What is the impact of construction technology?
Technology is changing the construction industry much faster than some engineering and construction firms can adapt. And even though many firms acknowledge the need to adapt and to adopt construction technology many still resist committing time or money to investing in it. Others invest sporadically hoping to see results by using technology for technology’s sake.
The 2016 Engineering and Construction Trends report from PWC emphasizes the importance of adopting technology. According to the report, engineering and construction firms must “Embrace engineering and construction technologies and specialization that lead the market, outpacing competitors.”
Usually, firms that are able to adapt and embrace technological change are the ones that ultimately survive the competitive business climate. These early adopters understand the benefits of embracing new construction technology advancements as they look to gain an edge on their competition.
These benefits include:
- Help people and critical operations to stay connected
- Increase speed of decision-making process
- Automate functions to make day-to-day tasks more efficient
Connecting People and Operations
The construction industry has often been labeled as “siloed,” where each participant in a project manages their own part of the project while keeping their information largely to themselves. The need to communicate and align frequently is paramount because seemingly minor modifications could significantly increase timelines or costs if made too late in the game.
Construction technology allows project team members to communicate with each stakeholder to share information in a timely manner and in an automated fashion. Technology allows for centralized information that can be easily tracked, accessed and shared across all project team members as well as clients.
Faster Decision Making
Construction technology using mobile communications has increased decision-making speed and is driving down the costs of projects because information is more timely and accurate. Real-time results can be available to an entire project team from any mobile device. You can end frustrating miscommunications, inaccuracies, and costly rework which allows for faster decision making and a way to drive up margins.
Streamlined workflows allow for consistent successful data gathering and reporting, which enables project managers to deliver clear directives, preventing costly delays and rework resulting from communication breakdowns. Field and/or lab data review, analysis and recommendations can be accelerated because engineers have access to a comprehensive set of data.
Automation for Efficiency
Construction technology can provide end-to-end automation of construction engineering and inspection processes. This includes generating work orders and dispatching the job all the way through to reporting, which all along provides higher accuracy and minimizes costly discrepancies. Technology adoption makes for a less fragmented and more streamlined operation with standardized processes across offices and locations. Some of the biggest benefits are gained with identifying and correcting areas of margin loss across operations.
You can eliminate the need for inefficient paper-based processes and for re-keying of information. With the right technology solution you can enter data one time, in the field, and collect all of the information you need to get accurate results fast.
With electronic data collection, your team avoids delays and errors that can result in costly rework. Inspectors or technicians can receive a checklist of work item tasks, including instructions, and are able to quickly produce daily reports for each site visited. Some construction technology solutions allow you to manage tests and inspections in the field or lab with a single tool.
Construction Technology is a Needed Differentiator
Current construction technology solutions can provide multi-faceted, timely information to all resources throughout a project. This fosters a “right first time” result that not only will enable efficiencies, but set the stage to differentiate one firm from another in a marketplace where competitive pressure is increasing.
Engineering and construction firms would do well to embrace technology and not with a fingers-crossed, hope-for-immediate-ROI approach, but with forward thinking and plenty of strategizing. Doing so will not only provide the best end product on current projects, but also will ease the transition into a more connected and automated future.
Those firms that successfully blend change management with process re-engineering and new technology deployments will strengthen their position in the marketplace and gain a competitive position for the indefinite future.
How We Can Help You
Agile Frameworks offers a construction technology solution, MetaField. This platform is a subscription, cloud-based solution that is accessible on any computer or mobile device. MetaField also is the only industry solution that fully integrates corporate, field, and lab information management activities in one platform across multiple engineering and construction disciplines like construction materials testing, non-destructive testing, and many others.
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about how MetaField’s capabilities can help your firm leverage the benefits of construction technology, please check out our Solutions overview along with many resources that may help in your journey to adopt construction technology.