Construction Contractors Must Embrace Technology or Chase the Competition

A 2017 contractor survey found that among those for whom technology plays a role in their business, less than half had a clear strategy in place to integrate those advancements

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With innovations like telematics, robotics, automation and drones, along with data to improve design and project management, the construction industry would seem to be a perfect stage for propelling the technological revolution forward.

However, a 2017 survey conducted by KPMG found that while 72% of the engineering and construction executives surveyed stated technological innovation played a role in their company vision, less than half had a clear strategy in place to integrate those advancements. 

In addition to a lack of vision, only 5% of respondents considered themselves on the forefront of embracing these advancements with the majority of people indicating they were industry followers instead of leaders. 

Throughout the past few years, we’ve covered technology advancements in the industry and are always looking to show contractors how embracing this technology can help them improve their business and their bottom line. Still respondents of that same survey indicated the construction industry will need more than five years to fully embrace technology. Why the continual resistance to change? 

Just last month we covered variable depth paving and how embracing this technology saves both time and money. We even had the data to prove it, referencing a company that was going to incur liquidated damage costs of $240,000 for every day they went over on an airport project. Had they not used 3D, they would have missed the deadline by a minimum of 10 days, costing them over $2.4 million. Ouch.

With the technology, they were actually able to finish three days early and since they knew exactly the amount of material they were going to be placing, they used 1,000 tons less material than they intended and were able to put all those production and material costs right back in their pocket.

“The right construction technology can centralize information and communication, improve safety, and reduce the amount of time spent on non-value-added tasks,” says Chad Hollingsworth, cofounder and president of Triax Technologies. “It is something that (workers) can use to develop their skills, streamline daily tasks and ultimately become better at their jobs.” 

Millenial Mindset 

Along with helping to save you money and improve your business, embracing technology has been a proven way to attract the younger generation of workers to the industry. 

They have grown up with apps and solutions to solve just about any system problem that arises. As the industry evolves, it will have to embrace more innovation in order to entice and appeal to Millennials — and those even younger. 

The attitude and outlook that millennials have towards their life and job can also help entice them to work in the construction field. 

“Millennials want to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they're doing. This carries over to their professional lives,” Hollingsworth says. 

What can be more rewarding than turning piles of dirt into buildings, roads, bridges and other construction? 

Some of the emerging technologies that Millennials appear to be comfortable with that you might consider implementing on the jobsite include: 

·        Artificial Intelligence

·         Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

·         Smartphone Apps

·         Tablets

·         Wearables

We are always working to investigate ways contractors can leverage new technology to improve their business and are continually looking to work with contractors on new articles. As always, please contact me at [email protected] if you have had success implementing technology on the jobsite and are willing to share your story with other contractors. 

Don’t fall behind your competition. Embrace the change now or risk losing your next bid to a company that can guarantee job completion on time and on budget with their tried and true technology.