Disruption, they say, reshapes the world. And the construction industry, which is deeply rooted in the built, real-world, might seem less likely to be disrupted when compared to the other. However, there were drastic events that changed how the world perceived life. Even before Covid 19 brought about a transformation that touched all aspects of life as we knew, the construction industry was slowly going digital. However, the pandemic made that change a necessity. The construction industry was thus, catapulted into a new normal, something experts like McKinsey Global were clamouring for since 2017. To improve productivity, said the report, the construction industry should evolve, and fast. Digitalisation was one of the suggested remedies, and moving digital it did.
Digital transformation in construction is a cause we hold close to our hearts at VisiLean. And we have, time and again addressed this cause and various digital transformations in our blogs. However, allow us to throw in some statistics this time around to back our stand.
1) Construction has seen a meagre productivity growth of 1% annually for the past two decades.
2) Digital transformation can result in productivity gains of 14% to 15% and cost reduction of 4% to 6%
Don’t they look scary? Do you not think that this has to change? Do you not think that these reasons alone should make the industry think of adopting digitalisation? Especially, when it has been proven that digital innovations can streamline processes at worksites and bring about favourable changes. This brings us to say, like it or not, the fact remains. The future, therefore, without doubt, sees disruption and digital transformation in this industry. Before we take a deep dive, let us look at the points we are discussing in this blog.
Table of Contents
- So, what are the factors preventing the digitalisation of construction?
- How far behind are we?
- How can industry embrace a digital future?
- How can we drive the digital construction strategy forward?
- Integration with technology: The present and the future
- Steps to switch over to VisiLean.
So, what are the factors preventing the digitalisation of construction?
This can be categorised as :
1) This is how we have always done it!
It is a given that we human beings resist change. It is intrinsic. For decades, the construction industry, too, has shown the same trait. The industry still resorts to pen-and-paper or spreadsheet-oriented methods even now. This inertia is one of the major factors that has prevented this change. This mindset, says Dr. Bhargav Dave, our CEO, and co-founder, is undergoing a change post the Covid 19 pandemic.
2) Failure to see the big picture
Switching from age-old methodologies is disruptive. For some companies that are already cash-strapped, this shift is a risk they are not willing to make. The rapidly ageing workforce, too, is not really adaptive when it comes to changing their processes at work. A report in Forbes summed it up perfectly. ‘Rob Dietz, the chief economist and senior vice president for economics and housing policy for the National Association of Home Builders, summarized the issue like this, “The construction industry lost 1.5 million workers during the recession, and we’ve only brought back about 600,000. The median age of a construction worker right now is more than 40 years old.”
However, the priorities are now changing. More and more companies are thinking about digital transformation for their processes. McKinsey report says product-based approach and modular construction markets are seeing an upswing. There is an increased interest and investment in R&D into construction technology. However, these are still nascent advancements.
How far behind are we?
In an article, Paramjit Lota says “Well, the answer is evident in 90% of our construction sites across the globe; we are still glued to manual, extensively physical processes leading to a staggering amount of non-value adding time spent in construction project delivery.” He adds that “Collaboration is practically missing, and hence, improvement is a dream, and cost and time overruns are the industry norm.”
How can industry embrace a digital future?
The key is in understanding what aspects of digital can you adopt. Paramjit Lota, in his article, takes a deep dive. ‘There are various “Digital” solutions in the market, he adds, promising various benefits. However, most of these solutions address only peripheral concerns. The right alignment of lean processes with digitalisation requires a solution that addresses the core of lean production management. This penetration requires a solution developed through a pure understanding of what defines lean in its conceptual, as well as practical understanding.
How can we drive the digital construction strategy forward?
There is no doubt that Digitalisation is key to working efficiently today. However, it is essential to align technology with people and processes. How much digitalisation you will require depends entirely on the scope of your projects, and how adaptive your teams are to the entire process. These are some of the key things to consider when you draft up a strategy
Disruptive new business models, that just weren’t conceivable in the past, seem to now garner acceptance in the industry. There is a change in the air and a need for more transparency within business processes. In simple terms, you want a solution that can offer perfect clarity in what you need.
Compatibility is the key
When you think about a digital strategy, you will need to think about compatibility. Will it be easy for your workforce to adapt to this change? Will it be simple enough for everyone from the bottom to the top to understand? These are questions that you have to study about.
What are the benefits?
Review your processes and make a learned choice before you shift. How will this change benefit you? Will it be for the better? The answer to these questions will bring about clarity.
Integration with technology: The present and the future
In a recent chat with our CTO, co-founder, and academician, Stefan Boddy, we spoke at length about the changes that are already underway. Many of these changes, according to him, have not really been disruptive. In fact, the increased use of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to collect and read data is something most big construction companies have already switched over to. This can be echoed in the thought that the Mace Group, one of our clients, has shared in their blog. Read more
So, are you still pondering about making the switch? We bring you VisiLean – our digital construction management solution.
Steps to switch over to VisiLean, our complete Digital Construction Management Solution
Start with a review of your existing processes, understand your team and their requirements, address the pain points, and take the first steps. But start, start today.
With VisiLean, we address the heart of construction – production management. The dedicated modules allow you to digitalise your production planning, monitoring, and tracking, and the right set of tools to provide production control, VisiLean helps you transition seamlessly towards lean digitalisation.
Take the first steps towards digitalisation and save significant time and cost on your construction projects. Sign up for your 30 days fully featured free trial at VisiLean.