3 Ways Connected Construction Is Changing the Industry for the Better
1 Minute Read
March 24, 2023
As we continue to adjust to new working and operating environments in construction, many contractors are looking at what the future will hold and what a new connected construction reality might look like. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of connected construction, here's a quick breakdown:
A connected construction experience is one in which construction firms have access to a common data environment with a standardized set of connected workflows across all stakeholders, departments, and disciplines of the construction process. Achieved by interconnecting and sharing data between cloud-based technoligies, connected construction suites facilitate better communication and collaboration among traditional construction business silos, which have been a source of rising costs and inefficiencies. By enhancing project visibility and predictability, providing real-time access to business data, and enabling collaboration and integrated decision making, the connected construction experience can help owners, designers, engineers, and contractors realize more consistent, streamlined, and predictable project execution.
Better-managed projects and more streamlined processes—including the ability to process data in the field—can help firms achieve cost savings by reducing labor overheads and resource waste, while also contributing to higher profit margins. The potential to help construction firms reduce resource waste can also help them with key sustainability targets related to environmental impact.
This connected construction vision—once just a dream—is reality today. That’s why contractors have been flocking to the cloud to realize their own connected construction transformations. If your company is one of those that haven't yet moved, however, it's time to seriously evaluate your own processes and the technologies behind them. Are they suitable for the work (and modern workflows) of your future projects? Here are five questions every contractor should be asking:
Even before the COVID pandemic began to reshape how construction companies worked, more and more project owners were requiring the contractors and subcontractors they worked with to have modern technologies and processes in place to pull together job costs, progress reports and other important construction data in real time. By expanding access to vital project data beyond the back office through connected, cloud-based software, all of your project stakeholders can work with real-time data. This helps you spot issues, mitigate project risks, more accurately capture costs and increase productivity. Real-time data is also going to be important for addressing new health and safety measures being put in place by local and federal agencies. In order to show compliance, you’ll need to be able to pull critical data at a moment’s notice.
Just as important as real-time data, having connected software solutions and data is vital to streamlining workflows and reducing time-consuming administrative tasks. Disconnected software solutions or a mix of programs and manual processes like paper and spreadsheets leads to having to re-enter your data multiple times into each system of record. This means data you need is often anywhere from days to months old before you get it in formats that make sense to you. A single, connected construction management solution, however, removes these manual processes. Your field teams can enter information from their mobile devices at the jobsite and have it instantly populate to your accounting, project management or other back office functions. And you save hours of costly overhead having to rekey and make sense of mountains of different data.
All the latest software and technology in the world won’t make a lick of difference in your productivity and profitability if your teams won’t use it. Remember, most people are resistant to change—unless you can easily show them how much better their lives could be using it. Your software should make sense for the end user, with the right amount of flexibility to allow different teams or departments to use in ways that make sense to them. Moreover, it should deliver relevant data to the user, with intuitive portals and apps that make it easy to access information needed anywhere, anytime. If your software is bogged down with cumbersome navigation, frustrating task processes and lack of modern features, perhaps it’s time for a change.
As modern projects become more demanding, contractors are continuing to look for new ways to not just collect project data, but to properly analyze it to make actionable decisions. Sure, your software might be able to provide the basic accounting and operational processes needed to keep work moving, but how much about your projects do you not know? Can your current data tell you where project risks lie in real time? Are you able to identify consistent trends and develop working benchmarks? Can you look at your data today and stamp out material and equipment waste before they occur? Do you have the ability to successfully forecast future work and predict which jobs are worth the risk and which are not? Modern, connected construction software has the analytic and business intelligence tools to answer yes to all of those questions and more.
One of the funny, yet frustrating things about traditional technology is that it tends to be outdated the moment you bring it home and begin using it. In construction, that meant replacing massive construction ERP software packages roughly every 10 years or so. It was a painful, costly process. However, the cloud platforms that technologies are being built on today completely change the game, making it easy for vendors to roll out new features and updates in ways that are seamless to the end user. And new technologies can be easily added to existing cloud solutions as they’re developed. Data storage, the latest security protections, hosting and other processes can be easily managed at the vendor level, meaning that you’re no longer on the hook to maintain costly servers and constantly backing up data. You can take advantage of the latest technologies as they’re rolled out—without having to do the heavy lifting!
If any of the questions above make you question your own operations, it might be time to consider modernizing your operations. Unlike software that solves a single need for customers or compels them to work within the restraints of a larger, out-of-the-box ERP solution, Trimble Construction One provides construction companies with a complete, connected software suite that seamlessly manages contractors’ people, projects and processes.
Designed for construction and delivered by a trusted vendor with a solid track record of both industry experience and ongoing technology investment, Trimble Construction One gives you a single source of data truth in a modern operating environment. Hosted in the cloud, Trimble Construction One combines Trimble's own leading construction ERP offerings like Vista and Spectrum with its real-time, collaborative solutions for estimating, design, project management, HR management, construction analytics and much more for a flexible, easy-to-use suite to boost your productivity and enable better decision making. Trimble Construction One includes:
Connect with Trimble Viewpoint today to see first-hand how we could help your organization scale for today, tomorrow and beyond.
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