Today’s construction companies must look at every aspect of their workflow with an eye toward automation. Technology can help you land more jobs, manage the projects you have, save time and money, and improve employee communications and satisfaction.
The construction industry had lagged behind other industries in technology adoption, but the pandemic accelerated the number and types of technologies that are being applied specifically to that industry. Venture capital firms are investing millions of dollars in the development of new automation tools that are designed specifically for construction management and day-to-day operations.
You may already be using some of these technologies today, but here are some areas of your business and applications you may not have even considered!
7 Types of Technology Your Company Needs
1. Proposal Development
This is, of course, where projects start. Especially in situations where you’re bidding against many other companies, the timing, accuracy, and “wow” factor (standing apart from your competition) are all very important.
Some information remains constant from proposal to proposal, but other data needs to change, based on the job.
Close to 70 different applications currently exist to help your company create bids. Although none is guaranteed to help you win the bid, they can certainly help you free up more time and ensure your proposals are complete and accurate.
Among the highest-rated tools (based on user reviews) are:
- JobTread: An end-to-end system that includes professional proposal development tools.
- Jet.Build: This company reports 97 percent on-schedule delivery with RFIs and Submittals
- Buildern: A highly-rated tool that prides itself on ease of use by different functional areas.
2. Planning and Project Management
Congratulations! Your company won the bid. Some of these applications are also useful during the proposal process, because you can show (internally and externally) how the project will be completed.
Software solutions that are widely used and highly-recommended by construction companies include:
- Procore: Used throughout the industry, this technology simplifies work from building to close-out.
- Buildertrend: Streamlining communication is among the benefits this software offers.
- Autodesk Construction Cloud: A multinational software company, Autodesk designed a solution specifically for the construction industry.
- Smartsheet: This collaborative tool provides “views, workflows, reports, and dashboards to capture and track plans, resources, and schedules.”
- CoConstruct: Customization to meet the needs of different types of jobs is part of what this company claims as a point of difference.
Of course, the software you select depends on a range of factors, which we will discuss later.
3. People Management and Talent Retention
We’re not suggesting replacing your HR professional with a robot. But automation can play a huge role in ensuring the people who work for you are the best possible talent. Managing schedules, benefits, and work performance can all be complex, but automation reduces the amount of time spent on gathering data and can help you make better hiring choices.
BambooHR, Arcoro, and Sage People are among the companies that have products developed specifically for the construction field. The one you select depends largely on the size and complexity of your team. These software reviews will help you choose the solution that’s right for your company. We also recommend that you check recommendations from people who have purchased the software.
4. Job Safety
The pandemic made us all realize the impact of health and wellness on all industries. Not only did managers need to think about safety on job sites, but they became more aware of the impact of the spread of illness on scheduling and supply chain.
Wearable devices can help managers assess the health and wellness of their teams.
Further, as workers age and face physical challenges, they may need some assistance from wearable technology in preventing injury. Some of the new inventions in this field also give workers more body strength for repetitive movements and lifting. A number of these innovations are showcased each year at WeaRAcon.
Safety and productivity wearables include watches, hats, boots, and goggles, as well as devices that prevent back, leg, and arm strain.
5. Fleet Management
Where’s that crane today? Software can now help you see the location of the vehicles you need, but also keep track of equipment, maintenance schedules, and inventory.
Among the technologies most commonly used for construction fleet management are:
- Samsara: Going beyond GPS, this technology tracks fleets, provides advance vehicle diagnostics, and automates workflows to reduce daily tasks.
- Netradyne: The company’s AI dash cameras improve fleet and driver safety
- Azuga Fleet: This alternative has GPS tracking software and dashcams. The company reports they are easy to install and use and affordable.
- Fleetio: A single platform automates fleet operations tasks to keep equipment and vehicles in the best possible shape.
- Intellishift: The company asserts that it takes AI video, maintenance, and inspections technology to the next level.
6. Future-Forward Technologies are Here to Stay
Drones, which were once considered high-tech are now commonplace for both planning and job site monitoring. 3D printing has many applications in the construction industry and can aid tremendously in the planning and building process.
But Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being applied to the construction industry and is reported to reduce construction costs by up to 20 percent. From project planning to problem-solving, intelligent “robots” will soon work side-by-side with humans to provide data and recommendations for better and more cost-effective building.
7. Financial Management
How can you afford to invest in the technologies you’ll need for today and tomorrow?
As in all businesses, staying on top of your costs and revenue are essential in running a profitable construction business.
For example, Vendrix is a solution developed for and by people in the construction industry to:
- Help plan project expenses and monitor cost variances in real-time from anywhere.
- Give your team more autonomy in spending (and set controls based on job function and needs).
- Save your accounting and bookkeeping team hundreds of hours a year on reporting.
Choosing the Right Technologies for Your Construction Business
The construction technology sector is booming, and you may be overwhelmed by the number of options you have in any one category. But automation is designed to eliminate stress and expense, not increase it. First, we suggest you:
- Invest in the right financial management system, so you can determine how much you can spend each year on automation tools.
- Choose a vendor with specific proven expertise in the construction industry. Ask for case studies and check references.
- Make sure you’re choosing solutions that are:
- Easy to learn and integrate into other systems
- Backed by human customer service and training
- Flexible enough to grow as your company evolves
- Stay on top of new trends, like some of those outlined above
Make sure you’re involving your management team in decision-making too. If you have people working with you who buy-in to new systems, they are more likely to adopt them quickly and even help their peers embrace them.
Track and measure the impact of automation on your business costs and success. We can almost guarantee that technology will lead to financial improvements!
Start with your financial system. Contact Vendrix today for a demo.