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Stacking the Construction Tech Deck

Learn how the construction industry has quickly adapted by embracing technological capabilities.
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Few industries have had to adapt and embrace technological capabilities as quickly as the construction industry. Companies of all sizes have seen the substantial impact of these tools in streamlining workflows and operating more efficiently and cost-effectively. Our advisors at FORVIS utilize industry-leading technologies and strategic partnerships to help drive business value and assist the leaders of client organizations in modernizing platforms, tools, and governance practices through process improvement and innovative technology solutions. This article will address some of the emerging trends in technology that can benefit construction companies.

Growing Focus on Efficiencies in Inventory Management and Procurement

Due to economic uncertainty, construction leaders and subcontractors are prioritizing their focus on inventory cycles. Labor shortages and inflation continue to create a challenging landscape, especially when contractors are pressed to squeeze as much as possible out of job margins. Thus, there is a huge need for a better, more efficient inventory process—either a software solution or an evolution of current process—to meet the moment. Different industries have tendencies to bifurcate the cycle and focus on different points within the process. For example, concrete and asphalt companies are concerned with materials management, whereas specialty contractors are more focused on procurement. Overall, construction companies should take this operations focus into account for their continued growth.

Increased Flexibility in Integration

As the technological world grows, so does the need for integration of ad hoc and ERP software. Ease of integration is a major differentiator as companies consider which solution best fits their business. The industry is seeing major players in “plug-ins” becoming more flexible to gain market share. ERP options are also responding to market needs by increasing automation in other or all areas. Users are seeking a streamlined approach to business systems, and software providers are viewing integration flexibility as a way to offer a “one-stop shop” approach. For example, Trimble, a technology industry leader, has adopted “broaden the options, deepen the integration” as its strategy. The Trimble Construction One suite illustrates this well: they are utilizing B2W technology to run the full cycle from bid (takeoff and estimating) to build (project management and site operations) to manage (equipment and financial management). Newer players and legacy brands are increasingly aware that they need fluid API technology at their disposal to stay competitive.

Embrace Automation or Risk Falling Behind

With the evolving construction landscape, it is imperative to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) and automation for companies to stay competitive. According to Trimble, AI is “not simply a technological advancement—it’s a revolution that is touching every industry.” Contractors resisting this shift may face inefficiencies, increased project costs, and a reduced ability to compete in an industry that is rapidly embracing automation. Beyond efficiency gains, AI offers benefits such as cost-effectiveness and improved safety. Increased recognition of AI's advantages among clients and stakeholders makes it a strategic investment for companies committed to innovation. AI not only automates manual processes, but also signifies a commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in a fiercely competitive market. The time to invest in AI and automation is now, as it has the potential to revolutionize the construction sector and redefine industry success.

The overarching challenge of any technology discussion comes down to people. As mentioned earlier, labor shortages are real and span all industries. This amplifies the need for increased efficiency as companies must do more with less. In turn, businesses must be aware of their team’s skill sets and workloads, while considering if they have the resources to champion the change management process and push to the finish line. Steve Jobs said it best: “It’s not the tools [technology] you have faith in. Tools are just tools. They work or they don’t work. It’s the people you have the faith in or not.”

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