[Article was originally posted on www.constructconnect.com]
By: Holly Welles
The construction industry has a history of sticking to tried-and-true traditions, but the shiny newness of the digital age is making its way in. Many construction managers might be receptive to implementing new tech, but need strategies on how to secure companywide buy-in. Investigating options and benefits allows every worker to reap the benefits of a streamlined workplace.
There are countless benefits to implementation. New equipment and software can make tedious jobs effortless. Improved time management frees up resources for major projects instead of small tasks. More revenue allows companies to upgrade the rest of their equipment and make further monetary gains.
New tech enhances a business on several levels. The biggest step forward? Convincing colleagues of the benefits.
Identify the Problem Areas
It's essential to identify areas of improvement before implementing any new technology. It can be tempting to jump on the hottest new tech trends, but not every software or system will fit every company. Integrating tech in places where it's most necessary saves money on purchasing unnecessary devices. A company that doesn't know its strengths and weaknesses has a harder time facilitating change.
The pain points are different for each construction business. One might struggle with tracking their finances and client contracts, while another might have worn-out equipment. Take some time to discuss pain points with your team and use this information as a starting point.
Construction managers should have a picture of what benefits the company can gain before making improvements or suggestions. There should be tangible, measurable advantages to ease the buy-in process and get executives on board. If you can identify the biggest opportunities for change, you’re well on your way to securing their approval.
Research the Options
Construction tech is steadily on the rise, which means there are increasing options for software, hardware, and tools. How can your company even begin to sort through an ever-growing technology market?
Choosing the right technology means managers will need to investigate both internal operations and outside competitors. What do competing companies use, and how do these solutions work for them? Are there reasons an organization should or shouldn't adopt similar techniques? Some tech trends are industry fads that rise fast and fade faster, but others are truly making a lasting impact on project efficiency.
Construction professionals must also study the tech itself. Does it have the necessary specs to solve on-the-job challenges? Is it cost-effective, and are there better options available? Jumping on the first solution is a rookie error, but many companies do it and then have to recalibrate.
Show your organization that you’re willing to research your options. Ask to form a committee to help determine which technologies will fit well with your construction niche, pain points, and budget. Buy-in will be easier to secure if leadership feels assured that this investment isn’t going to be a short-sighted mistake.
Communicate the Benefits
Teammates and higher-ups alike should be aware of all the long-term benefits new devices will offer. Business is all about time and money. Managers will benefit from building a compelling case that lists key performance indicators and timelines. Executives will be more likely to accept these initiatives if they receive proof and transparency throughout the process.
Then, make sure each supervisor or manager is ready to help implement your company’s new tech across the team. They'll supply the necessary resources to get it off the ground and keep everyone accountable. Each teammate will have their role in making the implementation possible. Knowing that the boss is keeping tabs encourages them to stay on task and regularly contribute.
Communication across the ground level is crucial, too. Keeping colleagues in the loop gives them an element of control. Some employees resist the idea of a company restructuring that forces them to use different tools. When they receive adequate information, however, they become forthcoming with feedback and adjust better to the developments.
Track the Data
After integrating the tech, regular data analysis is crucial. This information determines whether a solution stays or goes. If the data isn't matching the predicted KPIs, businesses can develop new ones or change strategies to meet the current ones.
Records from past construction projects play a significant role. A new tool's effectiveness lies in both its specs and its performance in comparison to older equipment. If the current tech doesn't reach or surpass former efficiency levels, adjustments — or even replacements — are necessary.
Let’s say you need to determine whether telematics data is worth the investment. Make sure you have the structure in place to evaluate the efficiency of your equipment and compare this data to your project outcomes in the last year or last quarter. Can you demonstrate a decrease in time per task, or does it appear there is another obstacle your team needs to tackle?
Another good example of data evaluation concerns worker productivity. Wearable ARs like the Microsoft HoloLens let employees hold teleconferences and study blueprints through specialized glasses. These high-tech glasses are super convenient, but only if the team has the training to use them effectively. A reevaluation is necessary if company analytics reveals little change in productivity outcomes.
Constructing Better Workplaces With Improved Tech
Construction professionals can create more productive teams by educating colleagues on the benefits of improved tech. You should start by identifying your company’s biggest opportunities for change and research the technologies that can create meaningful solutions.
Then, it’s a matter of tracking outcomes and relaying them to your team. Once the integration proves its success, the tech can spread throughout the company and upgrade operations on a widespread scale.