It’s common knowledge that technology is digitizing just about every industry out there. And construction, of course, is no exception. As you surely know, the construction industry—long defined by pain points like disconnections between off-site management on on-site teams, always-changing goalposts, and tons of uncontrollable variables—has been quick to adopt technologies that make every aspect of the business simpler.
In this article, we’ll help you see past the basics of the digital transformation in the construction industry and get to the bottom of what these technological advancements mean for you and your team. We’ll also offer up some tips and tricks that can help your construction company get more out of the technology that’s already at your fingertips.
Behind the construction industry’s digital transformation
The construction industry’s digital transformation has been marked by an increase in technology, resources, solutions, and systems that make just about every aspect of construction more efficient, transparent, and safe. Whether that’s via improved communication, less travel, fewer misplaced tools, or a speedier construction invoice processing system, this digital transformation has transformed everyday processes that save businesses time, stress, and money.
But why is this digital transformation so significant for construction companies? The context matters. Due to inflation, a congested supply chain, and increased demand, prices for construction supplies have never been higher. And a significant labor shortage is both ballooning construction costs and pushing out project completion dates.
While technology can’t lower the cost of engineered hardwood or solve a labor shortage, it can help you optimize other “sticky points” of the construction process, saving you resources you can allocate toward other, harder-to-solve problems. By using technology as a tool that helps you change the aspects of your business you can control, you’ll find it easier to attack the challenges that technology alone cannot combat.
The first frontier of construction digitization
There’s plenty of digitization that’s occurred in offices across every industry over the past couple of decades. But, as you already know, there is now technology that goes well beyond speeding up tedious administrative tasks.
There are construction apps that can help you manage your marketing efforts, record communications with employees, customers, and vendors, keep an eye on operations, visualize progress at a faraway job site, and manage every aspect of tough jobs, from hiring to permitting to inspections.
Digital solutions can also solve your company’s “people” problems. After all, it’s hard to build a company culture and manage a team when many of your employees never meet, let alone mingle. Even though you might have teams all over the country, the right digital solutions can help you onboard, support, and mentor employees who’ll never step foot in your corporate office.
This technology can also help you keep better tabs on everything from time cards to accident reports—all documents you’ll want to have available to you with the click of a button.
There are also software solutions designed to help your team stay organized across the board. Everything from accounting processes to inventory management can be optimized with the right technology—and often, for less money than you’d think.
Preparing for the next wave of construction digitization
Technology has already made construction safer, smoother, and more streamlined. But what will the next wave of digitization mean for your business? Advancements in just about every avenue of the industry will change how work is planned, executed, and completed. Sure, technology has already made it easier to run payroll, to roll out trainings, to share documents and blueprints and safety requirements with teams.
But there’s a whole slew of groundbreaking, game-changing technologies set to reshape the construction industry once again. And everything from borrowing cash to walking customers through potential projects will change.
From resource planning to risk management to 3-D modeling and productivity management to drones and robots performing tough tasks that were once cumbersome and expensive, there’s no shortage of ways technology will transform how your construction company conducts business. For example, your company may use artificial intelligence to identify risks and hazards or may use 3-D printing to help customers understand exactly what you intend to build.
As the construction company grows increasingly more data-driven, your business will need to adapt—to start keeping tight records and choosing technology wisely. But remember, even if the world around you is becoming more and more digital, you don’t need to integrate every last advancement into your everyday processes. Pick only the ones that truly serve your team, your customers, and your bottom line.
Our best piece of advice? Get organized. None of these high-tech tools—predictive performance assessors, machine-learning-informed risk management technology—will be of much use if your construction company isn’t on solid footing, organized, and ready to scale
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