A Discussion on Change Management within Technology Adoption: the Good, the Bad and the Profitable
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting real customer stories shared during our Digital Contractor Roadshow events.
Construction companies of all sizes and across all regions are realizing the need to adopt the latest technologies into their operations in order to keep up with demand and to remain profitable. However, this is easier said than done.
The most prominent roadblock to technology adoption is resistance to change. Implementing technology in a construction company comes with a great deal of change. These changes are generally positive in nature because technology empowers construction companies to be more productive, increase revenue and just do things faster. But on the flip side, these changes can cause problems for some members of the team. So how does technology change your construction company for the better? And how do you empower your teams to embrace these changes, rather than resist them?
We asked our customers how they dealt with these questions during our Digital Contractor Roadshow event in Houston, Texas a few weeks ago. Specifically, we wanted to understand how adopting new technologies has changed the way they do things and how they have overcome pushback from their employees resistant to change. Paula Hansen, CFO of Pieper Houston Electric and James Stacey, software manager at Universal Plant Services were kind enough to serve on a panel at the show and talked directly with their peers about these relevant issues. Here are some highlights:
How has technology helped your company to transform?
Hansen: We just recently adopted a new field solution which, through Spectrum, empowered our service people to do all of their sales and everything in the field while connecting to the office via Wi-Fi so that they don't have to physically come in all the time in order to process work orders. We can bill it immediately, which helps to improve our work and cash flow.
It’s great to hear that all that information now fills out the work order and with the click of a button it goes back over to Spectrum. Now you can pre-invoice, accelerate that cash flow and get that cash in the door. But what were you doing before this? Was it pen and notepad?
Hansen: They actually used to write it out on paper and bring it in with their payroll every week. So with our new processes, the customer can sign right then and there and we can send them an email invoice right away.
So in terms of accelerated cash flow it's gone from, what, a few weeks to a couple days?
Hansen: Yes, exactly. It now only takes a few days, maximum.
Did you have pushback from the people in the field when you tried to roll it out?
Hansen: Initially there was pushback. We tried to present it in a way so they understood it would empower them to grow within their position, to give them the tools to be able to work more efficiently for the benefit of the company. So, there was some pushback, but we did training. We showed them how it was going to make their lives so much easier and after about a couple of weeks they actually just caught on and then the solution was very well received.
James, what was your experience when adopting new technology? Did you get any pushback?
Stacey: Yes, I had a similar situation. We have been using Vista for nine years. Recently, we integrated scanners into a warehouse which changed the way we did inventory. At first, the warehouse manager pushed back and told me “Man, James, I'm telling you, I don't think these scanners...it's just not gonna work.” And I was like, “Ray, trust me, it's gonna work. You're gonna love it.” And he loves it. In two years we did our second full inventory, he was 99.98 percent accurate. He was upset that he wasn’t 99.99.
So, it’s a matter of convincing people that we're not doing this to make stuff hard for them. It may appear that way at first but there are so many advantages. The ones that are going to be good for you will adapt to it. And the ones that aren't, they're just gonna fall off.
How else have you leveraged technology in your company?
Stacey: Well, really as a sales tool. Our technology is one of the biggest selling points. There's a lot of contractors that do what we do. We're one of the more expensive ones—we're kind of like the Starbucks. We charge a premium because we have all of this technology and we can say, “I can give you your cost tracking by the end of the day.” The technology allows us to sell ourselves to the client and sets us apart from the competition. So, we're leveraging that technology internally and as a sales pitch.
Hansen and Stacey are just two examples of the many contractors who have dealt with the challenges of adopting leading-edge technology in an industry that has long operated without it. Their stories are a great testament to the fact that the hassle for tech adoption pays off in the end. Technology increases productivity, standardizes data and workflows and ultimately increases revenue, bringing tremendous value to the entire business.
To learn more about how Viewpoint can partner with you to transform your construction company by connecting your office, team and field, visit our website: www.viewpoint.com.