industry outlook 2019

If only there was a crystal ball to gaze upon to get the outlook for 2019 … but there isn’t. What we have are indicators in the construction market to gauge a probable outcome such as labor market, unemployment rate, materials cost, interest rates, global economic climate, and others. To get an insight into what can be expected in 2019, below are two takes on the matter: 

From Mika Majapuro, Senior Director, Product Management, of Teletrac Navman

The construction industry is booming. Spending for August 2018 increased by 6.5% since August 2017—but despite continued investment in and demand for construction work, the industry is still crippled by a growing labor shortage. Our survey found that 42% of construction companies are currently experiencing a labor shortage and 35% cited retaining and developing talent as their top business challenge—up 13% since 2017. While increased pay, enhanced benefits packages, and flexible work engagements are becoming top recruiting initiatives, companies will increasingly turn to technology and digitization to offset rising payroll costs by improving worker productivity. In fact, 85% of companies are using telematics and GPS tracking and 21% are applying big data/analytics to business operations to streamline efficiency and productivity. Still, tech adoption is lagging compared to other industries.  

A large majority of construction firms are using telematics, which is why it is so unfortunate that many of these firms only take advantage of a fraction of its functionality. According to Teletrac Navman’s survey, 75% of companies use telematics software to monitor equipment and vehicles, but far fewer use it to monitor maintenance metrics (39%), idling (39%), and fuel usage (32%)—all of which impact costs. Additionally, nearly half (48%) reported that they were not considering implementing any new emerging tech this year. 

The reality is that while not adopting tech solutions will slow down operations today, in the future it will significantly impact a company’s ability to bid for projects, retain top talent, and remain competitive. As we’ve seen, it’s no longer a matter of “if” a company decides to implement varying degrees of technology … it’s a matter of “when.”

From Bob Tuttle, President and CEO of Agile Frameworks 

The influence of advanced technologies in the construction and engineering industry is quickly reaching an inflection point as more intriguing technologies come online nearly every day. Their breadth and capabilities are overwhelming, with deployments creating a mandate to connect and share accurate, real-time data across a broader project ecosystem.  For construction firms, managing all this technology and data, and navigating this new landscape can be a challenge with a plethora of information, in different forms, to sort and analyze in order to find actionable intelligence. Put simply, data is “the new oil” that is coming into focus and will need to be structured, stored, integrated, shared, and actionable.

In 2019, we will continue to see to see firms implement more digitized data collection strategies and techniques in an effort to save time and reduce overall project costs. These include sensors in testing and inspection and remote monitoring enabling data to insights to action and auditable workflows. With aging infrastructure, more bridges will become outfitted with sensors that monitor structural integrity, vibration, and weight.

As a result, the importance of operating within a well-crafted digital strategy is critical. If the data a construction firm produces, collects, and analyzes is its unique identifier, the firm will need to manage its data flow and put it to use to create new revenue streams. To succeed, it requires executives to rise above the chaos and lay an operational technology foundation that connects and shares accurate, real-time data from sensors and field activities within organizations and across the construction project ecosystem. The most valuable organizations are arguably those that are truly data-defined, and will use data in new ways to drive innovation, client value, and operational predictability.

For more information:

For more insight into the Outlook for 2019, read “Harnessing the Power of IoT as Data in 2019” and read “The Future of Construction in America”.

Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2019
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