Let’s face it. There’s no other industry like construction. Every project is different. Every project location is different. Every project deploys a different set of contractors with different sets of resources. Every project has a different design. Every project showcases some different materials. Every project is subject to different climate or geological conditions. This list could go on, and on, and on. One by-product of all of these differences is that productivity in construction has remained chronically low and accepted as “just the way it is.” But is that just the way it has to be?
If the struggle of chronic low productivity is not challenging enough, this productivity trap is now laced with talent shortages and ineffective, fragmented, technology adoption, further entrenching the productivity problem.
Yet, other industries have solved for complex differences. Let’s look at manufacturing, for example. Even though each product manufactured in one plant might be entirely custom, the processes and technologies deployed do not change. Processes are normalized and optimized to accommodate differences yet still capture time spent and materials used uniquely for each as consumption occurs.
The technology embodied in enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) also has evolved to accommodate differences. This allows for planned, efficient resource deployments, the timely acquisition and consumption of materials, and the systematic ability to communicate progress across an organization and out to a customer.
This same model can work in construction, but changes must be made. Organizations must intentionally embark on a journey to get out of the status quo trap and put pressure on change. They must re-engineer processes to be standardized, yet flexible. They must strategically and effectively deploy technology within those processes.
When intentional change, re-engineered processes, and effective technology are rolled up together, productivity will improve significantly with the added bonus that talent shortages may disappear entirely. Just the way it could be.
For a more in-depth look at how to strategically deploy technology and overcome low productivity, download the executive brief “Rise Above the Chaos: Lay a Solid Technology Foundation in Your AEC Firm.”