As companies continue to utilize drones, automated vehicles, 3D printing, and other new technologies on jobsites, business leaders need to take note: The future of the construction industry centers on the integration of technology. Those holding firm to old habits risk losing jobs and being left behind while competitors grow their project portfolios and attract the next generation of talent. Fortunately, tech adoption doesn’t just take the form of robots and drones. There are several easy-to-integrate technologies that can be a gateway to implementing other tech.
Here are three ways such technology is currently being used to attract next-generation talent, make jobsites and offices more efficient, and keep teams in sync, whether they’re out on jobsites, in a fixed office location, or working remotely.
1. APPEALING TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
Pre-pandemic, the construction industry’s workforce was thinning. The problem was further exacerbated by COVID-19. Today, some 92% of contractors report having moderate-to-high levels of difficulty finding workers, according to the latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce quarterly construction report. One solution? Hiring a younger, more diverse workforce.
“We don’t attract who we want, we attract who we are,” says Dan Clark, founder and CEO of The Art of Significance. “When it comes to workforce development, we can’t think we can recruit people into the building industries—we have to attract them.”
One way for companies to attract the next generation of workers is technology. In fact, 71% of millennial workers say the degree to which a company embraces technology plays a role in influencing whether they would work there, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). An added benefit to companies is the reality that younger workers are already familiar with common and rising technologies, making them ideal candidates to learn and implement new construction tech at a much more rapid pace.
2. PRIORITIZING CONSTRUCTION CLOUD TECHNOLOGY AND AUTOMATION
Companies dragging their feet on implementing newer technologies risk losing money to inaccurate labor costs and project inefficiencies. At a time when projects are plentiful but labor resources are short, companies need all the help they can get in streamlining their operations. Here’s where tech comes into play once again.
Increasing productivity can be achieved with advanced technologies like using automated heavy machinery to pave roads, robots to lay bricks, and 3D printers to build homes from the ground up. It can also simply come down to more mainstream tools, like using cloud technology to house all of a company’s data in a centralized platform accessible to workers, no matter where they are at or what project they are working on. Even simple, everyday technology tools, such as smartphones and tablets, can increase worker efficiency and company productivity, ensuring entities can take on more work and fulfill expectations even during slim times.
3. LEVERAGING INTEGRATED MOBILE WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT APPS
Smartphones are the most used tool on a jobsite today. According to the 2020 JBKnowledge ConTech Report, 92% of responding contractors and workers use their smartphone every day at work. A number of those surveyed reported using construction-based apps for daily reporting; capturing and managing photos and videos; safety management; viewing files; and time management. The downside? Many of these apps don’t integrate with one another, creating more work for employees and increased headaches for transferring and sharing data down the line.
The good news is cloud-based mobile workforce apps can be fully integrated into a company’s existing software and platforms and also handle a multitude of tasks, including employee time tracking, equipment and material management, project scheduling, audits and reporting, digital form collection, and safety training. Such tasks can be done in one app on any smartphone or tablet, increasing communication and collaboration across an entire company.
The future of construction rides on the pro-active implementation of technology. Looking to 2022, companies at every corner of the industry will need to evaluate their current operations and technology stack to find out where they can implement new or better tech to streamline their processes, boost their productivity, and attract tech savvy workers.
About the Author:
Mike Merrill is co-founder and chief evangelist of WorkMax by AboutTime Technologies and host of The Mobile Workforce Podcast. Mike has been an entrepreneur and business owner in the construction and technology industry for nearly three decades. For more, visit workmax.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2022
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