Staying competitive as advancements make an impact
As technology advances, it impacts more and more industries, requiring businesses to adapt, update and embrace it in order to stay competitive. This is certainly true for the construction industry. If not for power tools, we’d still be cutting wood by hand and digging trenches with a pick ax. In fact, it’s almost impossible to imagine what today’s modern job sites would be like without updated technologies.
Even as these advances make construction sites more productive, efficient and safer, there are companies that are still slow to adopting new technology. Underinvesting in tech can put job sites and businesses turn leaders into followers.
Here’s a look at some reasons why resistors should rethink adopting new technologies and apply them to help leverage your company into the future.
It’s a well-known fact that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous careers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics reveal one out of every five worker deaths is construction-related. Construction work also results in many non-fatal injuries that reduce a struggling labor force further and cost companies millions of dollars per year.
Thus, it’s important to reduce risk wherever possible to improve conditions. Technological innovations help the industry become less dangerous. Implementing them show that companies care about employee safety as well as their bottom line.
For example, most people are aware of wearables such as fitness trackers and smartwatches. In the construction industry, more rugged wearables are designed specifically to withstand the demands and abuses of a job site. These include items such as enhanced safety vests, headbands and “smart boots” that monitor biometrics to show when workers become overheated, are tired or have fallen. Connecting with Wi-Fi and GPS provides physical location of employees.
“Smart helmets” with pull-down visors include features such as a front- and rear-facing cameras with depth perception, sensors, and real-time communication. Connectivity allows for quick access and the ability to record data.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular and when used efficiently, they can accomplish tasks that are too risky for workers to attempt. For example, unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with photography or video cameras can scout locations, survey areas and explore potential project zones. Imagery and software allow for 3D mapping and models. All these tasks can be accomplished in a fraction of the time it would take for industry professionals to do it via more traditional methods and without having to set foot in possibly treacherous landscape.
Better organization and collaboration
Project management software advancements keep teams on task and allow managers to track of budgets and schedules (often in real time) and provide update reports to clients.
The construction industry is one that must be acutely aware of targets and deadlines. A lapse in planning impacts productivity and efficiency. Backlogs result in budget increases. Implementing project management information systems (PMIS) helps keep everyone on track and improves readiness and productivity. It also ensures an adequate supply of materials for a continuous and smooth project pace that might otherwise be impacted by human error of scheduling orders or delivery.
It’s important for companies to integrate the PMIS so teams aren’t working in silos. Interacting with each other via the cloud allows for a more accurate account of project costs, progress, transparency and communication.
Assist with labor shortage
There are nearly a quarter of a million available construction jobs in the United States and approximately95% of those in the industry report some level of difficulty finding qualified workers. Technological innovation can help in filling the gaps.
Like drones, autonomous vehicles are gaining popularity on jobsites. They are often used for monitoring and surveillance at large construction projects.Autonomous excavators and dump trucks are also being tested.
While robots aren’t yet playing huge role on construction projects yet, they are coming. For example, Fastbrick Robotics is currently testing a bricklaying robot. While the robot may not offer the craftmanship that human bricklayers provide, it can help eliminate a lot of the stress and damage that occurs with repetitive work. It also can be faster than most humans. Such is the case with the Construction Robotics’ SAM 100 masonry robot that is also in testing phase; it can lay up to 350 bricks per hour in either a standard brick pattern or soldier courses.
Even though there are many holdouts when it comes to adopting new tech, in time customers are going to naturally gravitate to construction professionals who can offer more expedient and cost-effective options that typically come with the application of helpful new technological advancements.
To stay ahead of the pack, look to the potential benefits. The ROI should outweigh concerns about cost, training or simply being averse to change because like it or not the future is technology. How we adapt is on each of us.