Published: Thursday, 21 March 2013
Written by Super User
Recently a coworker handed me an article that was supplid by our insurance broker, The Graham Company. I found the article very interesting, spot on and well worth sharing.
When you think of engineering companies, pharmaceuticals, banks, accounting firms, hospitals and airlines, you can clearly recognize the importance of technology. However, with construction, many people think of bricks and mortar and not technology. In fact, many in the construction industry think that technology is at the bottom of the list in terms of required tools of the trade sumo wrestling suits for sale.
All constructions companies have an accounting system which requires a computer. Even the most archaic of construction companies have the ability to utilize Excel spreadsheets in their estimating process. Every contractor also uses email and the Internet; and many construction vehicles have GPS capabilities. This is all considered “technology”; however, it is not “state of the art” technology which is what will be required if a construction company wants to prosper in the future.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, you probably had Lotus 1, 2, 3 spreadsheets. In the 90’s, you discovered Microsoft. As we progressed into the 21st Century, you’ve seen and used 3-D software as Building Information Modeling (BIM). Today, the new wave of technology is “mobile” technology and it’s already being utilized by the best construction companies.
Mobile technology is not cell phones. It is mobile tablet devices for use in the field with apps that are taking construction management technology into the field and making you better, faster and cheaper. Mobile apps allow project managers to complete checklists (related to safety, project costs and scheduling) in the field. The use of these tools create significant efficiencies that results in more time being spent on insuring that the work is done correctly, on time and within budget as opposed to time being spent on entering data in a job site trailer.
Mobile technology in the field can also be a better means of communications and a more efficient way to problem solve. For example, once you identify a problem, you can tie it to project designs or schedules, attach pictures and other related documentation and then share the entire “big picture” of information with your project team and even the owner. In fact, many believe that, ultimately, owners are going to demand the use of these new tools.
Finally, you will find that attracting the best and brightest young people will require you to embrace “state of the art” technology. You people of today are using mobile devices in every aspect of their lives. In addition to remaining competitive and being qualified to work for certain owners, your future is dependent upon attracting the best young talent. Therefore, you don’t only need fair pay, good benefits and a career track, you need mobile technology.
If you have a company where your key employees responsible for project management are not carrying iPads, perhaps you should seek some advice on how you can “catch up” with the rest of the pack.