Why Technology Is the Key to Maximizing Productivity at Construction Sites
This blog is a collaboration with our friends at Ryvit.
Productivity in construction has been stagnant for years and external factors such as rising demand and a shrinking workforce have only exacerbated these issues. However, as many industries have digitally transformed over the last decade, the path has been laid for construction companies to solve their productivity issues with technology.
Raken fully understands the importance of developing easy-to-use software for general contractors and other specialized roles within the construction industry, which is often slow to adopt new technologies. Construction businesses have lagged in their adoption of technology compared to businesses in other industries—but the productivity challenges they face are primed to be solved by modern solutions. Here are some of the most common productivity challenges that construction companies can overcome with technology.
The most common productivity challenges for construction businesses
Information silos prevent team members from optimizing workflows at the project site
The construction industry has been notoriously siloed for decades. These silos were created as a byproduct of multiple stakeholders from different companies coming together to work on a single project.
Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and on-site staff all have unique workflows that overlap in significant ways. However, collaboration between these stakeholders is often limited to tasks where collaboration is required. Safety training, information sharing, and daily reporting are important but repetitive, time-intensive processes that can be consolidated if team members are provided with the appropriate tools to do so.
Inconsistent use of technology across the office and project site make administrative processes unnecessarily cumbersome
Construction technology has evolved significantly over the past decade. As more construction businesses understand and experience the benefits of digital solutions, more products flood the market. These often take a specialized approach in a bid to rise above mass market software that has saturated the technology landscape. However, this has resulted in inconsistent adoption across project teams.
Companies that adopt modern systems to manage key workflows have been forced to adapt to external stakeholders who do not have access to these systems. While software adoption has risen across the board, a vast majority (82%) of construction teams have reverted to using non-purpose-built software and outdated tools such as spreadsheets to ensure there is equitable access to these solutions across project teams. This reiterates the need for construction field software to be integrated into a technology stack that is easily accessible to all project stakeholders.
82% of Associated Builders and Contractors Tech Alliance members use non-purpose-built software and technology.
Source: ABC Tech Alliance
Inaccurate and outdated data increase the likelihood of waste and rework
An unintended consequence of using outdated tools for information sharing is that information is likely to be inaccurate due to the manual ways project data is collected and communicated. It is also extremely difficult for project leaders to achieve a holistic view of project progress in real time since there is a time lag between when the information is collected and when it reaches the eyes of key stakeholders.
When team members have different viewpoints of the project, material waste and rework become a highly probable outcome. To increase productivity on-site and reduce time wasted on rework, construction teams must ensure there are efficient and effective information-sharing systems and processes in place.
How technology can help businesses maximize productivity at project sites
Mobile-first reporting solutions enable simple transfer of important data on a daily basis
Administrative tasks can be extremely time-consuming and tedious—and they can kill productivity rates at project sites. According to recent research, nearly half of construction business leaders consider reporting and tracking to be one of their top three challenges. This is often due to the various systems used to collect documentation, do time entry, and manage inventory.
Cloud-based, mobile construction management software like the innovative app by Raken allows construction businesses to simplify these processes by standardizing reporting across the project and ensuring that office and on-site workers have equal access to these systems, regardless of their preferred work device. Such software also allows business leaders to have a holistic and real-time view of important performance metrics through easy-to-navigate dashboards that highlight the most relevant information for them.
47% of Associated Builders and Contractors Tech Alliance members name reporting and tracking issues as one of their top 3 challenges.
Source: ABC Tech Alliance
Cloud-based training software allows on-site workers to stay abreast of the latest productivity tools available to them
Even when business leaders invest in tools designed to increase productivity and automate low-value tasks, buy-in from employees is not always guaranteed. As construction workers age, they are more likely to stick with familiar operational processes unless they are comfortable with the new methods of working. This is why training and communication are extremely important for the success of any digital transformation journey.
Integrated reporting solutions should always allow for 2-way communication for workers on the ground to provide feedback where appropriate. This, when paired with easy access to training videos and tools, makes it easy for workers to learn new tools and share their concerns with team leaders.
A single source of truth keeps every team member on the same page at all times
For construction projects to be completed on time and within budget, every team member must be aligned and aware of their responsibilities and obligations. However, as projects evolve across the course of an engagement, team members can drift apart in their understanding of the objectives.
Every team member must have access to a single source of truth that is updated regularly. Fully integrated solutions allow business leaders to consolidate all-important project information in a single location and make it easy for team members to view them at all times. When reporting software integrates with accounting, cloud storage, and project management solutions, teams across the organization are able to easily stay on the same page.
Modern technology can help construction companies unlock greater levels of productivity on and off the project site. However, it is not enough to simply adopt new software and hope for the best. Construction companies must build a cohesive suite of solutions that work well together and contribute to a larger plan to increase productivity. Integration is the key that helps business leaders make the most of their software by closing gaps between disparate and previously incompatible systems, making whole workflows more seamless and efficient.
About the author
Tom Stemm is the CEO/Founder of Ryvit. He was inspired to build Ryvit when several of his clients in the construction industry had asked for some custom integration development work. At the time, Tom was part of the founding team at GadellNet (a fast-growing IT consulting firm in St. Louis, MO), and they realized that there was a significant gap in the construction tech industry – namely that, while tech purchases were high, the adoption rate of those solutions throughout all stakeholders was still lagging. After a very diligent launch process, Ryvit was born to address the rampant problem of a disintegrated tech stack in the construction technology space. Tom continues to lead a team of integration developers, application enthusiasts, customer heroes, and sales superstars on a mission to eliminate duplicate data entry and rampant data errors from the construction technology world.