There’s no denying that technology is transforming the construction industry. Construction technology is making job sites safer, more productive and efficient. It is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have for sustained success.
“The importance of technology is becoming so ingrained in this industry that you have to have the resources to implement, you have to have the resources to train, you have to have the resources to find the new technology out there,” said Dana Erdman, Director of Technology and Innovation at Bulley & Andrews, while speaking at Procore’s Groundbreak 2022 conference.
Without these “must haves” or a means to pull them together, a company risks falling behind. It is critical for contractors to continuously discover what it takes to embrace new technology, ensure that such changes are adopted in the field, and learn to mine data and use that information to keep the company on the right track.
The first step toward gaining or maintaining one’s competitive edge is to identify systems and processes in your organization that need renovation. Darren Fulford, Vice President of Sterling Construction and a co-presenter at Groundbreak, gave an example of how his company implemented new construction tech like Procore without losing the integrity of how Sterling Construction does business.
“The first step for us was we looked at our policies and procedures and then compared that to the tools that Procore has,” said Fulford.
Adopting new technology begins with small changes
While new technologies are constantly appearing in construction, field workers are slow to accept changes. To counter this, Fulford suggested a tiered approach of small changes that everyone is comfortable with, dealing with one change before focusing on the next.
“We started with the field. We went out there and saw what we could do for them to be able to train them on the daily logs, drawings, and things like that,” Fulford said. “We had to make sure that we could go out there to our people in the field and ensure that we were making their lives a little bit easier and more efficient.”
When employees understand that new technology is just as much for their benefit as the company’s and any training clears uncertainty surrounding using new tech, then those in the field are more likely to welcome these changes.
Data is an opportunity to get ahead of the competition
The ability to leverage data is another opportunity for contractors to transform their business. It’s critical to pull together a system that can accumulate and display data holistically, enabling company management to make more informed and nuanced decisions.
One reason more contractors are choosing Procore is the platform’s ability to integrate data sources into a single source of truth and project knowledge. To illustrate this point, Erdman described how her team benefits from Procore’s ability to gather data from multiple sources and a wealth of project knowledge.
“Even if we have a disparate system, we are finding ways to connect it back to Procore because that is like our single source of truth,” Erdman said. “We can have a million different point solutions. It doesn’t matter as long as it connects back to Procore because the data we’re able to get out of that is priceless.”
Seeing the whole picture will reveal your wins and areas where you can improve. Centralized data can throw the spotlight on flaws or consistent issues in certain areas (like lackluster staff performance and inspection failures in specific sectors). Far from being a negative outcome, identifying where sticky issues tend to arise can open the door for focused training and innovation.
Capturing data doesn’t have to be a headache, either. When new technologies are introduced and integrated with construction software, teams can easily input data which will flow seamlessly between the field and the office, keeping everyone on the same page. More data means more clarity and valuable insights in an environment where sudden changes are a daily occurrence.