While the construction industry maintains a reputation as resistant to utilizing and adopting digital technology to streamline processes, it's actually undergoing a wave of digital transformation. Forward-thinking construction businesses are driving change within the industry by implementing innovative tools and enlisting technology partners to work faster and more effectively.
What is digital transformation in the construction industry?
It's true that the process of starting such a transformation can be daunting. What does digital transformation for the construction industry even look like?
In short, digital transformation is the process of implementing technology to optimize, modernize and digitize processes. For construction, that means implementing digital tools that improve communication and contract management workflows, increase safety measures, and finish work faster. Forward-thinking construction companies are adopting tools that enhance reporting, allow employees to clock in with their smartphones, stream safety videos, and even leverage their tech stack during the bidding process.
What are the benefits of digital transformation?
With projects with moving parts, multiple stakeholders, and short timelines, construction companies may find it difficult to find the time and information to upgrade their pen and paper analog processes for the cost-effective digital solutions of the future. Workforce turnover, fragmentation of the value chain, highly specialized projects, and restrictive deadlines are hurdles in adopting new, advanced technology. But investing time and energy into digital transformation has incredible benefits.
Innovative construction companies that have already invested in a digital transformation are seeing improved collaboration, increased worker safety, improved productivity, the breaking of silos, cost reductions, and a newly agile workforce.
But with the variety of tools and strategies at our disposal, digital transformation isn't an all-purpose process that can be easily applied to any construction company, which is why it's so important for companies to weigh their options, keep a close eye on evolving trends, and implement a toolkit specifically geared to help their business succeed.
7 trends enabling digital transformation in construction
1. Emphasis on worker safety
New workflow software is making it easier to manage projects and improve safety conditions for employees. Workers can now review and fill out digital safety surveys on-site, quickly and easily report safety hazards, and even stream safety videos.
With the ability to log and track safety inspections in real-time, response times are quicker, the construction site safer, and documentation more rigorous and detailed.
2. Embracing automation
As workforce turnover continues to be a headache for construction companies, utilizing technology to increase automation allows you to do more with a smaller workforce. New tools are creating more efficiencies during an increasingly complicated design process. Standardized design elements can now be automatically stored in digital design libraries.
Design options for a given project can be automatically implemented with generative design tools. In the field, business process automation (BPA) tools allow companies to eliminate bottlenecks, maintain timelines, and track data and financials.
3. Improved collaboration
With construction companies overseeing an array of projects, all at various stages, and with their own distinct challenges, collaboration is key — and thankfully, never easier with technology.
Companies that enable digital transformation can instantly manage their independent on-site teams, sync progress across departments, change orders, update field workers and clients, and solve problems quicker and more efficiently. Using real-time communication to collaborate with team members breaks down silos and streamlines company processes.
4. Leveraging mobile
Mobile tools in the hands of your on-site team allow for a boost in productivity, enhanced reporting, and fewer errors. Now, analog management tasks can be streamlined. Construction workers can clock in, report expenses, collect field data, and update progress reports on their smartphones.
Business apps are now making the construction process easier and safer, with mobile functions. Best of all, mobile tools enable managers to organize and communicate operational activities, keeping projects running on time.
5. Enhanced operational efficiency
Digital transformation can be a costly investment. Construction companies rely on piles of data. Older, analog systems could see that information spread across multiple spreadsheets and servers, resulting in a time-consuming and inefficient process. But implementing new systems saves time and money in the long term by enhancing operational efficiency.
Construction companies that embrace a centralized, data-driven system assure that all members of your team are accessing the same data and information. Cloud-based software reduces manual operations tasks, reduces idle time for on-site teams, and allows your operations team to focus more time on upcoming bids and projects.
6. Refocus project baselines
Accurately scheduling a construction timeline is a critical operation for a project's overall success — and it's a process that can be made easier thanks to digital transformation. Technology can help map out the fastest path to complete a project by utilizing updating scheduling metrics even as a project moves forward.
By streamlining this laborious process, timeline projections for clients and owners are much more accurate, and potential risks and challenges are more easily identified. Automated monthly reports prevent unforeseen challenges and allow for a safer working environment for your team.
7. Connection enterprise-wide
Employing digital transformation to increase a construction company's communication immediately affects efficiency. Speech-to-text functions, on-site HD cameras tracking project progress, and real-time updates allow on-site workers to provide instantaneous daily reports and progress tracking.
Bid management software is helping management and operations stay on top of upcoming projects, connect with potential clients, and track responses. And with project managers, owners, and subcontractors for any given project often being located in different cities or states, virtual meeting technology allows meetings and updates to take place anytime, anywhere.
How Notarize can help drive your digital transformation
Innovative construction companies looking to start a digital transformation of their own can start with quick and easy wins. For example, the NotarizeSM platform allows your team to get important documents (notices, liens, permits, etc.) signed and notarized online from anywhere, so they’ll never have to leave the construction site to seek out a notary. Implementing an online notarization platform like Notarize as part of your digital transformation can unlock a number of benefits for your construction company.
Construction companies that embrace digital transformation before their rivals stand to realize the rewards of automation, operational efficiencies, improved collaboration, and safer environments for employees.
Schedule a demo to learn more about how Notarize can help create more efficiencies for your construction company.