procurement of materials. The data is either scattered across various channels or stored on paper, which interrupts communication and results in errors and requires unnecessary manual work. With the manual processes, it becomes very difficult for them to gain insights into the current and future operation. All these factors add up to the inefficiency quotient in the procurement process, resulting in the loss of precious time and of course, money. Furthermore, subcontracting companies work with their suppliers based on trust and personal relations. This is the culture, a tradition and practice that stems from the need to manage risk. But, they invest efforts to preserve and nurture these connections. There is a limit to the resources that can be allocated to this and therefore eventually they end up working with a small closed group of suppliers that puts them at a limiting and low bargaining position.
Lakritz: On the supplier side, digitization is gaining momentum with large enterprises investing heavily in developing online stores and mobile applications to connect with the end-customers, improve buying experience, and enhance customer interaction. From our experience, suppliers understand the value of digitizing the process and the possibility of growth it can provide them, along with the great efficiency it offers to both sides.
However, a sizeable percentage of the small or medium-sized suppliers are unable to harvest the same advantages of technological evolution due to the current high cost of digitization. One of our goals is to enable all size suppliers to digitize in an easy and cost-effective way, providing them with an uninterrupted connection to the end buyer.
By developing a platform that is dedicated to construction procurement, we are adding great value to our customers and bringing efficiency to the construction materials market
Lakritz: StructShare is designed and engineered to serve as a digital platform dedicated for the procurement of construction materials. Designed as a user-friendly software, for the jobsite managers and the office, StructShare effectively simplifies workflows, manages RFQ's and orders, and provides constant visibility. StructShare adds value as a unifier of the various job sites, the procurement team, office administration, and the suppliers by simplifying communication and streamlining the whole process from planning to requisites, deliveries, and invoices.
The Foreman/jobsite manager can now directly connect with the procurement operations or directly to the supplier, reduce the cost of procurement, improve productivity, and boost the bottom line.
Davidi: In general, the modus operandi of StructShare is to provide frictionless communication, complete visibility, and control around the procurement process and finally, seamless access to all purchasing data. StructShare enables clients to go paperless as all the documents such as orders and invoices are routed through the platform, making communication easier. Our platform also provides the benefit of a progress tracker, which ongoingly indicates the material breakdown of the project.
StructShare comes pre-built with a structured network of suppliers that enables contractors to expand their supplier base and explore more possibilities. Contractors can seamlessly gain access to new suppliers on demand and no longer have to toggle between various platforms in order to explore and find new suppliers. Similarly, suppliers can use the platform to publicize various offers easily.
Lakritz: By digitizing the current workflow and work habits we are bringing efficiency to this traditional industry without changing our end-users workflows and day-to-day operations. What was very important for us was to make the software easily configurable, intuitive, and implementable for clients by removing unnecessary steps. For example, the procurement team can now eliminate the process of sending separate emails to suppliers to request for a quote, and do it just in one click. It is a simple platform offered as software-as -a-service.
Please share a case study to highlight the advantage of your solution.
Davidi: Most often, we come across clients who have a similar set of complaints. On a general note, contractors are often unable to compare what was planned, what has been ordered and what was actually received and paid for. Earlier there were no tools to track what a foreman on a job site ordered, hence we saw some using different forms and some just gave up. The procurement team had to wait until the end of the project to compare all the invoices with the orders and delivery sheets, which is a tedious process. On implementing StructShare’s solution, the contractors, foreman/jobsite managers, project managers and the procurement team can easily track the order request placed by other stakeholders and discern any anomalies in the procurement process.
Lakritz: Typically, companies don’t have access to the purchasing data. With StructShare, they are able to track everything during the project and they can leverage the data to take decisions regarding more purchasing or other projects.
What lies ahead for StructShare and in what direction do you see the company going?
Davidi: We have a defined customer base that we are working closely with to enhance the workflow segment of our product. In the quarter ahead, we expect to extend our customer base both in regard to supplier networks and specialty contractors. Our vision is to dramatically reduce the efforts of procurement and better decision making by utilizing automation and smart algorithms.
Lakritz: Since StructShare provides a unified platform to track all procurements and communicate seamlessly, we are witnessing a trend where our contractor clients are inviting their suppliers to join the platform and they, in turn, are recommending the platform to other contractors. The organized nature of the platform is self-promoting and caters to a client’s every day need in the procurement arena.
In conclusion, StructShare is the digital procurement platform that will steer the construction industry toward the next-gen of e-commerce and e-procurement technological paradigm.