The digital revolution isn’t confined to high-end tech startups and enterprise level businesses. Technological trends are having a dramatic effect on practically every sector of the business world, and the construction industry is no different. While many construction companies are still using analog methods to plan, communicate and organize their records, a majority see change on the horizon. A survey of construction professionals conducted in 2017 by KPMG indicated that 95% predict technology will dramatically affect their business model, and almost three quarters believe that change will come within the next five years.
While it’s hard to predict precisely how technology will change an industry, that doesn’t mean that we’re entirely in the dark. Some systems are already being implemented by other sectors, and some are particularly well suited for the needs of construction contractors. Communications have often been a challenge for construction companies. Making sure that supplies arrive at work-sites and everything is going to schedule requires a lot of coordination. Many construction crews are already using tablets to ensure that they have access to up-to-date blueprints and relying on messaging apps to facilitate communications on the job, but we can expect this sort of technology to become further integrated into the industry in coming years. Project management software will make sure everyone’s on the same page with fewer delays or confusion in the process.
This higher level of control can be extended to finances as well. Traditional paper records can make managing the budget on a macro level a real chore, and that’s especially the case when you’re juggling multiple projects at a time. Specialized credit card programs allow expense reports to be digitized even when workers are operating out of state, and that ensures that everyone is on the same page and budgets don’t balloon out of control. The same tools that facilitate communications can also be used as a time cutting measure. Time construction crews sitting around waiting for project updates is money lost, but cloud platforms allow the office to make changes to their plans in real time and provide crews to track punch lists in the construction zone.
Change won’t happen overnight, but keeping aware of the technology on the horizon will help construction companies stay competitive moving forward. It’s imperative not just to prepare for the expense of building digital infrastructure into the construction business model but also to make sure that there is staff trained in its usage.