After a year marked by significant changes and hardship, contractors are preparing to come roaring back this year.
Last year was, in many ways, the ultimate unplanned test of the construction industry’s resilience and its ability to transform operations on the fly. Between adjusting to a remote workforce and project shutdowns, the industry had to adapt quickly and innovatively. This year, however, armed with new knowledge and ready to unleash newly streamlined processes, construction firms are hitting the ground running.
Procore recently surveyed more than 4,700 customers from around the globe, spanning GCs to specialty contractors to owners, both public and private. Their responses in the 2021 ROI Report How Tech Can Prepare You for What’s Next report revealed some interesting insights.
‘Communication’ is the Word of the Day
In a year where “social distancing” entered our workplace lexicon, communication was a standout theme in the survey. Not only was the word brought up more than 500 times by respondents, the overwhelming majority of field crews and office teams reported significant improvements in field-to-office communication, as well as in documenting and communicating site issues.
Many contractors said the Procore platform was a significant factor in keeping teams connected, despite new communication challenges created by the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 79% of them reported Procore helped improve communication for a remote workforce, a skill many contractors had to quickly sharpen in the pandemic’s wake.
“The advantages of Procore are many,” said a Procore Owner/Developer customer from Ontario, Canada. “The platform clarifies trends like change orders and safety tracking, allows simultaneous information-sharing, reduces data silos, and improves communication across all stakeholders.”
Contractors Are Doing More With Less
Contractors often have to contend with limited resources to ensure successful project delivery, but last year put that priority to the top of every company’s list. This meant scouring every process for opportunities to improve efficiency, which many respondents said Procore helped them find.
Between shorter punch lists with faster closeouts and more efficient decision-making on RFIs, submittals, and change orders, survey respondents reported saving an average of 13 hours per week using Procore’s Daily Log Tool. Taken together, this adds up to a whopping 11 days saved on a typical project using Procore.
“The entire change order process is easier to manage for both owners and subcontractors,” a Florida-based general contractor said. “Procore allows easy review of the status of issues and tracks every change until it is processed or voided.”
General contractors, owners, and specialty contractors all agreed: Procore helps them get more done, faster. GCs and specialty contractors reported a 30% and 24% increase in the construction volume each person on the job can manage, respectively, while owners reported a 24% increase in capital projects or assets each individual can manage.
Improving Contractor Profitability
With increasing demand and fluctuating materials costs, protecting razor-thin margins is a constant challenge for most contractors. Although construction has bounced back from the worst days of the pandemic crisis, McKinsey estimates the industry might not see pre-pandemic levels of economic activity until 2023. This means, for the foreseeable future, contractors will be looking for ways to trim waste and improve project profitability.
Technology is one of the best ways for contractors to protect their profit margins, and Procore is helping companies do just that. Of those surveyed, 71% said Procore helps them meet and exceed their profit goals on projects. The same percent of respondents agreed Procore helps reduce the amount of rework, while 84% said the platform provides better visibility into the overall health of their projects, making it easier to stay on time and budget.
“Procore allows us to streamline processes and improves timelines and profit margins as a result,” offered a general contractor customer based out of Dublin, Ireland.
Overcoming Construction Labor Shortage Challenges
Even before the pandemic crisis, contractors struggled with a skilled labor shortage, which has long presented challenges both in attraction and retention of talent.
Once again, Procore customers reported the platform helping ease the burden of this challenge. Of those surveyed, 16% said they’ve seen increased employee retention since using Procore, while 14% credit the platform with improved talent acquisition by using construction technology.
Getting new hires up to speed and working as quickly as possible is critical, and 18% of respondents said Procore has helped them more rapidly onboard and train new workers.
Many of the challenges to arise out of the pandemic are familiar ones for the C&E industry; what’s new is the intensity with which they’re felt and the resources to address them being in shorter supply than ever.
Technology has shown it can be an enabling force for contractors, allowing them to work faster, safer, and more efficiently. The Procore platform brings its entire suite of productivity and efficiency-boosting applications to bear on every project, and customers are seeing results even in these unprecedented times.