Connected Construction: The Code to Enhanced Execution

A recent report[1] by World Economic Forum suggests that a full-scale digitalization could lead to a 10-17% savings in the Operations phase of a construction company. This kind of potential savings could only be achieved if the construction company achieves collaboration by ensuring that the people, systems, and processes are in sync and are able to work towards holistically transforming the enterprise. Only when processes, people, and systems are connected and working in tandem, so we observe that productivity across the organization is significantly improved, and the company achieves professionalism which could result in the potential cost savings that the report mentions.

While construction companies look to invest in software applications and state-of-the-art technology solutions, they often struggle to get a grip on all their projects. Very often different pieces of information are available in isolation or perhaps not correlated, so managers and executives cannot see the big picture.

While there could be innumerable challenges that this could bring to the construction company, the following are some of the biggest ones that construction companies should be aware of:

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  • Siloed systems and processes lead to errors and omissions – Many construction companies are grappling with legacy systems that often do not communicate with other external systems. What’s worse statistics[2] indicate that as much as 95% of the data captured in the industry goes unused. While this could potentially be for several reasons, a part of it could be attributed to legacy systems being interoperable, data is not available in real-time for processing. This leads to either omissions or errors which impede productivity and cause delays and reworks which increase project costs.
  • Lack of standardized processesA surprisingly large number of companies is grappling with processes with are not standardized. This implies that stakeholders are often not aware of the steps which they might need to conduct or often look forward to approvals in case of deviations from the norm, causing delays and inefficiencies in the system. Having standard processes and ensuring your technology systems allow for automation, can ensure minimal human intervention and that your construction business could actually run on auto-pilot mode.

A construction management platform like Steer enables your organization to thread together people, processes, and systems which allows executives in your organization to gain full visibility of construction activities, tightly monitor schedules, enable on-demand and remote inspections, and minimize project risks. By taking a holistic approach to construction management, Steer can synchronize various aspects of construction, its stakeholders, and existing systems.

The following are some of the relevant features of Steer Platform which ensure that your construction business can be more connected.

  • Activity Feed - A social media-like newsfeed feature of the Steer Platform ensures that anyone can share updates in real-time on the newsfeed to share the progress of activities on the job sites. Completed a milestone on your project and feel like celebrating with your team – just share it on the activity feed. What’s more – the hashtag ‘#’ feature ensures that items with similar hashtags could be aggregated and reflected on the daily reports.

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  • Mobile/Tablet App - The ability to manage your construction projects wherever you can be enabled by applications on your mobile and tablet. Whether in transit or on a holiday, the Steer applications would ensure that you have all the key data and approvals at the tap of a click. Notifications would ensure that any important piece of information never goes unnoticed.
  • Approvals - An entire sequence of activities can get stalled or delayed if the approvals don’t come in time. Using traditional methods for approvals like paper-based forms or emails, it’s possible that an important approval request gets buried under a lot of pending work. This is not likely to happen if a notification pops up on the manager's phone and all he must do is tap a button. By ensuring timely approvals, one can ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in the project.
  • Reports - It’s true that you can’t manage what you can’t measure; Steer’s reporting module ensures that companies are always on top of KPIs and metrics which accurately reflect the health of their projects. This also helps executives take corrective actions on key areas which need to be improved on.
  • Gantt Chart - While many construction companies might already be using MS Project or Primavera for tracking the progress of their individual tasks, Steer has this functionality in-built on the platform itself. While tracking the progress of tasks might be useful, ensuring project management and its impact on other areas of the project would be something that would give managers absolute control of their projects. Are you someone who is already using MS Project or Primavera? Don’t worry, you could already look to import the file and get started on Steer.
  • Automation - One key aspect of productivity that we ignore is automation – the ability to augment tasks that require human intervention. Steer is built on top of QuickReach, a No-Code platform that has an automation layer in-built. This means that logic could be preset into the platform which would not require manual inputs before completing a task. This would ensure a part of the process could already be on autopilot and you would have less to worry about.

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  • Integration - One of the biggest challenges which companies face is integration into existing technology systems and infrastructure. Companies often have legacy systems that do not communicate with each other, resulting in data sitting being isolated. Effective use of RPA technologies or bots can ensure that data could communicate between systems. By using bots developed by the platform itself, Steer ensures seamless communication between systems.
  • Portfolio Dashboard - A bird’s eye view of how your portfolio is doing. At the executive management level, this could be extremely critical to get a grasp on how the different construction projects across job sites are doing and what are the key parameters on which executives should be looking to focus their energies on.

Connected job sites using a construction suite like Steer will allow real-time information about almost every aspect of a construction operation available to all the relevant parties, regardless of whether those parties are on-site or elsewhere, improving collaboration. Furthermore, connected construction helps in tracking material and resources effectively because the construction sites are equipped with sensors.

This can help in executing the work packages/modules to plan construction activity. From putting design information streamed from a single point of truth into the palms of operatives, to information by geolocation, to remote site monitoring, personnel location tracking, live markups, and the seamless transfer of as-built information, Steer empowers connected job sites which help deliver powerful analytics that improve project execution.

Are you an organization that is hungry for growth and want to enhance business results? Are you still grappling with processes that are not standardized or systems that prohibit organizational growth? It’s time to thread people, processes, and systems and Steer can help you get started with the journey. Reach out to one of our digital success consultants to take your first step in improving productivity and ensuring scalability for your organization.

 

References:

[1] https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Shaping_the_Future_of_Construction_full_report__.pdf

[2] https://fmicorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FMI_BigDataReport.pdf

Siddharth Wadehra, Head of Partnerships & Research

Sid Wadehra is a seasoned and a result-oriented professional with varied experience spanning geographies from leading multinationals to fast growing start-ups. His industry experience is well-complimented with business education from a global business school. Sid's expertise include digital transformation, corporate strategy, and innovation management.

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