The construction industry is no stranger to challenges. Labor shortages, volatile costs, and disruptions in the supply chain have become the new normal, making it increasingly difficult for contractors to deliver successful and profitable projects. However, amidst this tumultuous landscape, there is hope for consistent, efficient project delivery.
The digital age has already revolutionized pre-construction and most sectors of the overall economy, but the execution phase of construction has remained resistant to digital transformation and for good reason. The construction of our built environment faces challenges not present in other types of work, especially unique projects and poor or unexpected site conditions. Despite these hurdles, the potential to significantly accelerate the act of building with better digital tools holds the promise of productivity growth that has long evaded the industry, not to mention better project margins for contractors. The digital revolution can arm contractors with the means to identify and eliminate project waste, unlock productivity, accelerate project execution, and improve product outcomes for both owners and contractors alike.
Why is now the time for digital transformation in construction?
Reason #1: Disruption has become the new status quo in the industry. The days of low material prices, steady supply chains, and an ample workforce to activate are gone. The construction industry now faces challenging and often unpredictable dynamics that collectively demand more efficient project execution. The need to adapt in order to succeed in these conditions is urgent.
Reason #2: With the rise of mobile computing and sensor technology, job sites can now be truly connected. With every site worker carrying a smartphone and equipment being outfitted with wireless tracking sensors, the real-time visibility and connectivity between the field and back office is finally achievable. This arms decision makers with accurate, timely field data to keep projects on course. And from this data across various areas of construction operations new insights are emerging. The connectivity between different operational areas is a catalyst for understanding the operational analytics needed to keep projects well supported and on track.
These two trends – industry disruption and the rise of mobile and sensor technologies – have come together to form a crossroads in this new era marked by project risks and rewards that are higher than ever. Those who embrace technology to unlock new levels of efficiency and consistency in project execution will find themselves more competitive and more profitable. Here's how to be among them:
Create Visibility and Accountability
Field visibility and accountability has long been a challenge for contractors. However modern digital tools can provide real-time insights into every aspect of a construction project. From tracking materials and equipment to monitoring labor productivity, these tools offer unprecedented visibility and accountability, reducing the likelihood of costly errors.
Drastically Reduce Downtime and Project Waste
Through automation of mundane tasks and data insights into root causes of project downtime (and other project waste) digital solutions can identify bottlenecks and arm decision makers to drastically reduce site stoppages and project downtime. The result is accelerated project delivery, happier stakeholders, and better margins.
Mitigate Risk to a Degree Not Previously Possible
There is little question that digital technologies enable contractors to identify and mitigate risks more effectively. Within the safety and compliance realm, digital tools not only make storing paper records a thing of the past, they can also elevate safety issues to awareness before those issues lead to an incident. This greatly reduces contractors' safety-related risks, with tangible results such as fewer accidents, less workers compensation costs, fewer and smaller OSHA fines, and more competitiveness to win new projects. These are far above and beyond what paper-based safety programs can deliver.
It’s not surprising that the transformation of construction by digital technology began in the office where technology adoption was already high and the challenges of the job site were far removed. But powering smarter, faster project execution is the last frontier and holds enormous promise to create value and profits for those that adopt the right digital solutions. And the time to embrace digital transformation in project execution is now. The contractors that do so will find themselves more profitable in the years to come, while those who don’t will find it hard to compete in the digital age.
To learn how ToolWatch enables better project execution and outcomes,