Sometimes, building bigger and better can be a burden for construction firms and contractors. Constantly-evolving automation and new technology are a boon for managing schedules, efficiently allocating resources and maintaining workflow processes. At the same time, though, the abundance of data is often a burden that can result in inefficiency and a lack of coordination.
A recent survey of 100 construction firm leaders by the Foundry MarketPulse asked how contractors are incorporating digital technology tools in their daily operations and workflow processes.
Here are the five major takeaways from the survey:
1. Lack of Visibility is a Challenge
The inability to see data clearly is the biggest technology issue facing contractors today. Seven out of 10 respondents said a lack of information about the availability and delivery status of materials is their biggest business challenge.
Lots of moving parts must align for a construction project to finish on time and within budget, which makes this visibility critical. Forty-two percent of respondents say a lack of real-time information about profit margins and project status is a top challenge, while 39 percent cited a lack of visibility into all project-related information as their biggest challenge.
2. Safety Management Workflows Lead to Inefficiency
Health and safety regulations are in place for a reason: to protect construction workers and others who are on the job site. Contractors must regularly report to OSHA and their governing authorities about how they’re complying with these regulations.
However, safety management workflows are the main reason projects fall behind. Forty-five percent of respondents said that safety management is the leading cause of inefficiencies, even though these processes can be easily automated. Spend management and scheduling, both listed by 42 percent of respondents, were other leading causes of project delays.
3. More Tech Isn’t Always Better
There’s no end to the ways that technology can be used in construction projects. Sixty-one percent of respondents said their firm uses multiple software tools, while 25 percent said they use specific software for individual workflows.
But this isn’t always a good thing. Construction firms may be wasting time searching for the right apps or software or trying to remember which one has the data they need to finish a task. Only 13 percent of respondents said their firm manages all their workflows using just one software platform.
4. Technology is Most Often Used in Scheduling
Schedule management is inefficient and causes a series of delays for contractors. So, it’s not surprising that nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) said their firm uses technology tools to automate scheduling tasks and make scheduling more efficient.
5. New Tech Tools are a Key to Success
Most respondents said their firms are continually looking for new technology tools that can help them improve processes and boost efficiency. Just 3 percent said they only seek out technology when they’re desperate. And 30 percent said they’re always on the lookout for tech tools that can improve workflows.
Many tech tools that construction firms use are industry agnostic and lack customization and construction-related features, however. Some contractors are turning to no-code and low-code software non-IT workers can use to build custom programs that help them better control their workflow.
Use Technology Wisely
New technology can improve project efficiency. With the right tools and in the right setting, manual or cumbersome tasks like scheduling, budgeting, reporting, estimating and bidding can be easier, quicker and more accurate.