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Process automation with the use of the latest digital technologies can organise and define construction work, saving time and money, according to RAGHAV BERIWALA.

Shyamsree Infrastructure Pvt Ltd was started in 2016 by the same team that has run Shyam Steel Industries Ltd successfully for over 65 years, with the aim to build infrastructure in India in a systematic, organised and qualitative manner.

The Rs 3,500-crore Shyam Steel Group has been synonymous with building the nation through hard work, quality and integrity, and a family approach to the infrastructure and construction industry in India. The leap into infrastructure and construction was taken as backward integration from the steel business.

Process automation with the use of the latest digital technologies can organise and define construction work, saving time and money, according to RAGHAV BERIWALA.Shyamsree Infrastructure Pvt Ltd was started in 2016 by the same team that has run Shyam Steel Industries Ltd successfully for over 65 years, with the aim to build infrastructure in India in a systematic, organised and qualitative manner.The Rs 3,500-crore Shyam Steel Group has been synonymous with building the nation through hard work, quality and integrity, and a family approach to the infrastructure and construction industry in India. The leap into infrastructure and construction was taken as backward integration from the steel business. Shyamsree Infrastructure started off very conservatively, with a focus on quality over quantity, and has successfully won a bridge and road contract from the West Bengal government, two road-over-bridge contracts from the Railways, and a handful of private industrial and commercial building projects.Shyam PrakriyaFrom the onset, the company leveraged its prowess in process automation and the use of technology to organise and define work. With knowledge gained from months of hard work in the construction business and inputs from other medium and large infrastructure companies, Shyamsree Infrastructure, along with its technology partner Shyam Future Tech, created Shyam Prakriya, a tech tool to automate construction activity.Some major issues faced by construction and infrastructure companies are theft of material, irregular attendance, doubtful and unaccounted site expenditure, irregular conveyance expenditure, diesel theft, poor plant and machinery management and incessant project delays owing to poor management and coordination between the site and head office. Moreover, reporting has been a constant headache for construction companies, with most data being sent from the site to the head office irregularly, and often marred by inconsistencies and manipulation.Shyam Prakriya can automate and organise daily activities, including tender management, site visit reports, automatic attendance, travel and conveyance tracking, site petty expenditure and material, manpower, plant and machinery and progress management through the use of various tools, including geotagging, GPS, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, AI and business intelligence, among others. Shyam Prakriya was built on the latest and future-proof Python and Angular platforms, and has been integrated with the Human Resource Management Software (HRMS) of the group to control and ease conduct of business in a fair and systematic manner.Tender management: Shyam Prakriya uses geotagging and intelligent tools to track upcoming tenders from various government agencies, and assists potential site visits with the use of GPS. Local rates of raw material and the general condition of the new site are recorded through the proprietary software to analyse and assist in proper costing for upcoming work. The same is then carried forward to assist in budget tracking and execution of work once a contract is awarded.Attendance: A major issue construction companies face is irregular and manipulated attendance records at site. With the use of GPS and the proprietary algorithm, Shyam Prakriya helps in automatic check-in and check-out at construction sites, making it easier for companies to track the movement of their workforce.Travel and conveyance: Shyam Prakriya is easily configurable with third-party software and aggregators such as Uber, Ola, Ridr and travel software for booking hotels, rides and tracking expenses.Petty expense: The software provides a simple user interface to record and track daily site expenses through both web portals and mobile apps. This helps in healthy rotation of money to construction sites and reduces manipulation in expenditure.Material management: Everything related to material and inventory, from material requisition and goods received note entry to material issue and return, is controlled through a combination of the web portal and mobile apps. Ideally, it can reduce the time needed for material purchase and help controlling theft at site. The focus remains on ensuring there is no stoppage in work owing to delay in material purchase.Plant and machinery management: With the use of IoT, all available machines at site are connected to the Internet, and usage/running, consumption and output data is available on a real-time basis. This helps in proper cost allocation for plant and machinery and helps reduce incidents of diesel theft.Progress management: Shyam Prakriya provides a platform for uploading construction designs and drawings to its servers, to facilitate graphical representation of total work and progress at site. Moreover, with the use of business intelligence and AI tools, the software identifies and points out areas of difficulty, reasons for delay in work and potential threats to execution of work (through predictive analysis).Tool for successWhen we entered the construction business, we had a trove of knowledge about the infrastructure industry. Though we were armed with experience and data from some of the biggest infra companies in India, we were finding it difficult to replicate the same success at our first bridge project. We found that inventory and plant and machinery management was a point of concern for us. Indent for materials required for execution of work was provided just a couple of days before the date of execution, which led to high cost of procurement. Stock taken physically at site never matched with stock available in the books. We also noticed during surprise inspections that half the workforce was absent from work while they were marked present. It was then that we decided on digitising construction work.We went slow with the development of Shyam Prakriya to ensure we did it the right way. After months of agonising data collection and trial and error, we finally got to a point where we could successfully verify the data collected on the app. In the process, we were able to see an 8 per cent saving in cost of procurement and a 13 per cent increase in productivity and efficiency at site. We hope to expand this further and provide these tools to small and medium infrastructure construction companies as our aim is to help the nation and bring down the time and cost involved in this capital-intensive industry.

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