Digital Innovation in Construction Industry
These days digital transformation is very essential for success of every business venture and high tech overhaul is also essential for the construction business to grow.
Though the modern supply chain is entering the digital era on a faster pace, many construction businesses are still using archaic, paper-based invoicing rather than embracing newer, streamlined digital systems. Due to this vendors on an average wait for 45 days to receive their payments without knowing at what stage their invoices are at and feeling powerless to fight for settlement as per contractual terms. If construction firms operate their back-office operations in an outdated and pre-digital way, productivity will continue to be hampered.
But then it’s the pace which is to be decided at which the transformation should happen as the construction industry has been relatively slow in adopting change compared to other sectors. Most of the employees of construction companies still follow the systems of pre digital era for bidding, procurement, execution, invoicing and payments. So it is obvious that introducing newest technologies will decline the productivity as the employees would be fumbling with the new tools. Apart from phased training and skilling the employees, companies should be in a position to setup infrastructure to handle huge data streams generated by these tools. Most of the companies are not yet prepared for such transformations and hence resist digital transformation. The fear of the unknown and sometimes simply not knowing where to begin adds up to bucking the trend.
To start with the organizations should move by taking baby steps to be ready to run and jump later. This can be achieved by using softwares for the pre construction, execution and post construction phases. Many softwares for planning, design, management, construction and interiors have been added up in the online market along with many mobile apps too of which many are free to use.
There are now softwares which give accurate estimates and BOQ’s using Autocad drawings, PDF’s and scanned images. Multiple users can edit and highlight marks working from scattered locations for improving the notes and results. This is more accurate, convenient and faster compared to the usual method of measuring drawings (either soft or hard copy), revising, resharing, getting approvals from superiors etc.
Manual calculations are laborious and have clerical errors too due to oversight wherein time and error free responses are very crucial for tendering process. Softwares for bids management can speed up the whole bidding process by finding and managing subcontractors and suppliers in a better way.
Planning & Scheduling softwares help in tracking the progression in a systematic way during the execution phase. A communication tracker and collaboration tool will help in keeping all stakeholders in loop highlighting key points for take daily/weekly or monthly basis, allow chats between stakeholders allowing unobstructed interaction thereby avoiding decisional delays. Many construction management softwares support in monitoring employee productivity, materials usage, equipment usage, budgets and expenses etc.
There are software’s which help in creating project summary, sharing files and photographs, update training modules for learning, client requests, feedback’s and approvals as part of post construction phase.
Hence baby steps should start with identifying technologies that are possible to implement immediately and which can drive efficiency in existing system and then lay groundwork for running and jumping into more complex technologies for future growth.
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