As the labor shortage continues to impact the construction industry, management of mega projects and meeting critical deadlines are becoming worrisome challenges for many companies. Recent infrastructure legislation has created a situation where projects are lined up, but there’s a gulf of talent to keep up with the jobs. In order to outpace competitors, construction businesses need to turn to new technologies to close skills gaps and manage these new projects.
The issue, however, is in the fact that the construction industry has been historically slow to adopt new technologies, relying on legacy solutions and, in many cases, spreadsheets or manual forms. This creates a situation in which data and systems crucial to tracking the status of projects are both hard to reach and concurrently shared with teams that typically are split between the jobsite and the office.
Many organizations have taken steps to adopt some form of technology to help innovate through these challenges, but lack the talent needed to properly implement it. What’s needed is access to agile digital solutions that don’t require extensive IT backgrounds and traditional technical training to deploy. No-code technology offers this ability, enabling those closest to the problems the chance to develop the solution to it. "No code" software uses drag and drop features, so anyone can use and customize it, regardless of programming experience, or lack thereof.
Here, we’ll take a look at some ways this technology can increase collaboration across teams and act as a supplementary tool to smaller IT teams and employees in both the field and the office.
Management of mega construction projects is difficult–there’s a variety of players and pieces to keep tabs on, and it can be difficult to have a single view of all the moving parts. No two projects are the same, which makes it hard, even for project managers, to ensure each team member and the many moving pieces fit into one cohesive puzzle.
Software as a Solution (SaaS) solutions are common in construction, but they can’t offer the same flexibility that agile fixes like no-code do, and are typically introduced to solve just one specific issue. These solutions can help manage projects, but usually they only perform one element of them well. These solutions are limited in scope and make it difficult to streamline all the connected processes. An example is software originally built for accounting that then attempts to include project management as an add-on.
Easy-to-use construction management software is therefore crucial for managers to instantly share information on deadline, track the budget, and stay on top of requests for information, change logs, punch lists and more. The collaborative and centralized nature of no-code enables project managers to create exactly the workflows they need for their complex projects, streamlining manual tasks like calling and mailing contractors, reviewing project timelines and coordinating employee workload.
Addressing Labor Issues
Labor gaps in all industries have hindered the ability of many organizations to effectively handle their digital transformations–the construction industry is no different. The resistance to adopt innovation can be directly solved through agile technology, by opening up development and creation of systems to non-IT folks. This enables anyone in the business to help push the needle forward on digital transformation efforts.
This reskilling of employees to become problem-solvers bridges the gap between IT teams and field workers, helping to foster a culture of innovation. This creates a situation where employees, regardless of background, are empowered through technology daily, helping reduce the resistance towards adopting new technologies.
Making sure teams both on-site and in the office are not only communicating, but doing so in a way that conveys the status of projects in a clear way, is one of the biggest challenges within the construction industry today. Managing projects as they scale is difficult, but ineffective communication makes it even more difficult, especially when trying to manage multiple subcontractors and vendors.
As these technologies enable anyone in the organization the ability to come up with solutions to the problems they’re facing, it can be leveraged to create a one-stop shop for communication on job status. This centralization enables anyone with their device to effectively check in on the status of other teams, regardless of which site they’re on. This helps clients, consultants, contractors and project managers all stay on the same page.
Safety and Incident Tracking
Besides staying on top of essential deadlines and project status, construction managers are also tasked with mitigating risk and helping their employees stay safe. Typically, incident management has been handled on spreadsheets, which can amalgamate data well, but are still largely manual and offer no insights into the data itself.
Designed to help construction managers better mitigate construction site risks, no-code tools enable users to easily collect data from safety tasks such as on-site walkthroughs and production reports. From there, managers can create solutions that not only read the data, but leverage automation to generate insights on it, inform next steps and disperse that data across teams. The more often the right leading indicators can be clearly communicated, the safer the jobsite becomes.
Additionally, agile solutions can help managers keep track of new and updated guidelines from regulatory bodies like OSHA. Tracking requirements, ensuring facilities are up to code, and ensuring that everyone is trained to the same standards can all be placed on a central application, putting employee–and manager–minds at ease.
Centralized Data, Decentralized Efforts
One of no-code’s major strengths is that crucial data becomes centralized. Regardless of where a contractor, manager or executive is, all of the necessary employees have access to the right information at the right time. Data is not in Excel on jobsite silos that are hard to find or share. On the flipside, the effort to create those apps (and therefore crucial data) is decentralized. No-code enables construction teams to merge schedules, share contacts of the various subs involved, manage change orders and store cost analysis.
Self-service is crucial for teams that work in a historically disparate industry, and agile technology offers a chance for everyone on the job to act as their own project manager.
Project management is difficult, especially on large projects, but it’s so important for those in the construction space to get right. Without complete insight into the status of a job, businesses risk falling behind, missing deadlines and losing out on future bids.
The operational agility offered through no-code technologies gives construction companies a shot to create a wave of application builders amidst an IT labor shortage, and a chance to stay one step ahead of the competition–especially as projects continue to come rolling in.