Your Best Bets to Digitally Transform Your Construction Company
November 24, 2020
Old habits are hard to break. It’s just human nature for people to instinctively hold on to what they believe is the “right” way to do things even when something better is within reach. In large part, this is why the drive for construction project management to “go digital” has been stalled for years. Not surprisingly, this reliance on the familiar has cost the industry in lost efficiencies, money and that most elusive of commodities, time.
If you find yourself facing the same business challenges year after year, it may be time for your construction company to change things up and start reaping the rewards of today’s best construction management technology.
What exactly is a digital transformation?
Basically, it’s improving the way work is done through the adoption of the right technology tools. To be clear, this isn’t about shoehorning IT into your company or squeezing your company into some predetermined technology solution. It’s about making today’s innovative tech tools work for you from an operations and profit standpoint. Your goal should be to position your business to better compete among other construction companies that have already incorporated these technologies into their businesses.
So, what are your best bets for making a smooth transition to digital construction?
Invite employees to be part of the solution
A tech transition is unlikely to be truly successful without employee buy-in. After all, you’re going have to rely on your team to be proficient in a tech solution before it can help streamline your overall business processes. So, it’s smart to get feedback from them before you begin your digital solution search. What are their questions, concerns, expectations and hopes for going digital? What on-site problems do they encounter that digital construction technology might help solve? Are there repetitive tasks that it can help automate so your team can concentrate on more important concerns? What processes might be more streamlined for them?
Remember, you want to solve actual pain points, not merely implement IT solutions. That’s why the answers to these questions are so important to narrowing down your best software options. Without employee input, you could wind up wasting precious time and effort exploring solutions to problems you don’t have while leaving those you do have unsolved.
Choose software specific to the construction industry
Generic, industry-neutral software programs are unable to process the amount and complexity of details inherent in sizable construction projects. It’s time to graduate to software that can handle your projects and all the tasks and data that go with them.
Construction-specific software provides a foundation upon which to make better-informed decisions by enabling you to do what traditional computer programs cannot, such as:
- Produce more precise cost estimates.
- Share current data in real time so everyone is operating from the latest information.
- Make automatic schedule updates for all teams.
- Push change notifications to relevant crews and employees.
- Raise alerts about critical issues to prevent delays and rework.
- Collect data throughout the project to use as benchmarks for future projects.
Migrate your data to the cloud
Another consideration to ease your transition is to choose cloud-based construction software. You deal with a lot of data in each project, especially if you typically take on larger capital projects. That’s why having one digital place through which to manage, upload, access and share all project-related documents is so important. This cloud-based source is also where you can communicate with each other, collaborate across teams, post approvals and upload change orders. In a nutshell, it streamlines tasks and provides visibility into the status of all facets of a project.
Want to increase the odds your crews use the technology out on the job site? Ensure that all information is accessible on mobile devices. Extending access via smartphones and tablets for those out in the field lets them see specs, change orders and more when and where they need it most. It also allows them to use the technology at work that they have become accustom to in their daily lives.
Consider advanced technologies for the job site
Once you’ve implemented your software and seen the direct positive impact on individual job roles and overall productivity, adding other technologies to your digital construction mix is a logical next step.
Adopting these technology tools, alone or in combination, can create noticeable improvements in promoting safety, reducing errors and streamlining time-consuming tasks. These tools include:
- Building information modeling (BIM) to link current data to a digital model of your project, creating more accurate pre-build plans that can be updated in real time throughout the build as information changes.
- Augmented reality to superimpose images over a real-world view of the project, especially useful during planning stages to show alignment with the client’s expectations, and gauge potential impact of changes or site conditions.
- Robotics to automate repetitive tasks, normally done manually, to maintain productivity and safety levels.
- Drones to survey expansive job sites, track work progress and detect site hazards.
Start now if you haven’t already
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations have shown that having a plan ready to launch when unexpected scenarios happen — and having the technology to help you manage through it — can go a long way toward keeping projects on track. And that can help stabilize often unpredictable fluctuations in scheduling and budgets.
You want to start your digital journey now because the longer your construction company waits, the more challenging it will be to play catch-up with your competitors. And nobody needs that.
Partner with a company that can help guide you through the process
Finding a company that specializes in construction software can make your digital transformation much smoother. Serving the construction industry for decades, InEight’s suite of field-tested software solutions can help you manage every detail of your build with greater confidence and project certainty.