Bits, Bytes, and Bricks: How to Invest Wisely in Technology
The construction industry has always been a labor-intensive sector, but as technology continues to evolve, firms need to embrace digitalization to keep pace. However, given the breadth of digital technologies available, companies need to be cautious before investing in new platforms or solutions. The challenge is to identify those technologies that are crucial to one’s business and that will help improve productivity, safety, and efficiency.
Firms such as Balfour Beatty, Kier, and McLaren have recognized the importance of investing in digital solutions to address project management efficiencies, health, and safety on-site, and improving administrative processes. Among these solutions are Activity Information Management System (AIMS), Procore, and Complete Competence.
AIMS is Balfour Beatty’s own project management tool that automates the collection of data and displays trends in real-time. It allows section engineers and construction managers to track the progress of activities and provide support as needed. AIMS has saved Balfour Beatty significant time, allowing them to complete projects months earlier than anticipated.
Procore, on the other end, is Kier’s software solution for managing multiple projects. Managers can handle project details, schedule tasks, and view progress while connecting everyone working on a job. This has resulted in increased productivity and improved communication among team members.
McLaren’s focus has been on improving its learning and development side, which has been partly driven by the Building Safety Act 2022. The company has partnered with Complete Competence to provide essential competence data for McLaren’s workforce, ensuring that the right level of competence is in place before people are assigned to projects.
These companies’ investment in technology is not just restricted to project management tools but extends to modern robotics with Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog, Spot, being used by Balfour Beatty to inspect sites and capture data. These investments in robotics have delivered tangible results, not only improving safety but also avoiding the need to put people in the harm’s way.
So, how can firms ensure they invest wisely in technology? Firstly, they need to identify their specific pain points and find technology solutions to mitigate them. Secondly, companies should ensure that the technology solutions they are considering have integrations that allow them to coexist with other systems. Lastly, firms should be strategic in their approach to digitalization and plan their adoption of new technologies well in advance.
– The use of drones for inspection by construction firms can save up to 30% in costs, according to the World Economic Forum.
– McKinsey estimates that the use of AI in construction could improve productivity by up to 50%.
Investing in technology is crucial for construction firms to remain competitive, but it is essential to identify business needs and pain points correctly. Companies should be strategic in their approach to digitalization, integrate new technologies with existing systems, and plan ahead for the adoption of new technologies.
The construction industry is experiencing a shift towards adopting new digital technologies to increase productivity, improve efficiency, and enhance safety in the workplace. While it is essential to identify the need for technology solutions, firms must also be deliberate in their investing in these technologies. The use of project management tools, robotics, and drones by Balfour Beatty, Kier, and McLaren are prime examples of how the industry can achieve efficiencies while reducing risk associated with manual labor. Companies that are proactive in embracing these changes will be at the forefront of industry innovation.