As the construction industry continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some in the industry are looking for digital solutions to help create efficiencies and position their companies for future growth. The digital transformation may seem overwhelming especially when weighing the investment in technology and training against the bottom line. Here are several key steps that companies can take to lay a firm foundation for the transition.
Conduct a strategic review of the organization’s current business model to determine how digitalization will benefit your organization. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Start by looking at your long-term strategic business plan and consider: how do you interact with stakeholders, how large is the organization, what is your reach — regional, global or international, and perhaps most importantly, what is your current digital readiness? Then, create a long-term digitalization strategy that supports your business model and helps solve pain points by examining specific use cases where technology may help reduce costs.
Depending upon your particular pain points and digital readiness, you may want to start with technologies that are easier to implement and offer more immediate tangible results. For example, drones can be deployed to monitor job sites or perform some types of inspections. Workers can be issued wearable devices to help create efficiencies in movement, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips can be used on equipment to help track performance and map efficient use of resources across multiple job sites. Implementing Business Information Modeling (BIM) may ultimately provide a framework for linking all of the data to help gain maximum efficiencies by connecting all of the technologies used across the project lifecycle.
Of course, any digital transformation strategy must include the human element. The construction industry is no stranger to work force issues, and the addition of technology introduces requirements for new skill sets and perhaps even some restructuring within a company. Training and change management for the existing workforce will be needed to maximize the effective use of technology. As the technology provides data for analysis, key individuals will be needed to help provide that analysis. The current economic crisis offers a critical window to “skill up” the current workforce and to attract digital talent from other technology fields.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the industry, it also offers an opportunity for the industry to better understand how to leverage technology to improve efficiency and to take concrete steps toward implementing a clear digital strategy to support a robust recovery.
For more information about LaPorte’s Construction Industry Group and the audit, tax, and consulting services we offer, contact group leader Tracy Tufts, CPA, CCIFP.