It can be tough to make the call on adopting new technology. Even the best tools have the potential to disrupt your workflow in some way, so how do you decide when it’s worth it to switch from your existing platforms? Here are some signs that now is the time, along with how to get your new tech up and running quickly and efficiently.
5 Signs That Your Existing Construction Technology Is Failing
If you’re thinking of new tech, you probably already suspect your existing platforms are outdated. These tell-tale signs will let you know if your hunch is right.
– Frustration among your team. Everyone has a rough day now and then, but if your team is consistently having issues with your software, it’s time to take note. The older the tool, the less likely that you’ll be getting regular software updates, meaning it could be harder and harder for your team to do their jobs. Listen to your people if they say the tool doesn’t do what they need it to do.
– Slowdown in work. With older tools also often comes a complex interface that’s difficult to use. If you’re seeing newer employees struggle to get onboarded with platforms due to unnecessary complexity, selecting a more user-friendly tool can help get new hires up to speed more quickly.
– Missing documents or confusion over versions. Many older construction technology tools are desktop-based, meaning users cannot access the same document at once. Often there are problems with version control when employees have saved documents on their local drive or email different versions to others. On average, construction professionals spend 5.5 hours per week searching for the right documentation, and this time is costing your business money.
– Duplicate work and poor team communication. If your team is more spread out, working from home, office, and field, your older technology might mean missed opportunities for collaboration and, worse, rework. Without clear insights into roles and assignments, you might find team members redoing tasks others have already completed, costing you time, money, and reputation.
– Disconnect between your department and others. Outdated technology platforms operate in silos. Today’s competitive market means all departments in your company need to be able to work together quickly. If your tools don’t let you connect and share data with other solutions in your tech stack, key stakeholders in your company could be missing critical information.
How New Technologies Can Benefit Your Construction Company
The benefits of new tech can be far-reaching and can positively affect parts of your business that you might not initially expect.
With newer, better technologies, you’ll find your workflow speed improving, and higher accuracy rates for things like takeoffs when interfaces are more intuitive. You’ll also see less user error and mistakes when choosing platforms that allow smooth data flow and transfer to cut down on rework and manual data entry. But in addition to these expected improvements, you’re also likely to see some intangible ones.
Consider data security. By selecting a cloud-based platform for your team, there’s no more concern over sensitive documents and information being stored locally on an employee’s desktop system, nor are files being sent via email. A reputable tech company will have your security top-of-mind and will keep your data safe.
Combat Labor Shortages
Implementing an effective new technology at your construction firm can even help you scale without the need to add more resources. When you automate and streamline certain processes, you increase the productivity of your existing employees without overburdening them or needing to hire more help.
Recruit and Retain Top Staff
When you are ready to hire more employees, having access to top tier technology is a big driver for younger, tech-savvy workers in the industry. Millennials and Gen Z, having grown up with tech, don’t have patience for outdated technology in their personal or professional lives. For those with construction management or similar degrees or training, they’ve often been educated on newer cloud technology and have no interest in going back. Your adoption of top tools will help you attract and keep strong talent.
Newer tech frequently comes with easier access to historical data, which you can analyze in project reviews upon completion. With simple access to budgeted vs actuals, reports, and documentation, you can get a clearer picture of your crew’s strengths, types of projects or clients you work best with, and where your skills can translate to the most profits, allowing you to make better bid decisions and revenue predictions in the future.
What You Need to Determine the Best Replacement Technology for Construction
Identifying and implementing a new technology solution isn’t always simple, especially with so many moving parts in the construction process. If you’re not sure what types of software are out there for the tasks you need to complete, start with a simple online search to select a few options and compare features and functionality.
Then assemble your search committee and draft a Request for Proposals to solicit companies that can meet your needs. Use this detailed guide to prepare for your search and help you to craft your custom RFP.
Implementing Your New Technology
Once you’ve decided on the best tech option for you, there are a few things you’ll need to make sure implementation goes smoothly and the new tool drives results for your company.
– Get team buy-in. From leadership to end users, everyone needs to be on the same page about why the company needs the new tech and how it will improve workflows. In a series of discussions (as many as you need), emphasize how the tool will increase efficiency and generally make the team’s jobs easier. Answer questions honestly, but stay focused on the positives.
– Set a clear timeline. The team needs clarity on when trainings will happen for the new tool, how data will be transferred (and whose responsibility that process is), and the date the previous tool or method will be phased out and no longer available.
– Obtain support and a training plan from the vendor. You should have transparency into how long it takes to get up to speed on the new tech, as well as a solid understanding of what to expect as far as training sessions, objectives, and agenda.
How to Effectively Adopt New Technologies Quickly in Your Construction Company
Even the best new tech tool can negatively impact your workflow if rollout is slow or clunky. For a quick adoption and implementation process, consider the following:
– Choose a company that offers plenty of training and setup help for your team, as well as multiple ways to learn and troubleshoot after the initial rollout. Everyone learns in different ways, so ideally your new platform will offer options such as videos, help articles, and live chat, as well as phone support with a customer success manager to help solve any problems that arise quickly and seamlessly.
– Create or assign a team for the transfer of data from your old system to the new one (if applicable) and lean on your new vendor for assistance. For example, if you have a catalog of products and pricing, find out if your vendor is able to take a spreadsheet of your data and mass import it into their platform so your team doesn’t have to manually update each item.
– Roll out in a way that makes sense for your team makeup and size. If you have a large team, it might be best to roll out in waves, so output is not interrupted and each employee gets hands-on learning time with the training team.
As long as you establish the criteria you need, and you and your tech partner have a clear plan for implementation, adopting new construction technology is almost always worth the upfront investment to streamline workflows and increase efficiencies throughout the construction process.