By Tom Noctor, Senior Product Manager at Procore.
If you work in construction, it often happens that even for a seemingly simple question, it takes hours or even days to get your answer. You waste your time searching through hundreds of emails before calling multiple people who then have to search through their own documentation. Those are the moments when you think, we have driverless cars but I can’t get an answer to one basic question? There has to be a better way than this.
Most of us don’t have the time to stop and figure out the ‘better way’ before moving on to the next task. But those that do, the businesses and employees that take the time to find efficiencies where they can, are going to be the ones who thrive when times get tough.
Adversity in Construction Spurs Industry Evolution
There’s no doubt construction faces a bumpy road ahead.
Labour, supply chain, rework and interest rates remain major industry challenges, and the current market is only making things worse. Economic headwinds often mean fewer resources––including employees, money and time. Unfortunately, your deadlines and to-do lists don’t follow suit. You’re expected to continue to deliver projects on time and on budget.
But the industry has been through tough times before. We’ve seen construction build through pandemics, recessions, world wars, and more––pivoting resources and adapting to circumstances. This is a resilient industry. We can do this. And the easiest way is with technology.
Technology Finally Catches Up
While many other industries have fully digitised their processes, most construction businesses continue to run on paper, email, Excel sheets, and disconnected point solutions. This is not for a lack of wanting. Construction’s too-thin profit margins have made contractors look for more efficient ways to manage their projects. For many years, however, construction was often ignored by tech companies and contractors were forced to use generic systems––systems that were not made for construction and couldn’t run the way that was needed.
But the tech industry has finally caught up. Platforms like Procore are built specifically for construction from the outset––following the complicated workflows of a project and fulfilling the unique needs of contractors. All communication and documentation happens in this one platform, so nothing gets lost or buried in endless emails. That means the next time you have a question, instead of running around trying to find the answer, you can pull out your phone or mobile device and navigate through the latest drawings, RFIs, specs, snag list, budgets, documents and more to find what you need. When everyone has easy access to project information, everyone can stop running around in circles and start moving forward.
What makes a great construction platform?
Now that technology does exist for construction, there’s still the issue of finding the right solution for the business. When your business is tightening the reins and looking for ways to increase profitability, there’s no room for trial and error––the technology you select needs to be right the first time, and it needs to show results fast.
So what makes a construction platform great? Like any piece of technology in our lives, it has to be easy to use.
Ease of use drives adoption
Whether your people will use technology depends a lot on how easy it is to use. Understandably, if your software isn’t intuitive, nobody will spend the time it takes to learn the system, and they’ll go back to whatever methods are easiest for them. And you risk stalling the progress of your digitisation.
Easy-to-use software, on the other hand, sells itself. There’s no convincing necessary when anyone can pick it up and go.
Ease of use drives data quality
Imagine if you could pick up your phone and see exactly where your project budget stands, as well as an up-to-date forecast. Or if you could instantly see which tasks are overdue and who is responsible.
When you implement a platform that’s easy to use, site teams are much more likely to enter project information. The more data collected, the more you can understand exactly what’s going on with projects and get ahead of any potential problems.
Ease of use drives a positive culture and attracts talent
Platforms that are easy to use help teams work together, speed up processes, take the hundrum out of routine tasks, and let employees do what they’re there to do. Happy people are more motivated.
Equipping your workforce with technology that is easy to use and improves the efficiency of their job also helps companies attract fresh talent – something that has proven difficult in recent years. Digital natives entering the workforce expect to have helpful tools to get their work done. Adopting an easy to use digital platform helps recruit the best people.
The Future of Construction Starts Now
You have a simple question, you take out your phone, and the answer is there––every time. You can have more moments like this. Technology has finally caught up to the construction industry. Now it’s time for construction to take advantage and start working smarter, not harder.