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Key Tech Tips to Improve Productivity Within Your Construction Company

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Back in 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute issued a report about the construction industry that put into stark relief just how deep the industry’s productivity problems ran. Over the previous two decades, the report found, global labor productivity in the industry had almost completely stalled, averaging just 1% growth annually — during a time frame when global productivity was growing 2.8% and manufacturing was growing 3.6%. 

Construction, as many industry leaders had long suspected, had some serious catching up to do.

Construction Industry Graphic PNG

There’s no one cause of construction’s productivity problem, the report found. It cited everything from mismanagement to informality and mismatches in risk allocations and rewards. But the timing of the industry’s poor performance was eye-opening, given how many new technological tools exist to make the industry more productive than ever. 

The construction industry’s slow embrace of these technological tools is ironic, considering how technologies ranging from tools to machinery have made the industry what it is today. Just try to imagine a construction site without automated or semi-automated equipment. Construction was built on technology. Why not embrace these latest innovations as well?

McKinsey’s report called on the industry to implement new digital technologies ranging from 5D building information modeling to advanced analytics to help the industry live up to its potential. And while technology alone can’t solve all of the industry’s productivity problems, tools like the cloud, collaboration software, building information modeling, and working with a comprehensive provider of IT hardware and support like Cortavo Complete can make an enormous difference.

If you’re looking to make your construction firm more productive, here’s where to begin.

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Embrace the cloud to improve productivity


One of the great challenges facing construction is the industry’s extreme fragmentation. Engineers, workers and equipment are rarely centralized at the same place on a job site, which can make decision making a challenge — especially when you also factor in all the offsite stakeholders like project managers, designers, government officials, fabricators and, of course, the customer.

All stakeholders must be on the same page, or else they risk missing the big picture. Cloud technology keeps everyone aligned and working from the same set of information. It also enables cross-department collaboration, so design teams, project managers and other stakeholders can all see what’s happening in real time, and consider the full consequences of any changes in the project. 

This technology isn’t just convenient; it’s essential for spotting and stopping errors before they balloon into expensive problems or missed deadlines. Real-time collaboration is key for complex projects that require specialized expertise. It connects teams to resources, compresses time cycles and enables quicker approvals.

The cloud can also enable employees to submit expense reports, time cards, work, records and requests for information, saving countless hours in data entry annually while automatically organizing and cataloging critical files.

Keep teams in sync with scheduling and collaboration tools


The cloud is what makes collaboration software tools so effective. Most construction scheduling and collaboration software integrates file sharing and cloud storage, so any files, emails or documents that project managers, workers or engineers need are always available, whether they’re on-site or at an office. 

Some software also offers virtual reality models that clients can examine before builds even begin, reducing the need for physical scaled models that can be costly or less accurate. The cloud also speeds up the sign-off process. 

Because all these solutions are synced in real-time, all stakeholders are able to add notes or suggest changes instantly, then share those changes with anybody who needs to see them.

Picking the right scheduling and collaboration tools can be daunting, since there are so many available. Find one that best enables teams to communicate about project goals and projects, and that allows teams to easily adjust schedules and deadlines. 

The aim is to increase visibility across your entire organization and create a central hub where teams can communicate and access important information, rather than siloing data in different channels. 

Reduce errors with building information modeling


Building information modeling (BIM) is a process for creating digital representations of 3D models. In countries like France, Germany, Italy, India, Hong Kong and South Korea, the BIM process is already mandated by governments for large-scale facilities projects. 

BIM allows for more collaboration between designers and engineers, because each person can collaborate on the same model instead of siloing the project across multiple 2D paper drawings. 

Because the model updates in real time as each stakeholder contributes, BIM speeds up the process, improving efficiency while reducing the risk of errors. It can also help with problem solving, since it offers a complete picture of the project and can even be automated to detect clashes. BIM ensures that everybody is working with the most current information at all times. 

The most recent evolution of BIM is virtual reality applications, which allow immersive visualization and 3D “walkthroughs” of projects. Augmented reality even allows project managers to walk through construction sites and view overlays of BIM models over the existing infrastructure, making it easy to compare the two. Project managers can take instant photos of their walkthroughs to share with engineers or design teams so they have visuals they can use for clarification while talking across departments.

Improve productivity using tools to monitor site progress


Integrated monitoring tools allow visual mapping through drones, sensors or robotics, granting developers a deeper view of complicated sites. These tools also allow developers to compare BIM data with site progress insights to ensure each layout is in compliance, as well as allowing real-time collaboration. 

Progress monitoring software can also comprehensively map site progress, reducing the risk of overruns in the process. This software can also generate daily progress reports for sharing and approval.

Tools like this are excellent for enforcing accountability. They help hold teams and contractors accountable to the deadlines and goals they’ve set by allowing all parties to view their progress and updates — so if someone falls behind, it’s easy to offer help.

Track equipment easily


Major construction projects demand hundreds of thousands in materials, and that’s before you account for all the expensive construction equipment that needs to be cataloged, maintained and delivered to the right place at the right time. If this equipment isn’t properly tracked, projects can come to a complete standstill. 

Project management applications help here, too. By tracking equipment, materials and inventory, teams have a clear report of what will be available and when. These systems even send alerts when equipment is due for maintenance or an audit — and if you’re working with a company like Cortavo, you’ll have the equipment upgraded or replaced almost immediately. 

Just because construction has been slower than other industries to embrace technological innovations doesn’t mean it’s too late for firms to begin implementing them. And given how in recent years many firms have been making up for lost time with their implementation of technology, companies that continue to drag their feet risk falling behind and losing business.

Cortavo is an experienced IT service provider that has spent years providing worry-free and all-inclusive managed IT to construction companies, increasing collaboration and productivity for all involved. 

To learn more about how Cortavo can help your company implement technology to increase productivity and help complete projects on time and under budget, call us at (866) 267-8286 or schedule a chat with us through the calendar below.

 

 

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