Why Construction Industry Doesn’t Have to be Disrupted by Technology

By on April 16, 2019

From Construction Business Owner: It’s a popular belief that disruption is good for any industry. Innovation breeds competition, which, in turn, provides smart new services, increases consumer choice and drives sector growth. However, while disruptive innovations have influenced changes in some aspects of the industry, there has been no single technology that has threatened a transformation of the basics.

The reason? This industry doesn’t need disruption to grow and flourish. While construction has always been innovative in engineering, design and building, it has consistently struggled with internal procedures mired in antiquated analog processes, disconnected communications, disparate systems and inconsistent data. The result is an industry that loses even as it’s winning.

According to the 2017 McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report “Reinventing Construction: A Route to Higher Productivity,” this lag in productivity reduced the industry’s value by an estimated $1.6 trillion in 2016. However, it points to one specific opportunity. Rather than disruption, what the industry needs is a galvanizing spark to bring owners, architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors and others into the modern digital age and out of its fragmented, outdated workflow.

Modernizing Where You Are
According to MGI, the industry possesses one of the lowest levels of digital adoption among all industries, contributing to a huge information management gap. And an industry hamstrung by disconnected processes can never realize its profit potential—in good economic times or bad.

However, the explosion of recent business has created worker shortages, wage increases and material cost surges, making the reduction of inefficiencies even more critical. So, how can an industry with traditional ebbs and flows modernize to take full advantage of a business boom?

Unifying, Not Disrupting
The construction industry’s problem resides in systems still separated into silos, where there is no central source of information and no data sharing across all parties working on any given job. As such, suppliers cannot easily identify when materials are needed or if delivery might hamper a project that’s been delayed; site supervisors can’t easily ascertain when equipment might be needed.

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About Tom Finan