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November 08, 2019

Embracing Disruption in the Construction Workplace

technologyjpgTechnology disrupts every industry. This is typically a good thing, as it usually relates to an issue or challenge that industry was facing and in desperate need of fixing. An example might be how the automotive industry is now spending untold billions of dollars on developing electric cars and trucks, or how the long-term care field is investing in telehealth solutions to cut down on unnecessary hospitalizations.

The point is, the disruptive forces exist because the industry wasn’t getting its arms around the problem quickly enough, or developing realistic solutions – or sometimes, both.

Construction is no different. While there have historically been several areas ripe for process improvements, the industry at large has been one of the slowest to embrace new technology platforms. Experts point to struggles with productivity, safety, labor shortages, and collaboration as areas for improvement among construction companies, and that digitization could help develop solutions for making improvements in each category.

While disruption can cause some discomfort at first, new construction technology platforms will make it possible for contractors to create new opportunities for improvement that benefit workers on the jobsite and in the home office.

Industry Growth Demands Technology Investment

Even though the construction industry continues to grow at breakneck speeds, with current project pipelines thrusting the worker shortage into the spotlight, research still indicates that the lack of digitization is causing the industry to make only modest productivity gains. Technology investment could change this, especially with the recent wave of cloud-based construction collaboration tools that make real-time connectivity a breeze, whether a team member is in the jobsite trailer or in the home office hammering out a proposal.

Surveys of construction companies reveal that there’s no clear answer in terms of where organizations fall on the digital transformation scale. This lack of clarity reveals how companies either don’t fully understand the benefits of technology investments or are hesitant to make big changes without knowing if employees will embrace new platforms.

The good news is that data shows there are several types of construction software and technology platforms with high adoption rates among the top 20 percent of companies, according to the KPMG Future-Ready Index. These proven technologies can provide some reassurance to companies in the early stages of their digital transformation strategy that engagement will be high among employees if training and deployment are properly managed.

The Tech Tools with the Highest Adoption

Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is a proven platform that utilizes 3-D modeling software to help virtually “build” a facility before putting a shovel in the ground. By this point, its usefulness is well documented, so it’s not exactly a game-changer – but it’s a simple way for a technology novice to invest in a software platform that will yield immediate benefits and that employees will enjoy using. And, with 5D BIM around the corner, now is a great time to get immersed in the usefulness of 3D BIM.

Other technology platforms with high adoption rates include construction project management software, which helps harness the massive outflows of information that is generated by a typical construction project. These platforms help companies manage the entirety of the project, from developing initial estimates and responding to RFIs to documenting change orders and completing the final punch list. And today, more of these platforms are moving to the cloud, to enable real-time updating and sharing of project information.

Drones and mobile platforms are two other segments that have found favor with end-users. Drones are incredibly useful for investigating jobsites for potential hazards or weather-related issues without having to put human workers in danger, while mobile platforms have surged in popularity among field staff that can document and record conditions on the jobsite without having to return to the trailer or home office. Plus, mobile field tools can make service visits a breeze to keep track of upcoming work order requests and virtually cross-off the jobs that are finished.

Overall, even as the construction industry struggles to shed its image of being a slow-moving category, strong adoption of these technological innovations shows that companies still want to invest in tools that make their work easier and keep employees safer – and that’s a winning combination.

Overcoming Knowledge Gaps

Lack of knowledge or insights into new technologies are the biggest barriers of entry for construction companies. These can include hesitation around emerging tools like artificial intelligence and 3-D printing. Without knowing about the intricacies of new technology, or the confidence that employees will embrace them, technology leaders may stand on the sidelines despite evidence that early adopters have seen great benefit from these tools.

That’s why a trusted construction technology partner is so valuable when considering new and emerging platforms, or simply making the first step in investing in a tried-and-true resource like construction project management software. With a technology vendor’s support, companies can overcome those knowledge gaps, and even provide training for employees to help build confidence among the entire workforce that these technology investments will pay major dividends.

To find out what construction software makes the most sense for your business, get in touch with us for a free consultation or product demonstration. With mobile field software and cloud-based collaboration tools growing in popularity, now is the time to set up your teams for future success with the perfect mix of productivity tools and cutting-edge applications.

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