A recent McKinsey & Company research shows that the construction industry is the least digitized of the major industries. Another McKinsey study found that once digitized, the industry can achieve productivity benefits of up to 15% and cost reductions of up to 6%. (Source)
Why, however, has digitization in construction been sluggish to take hold, despite its immense benefits? Let’s start by exploring the challenges faced:
What are the challenges facing the construction industry?
The solution to that question resides in the industry’s fragmentation.
Construction projects comprise several moving elements from numerous organizations, most of which collaborate on a single unique project before splitting off. With several consultants, contractors and subcontractors engaged, competing suppliers and vendors, and a general aversion to technology, developing a business case for the digitalization of the construction sector on a project-by-project basis can indeed be problematic.
Costs are a significant concern in this case. This is primarily due to “margin pressure” and also a general aversion towards technology solutions. This makes it harder to streamline projects and builds a need for creating technologies that can be economical while also covering various aspects of the construction process.
The ultimate solution to this quandary is for the individual parties involved to modernize their operations in ways that allow them to partner with other organizations more effectively.
What are the solutions that technology can bring?
Having streamlined project management technology enablers can go a long way in helping the construction industry. Technology can be implemented all across the board, from the hiring process to post-completion operations. Here are four significant ways technology can impact construction:
Enabling project insights:
By digitizing construction processes, companies can save a lot more on hiring and emphasizing labor to share essential data points.
Assessing construction project information on manual spreadsheets is a time-consuming process that reduces productivity as well as time management. In addition, supervisors are rarely able to view the “whole picture” on paper, which limits their capacity to make timely choices that consider the project’s flow. However, with the support of digitalization, project managers may benefit from intelligent and real-time data and insights, allowing them to make precise, data-driven decisions. In addition, compared to paper monitoring, these insights will provide the additional potential to reduce costs.
Better data documentation and administration:
A considerable amount of high-quality and detailed data is overlooked or underutilized in the construction industry. From photographs to restrictions and safety violations, construction companies may use a wealth of raw data to enhance the quality, safety factor, and profitability of construction projects that are now untapped. Construction organizations can acquire this data and use it to fulfill project goals by utilizing digitalization features and mediums.
Furthermore, they can safely keep the data set on a cloud platform (to assist current and future building projects) and quickly access it via deep searching and Meta descriptions.
Improving the supply chain:
With the help of an effective connected construction platform, construction companies can smartly improve their supply chain bottlenecks. In addition, having the entire supply chain on one common platform can help companies use these insights to identify which process requires improvement or streamlining and then free up the pipeline to ensure better output.
By doing so, construction companies can accelerate their core processes and deliver projects on time without any hassles on the way. By working with teams from all over the world on one project platform, there is complete transparency and understanding. Supply chain blockages must be disabled by technology because they form the most significant hindrance to the completion of projects.
Ever since the influx of AI has entered digital operations, the construction industry hasn’t tapped into its full potential. While design operations have used its capabilities to a large extent, planning has lagged behind. This is because there hasn’t been a streamlined effort to focus on improving the planning aspect of construction with digital technology.
With proper technological inputs, companies will be able to streamline their planning operations right down to the T. This means making it simpler for teams all around the world to work synchronously without any room for miscommunication and non-alignment. Technology can provide real-time updates and an estimated time of completion based on current speed, making it simpler for all stakeholders to seamlessly work in tandem.
Digitizing the construction industry is one of the critical goals for offsetting progress in the next decade. With so many large-scale projects requiring a digital influx to elevate their output, expect the industry to see a massive digitalization drive that will improve processes multiple folds!