Technology Can Drive Business Growth in 2021

Companies in the construction industry that are slow to adopt technology will fall behind their competition

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Adobe Stock/gustavofrazao

That's the way we've always done it. 

Those are the seven most expensive words in the construction industry and we hear it all the time. That's the way we've always done it. 

However, just because something has worked for you and your construction business in the past, doesn't mean there haven't been new ways created to help your company accomplish those same tasks more efficiently. And efficiency lends itself to profitability. 

Unfortunately, the construction industry has been slow to adopt technology and that has left us behind. Behind on adoption. Behind on growth. Now, this lack of technology has left us behind on hiring the next generation of workers as well. 

A survey by Microsoft and SurveyMonkey found that 93% of millennials say up-to-date technology is a top priority in the workplace.

This new perspective and tech-savviness are much needed as construction is struggling. While it is one of the oldest and most essential industries, it lost millions of skilled workers after the 2000s recession, and each year the workforce ages and loses more. The recruitment pool needs to expand to fill this gap. As the skilled trades gap is top of mind and the industry emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, it is important to continue encouraging this younger, more diverse workforce because they are essential to the industry’s survival and our financial ecosystem.

Where to Start?

Each month in Asphalt Contractor magazine, we try to feature at least one article that covers emerging technologies for the industry. In this issue, there are several articles and products that are related to technology implementation. These resources have helped asphalt producers and paving contractors move their business forward just through small investments in time and training. 

Of course there is a financial component to upgrading your business with some of these changes, but consider these investments in the future success of your company. The cost of staying the same and having your competition grow up and around you will be much higher in the future. 

With change knocking at the door of the asphalt industry, contractors need to be ready and if we adapt fast enough, we will be positioned well against other road building materials.

“We must be the disruptors for our pavement structures and our work zones to generate data that can be used for project intelligence & predictive maintenance – a service we can help provide to our customers, the road owners, road users and mobility companies – who will demand it,” Audrey Copeland, president and CEO of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) says.

Copeland says asphalt contractors should use innovative solutions such as drones, telematics and bots to collect vast amounts of data about our roadways today and use that data to better our industry.

“With software advancement and Artificial Intelligence, this data can be used for insightful and actionable information for stakeholders,” she says. “We can harness data for marketing of the asphalt industry and to show customer preferences. We can turn that data in to project intelligence for the future.”

The transformation of the transportation industry will depend on contractors like you who are willing to move roadway technology forward. Smart cities and highways can’t exist without a workforce willing to build them. Be an early adopter and reap the benefits of your forward thinking.