It seems like new technology solutions to construction company problems are coming out every day. They all promise to save time, improve efficiency and boost your performance. Some in the industry embrace new technology easily – almost too quickly – and others are reluctant to try new solutions at all.
With a thoughtful approach, there is a middle ground. Do your research and see if there are some options worth a try. Here’s a few ideas to get you headed in the right direction.
Top apps and technologies
In its 2016 Construction Technology Report, JBKnowledge listed 10 of the top apps for builders. I’ve summarized them here so you can get a feel for the kinds of tools available.
- AutoCAD 360: A mobile drawing and drafting tool that lets you view, create, edit and share AutoCAD drawings on mobile devices. It’s a great way to access drawings on the job site and with clients.
- BIM 360: Field management software that connects building designers, engineers and construction professionals. It allows them to interact with building information management info from the office to the job site for faster construction project delivery.
- Bluebeam: A suite of software tools that allow multiple people to create, mark up and edit PDFs, including CAD documents.
- HCSS: Software that helps you run your construction business. It includes estimating and budding, project management, dispatching and scheduling, safety, fleet management, payroll and accounting.
- iAuditor: A safety and quality inspection app that works from mobile devices and helps eliminate paper forms.
- LinkedIn: An online networking platform that many companies use to build their reputation and source qualified talent.
- PlanGrid: A construction blueprint app that connects the field, trailer and office with up-to-date blueprints, markups, punch lists, RFIs and more.
- Predictive Solutions (DB02): Occupational safety software that helps you save lives by predicting workplace injuries.
- Procore: Construction project management software: “The Construction Operating System.”
- Sage: Online business management, bookkeeping and accounting software.
Tips for integrating technology
Change can be hard, and it’s easy to let potential technology solutions pass you by – especially if your business seems to be running well. If you’re ready to try out a new system, you’d be wise to plan carefully. Here are some strategies for successful implementation based on a presentation by PlanGrid.
- Lead from the top
Someone near the top of the organization needs to show strong support for the technology. If leaders don’t believe in it, workers in the field will almost never follow.
- Start small
Begin with one new piece of technology at a time. If you’re looking at a suite of products, start with just one application in the suite or pilot an app with a small group of people. Work your way into your team’s practices incrementally.
- Find a compelling benefit
Start with software that can make a big impact on something your workers really care about – like time and hassle. You’ll capture their interest if you can save them trips back to the trailer or get them home earlier.
- Encourage teamwork
Look for opportunities to share the work of using the new app, and use it to collaborate. When users share documents and communicate using the software, they’ll quickly see the benefit, and their co-workers will observe it and want to join in.
- Share responsibility
After you’ve piloted the software, ask for input about how the team will share responsibility for using it, updating plans, etc.
The number of technology solutions and the job of rolling them out can seem daunting. However, you almost have to begin incorporating some of these tools if you want to stay competitive. Good luck. Let me know what’s working for you.