The construction industry is experiencing a crisis. Demand is growing, but it’s outpacing the availability of skilled labor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 263,000 open construction jobs as of June 2018, and the industry is likely not going to be able to completely reverse this shortage, especially as it continues to grow.
The industry must respond, but how?
To make gains against the shortage, construction companies must figure out how to replace some of the manpower of open jobs with technology that drives efficiency and more productivity per worker. As they look to do more with less, the key lies in digital transformation.
Data is going to be huge in this space. Ultimately, the industry must drive productivity by the individual, because, due to the talent shortage, they’re not going to be able to hire as many workers as they would in an ideal world. The creation of connected job sites with telematics and IoT technology will make sure assets - people, heavy equipment and on-road vehicles - are fully utilized and productive.
For equipment management, GPS tracking gives managers real-time insight into every vehicle’s location at any given time and the movement of people through a job site. This helps people be at the right place at the right time and gives managers insight into whether a worker is on site when they should be, to maximize utilization. Managers can also use telematics to make decisions about equipment to ensure production is on schedule and take action if the jobsite falls behind and monitor for overutilization or underutilization of assets on a job.
Automation is also an emerging area helping to improve construction efficiency, allowing workers and operators to cut back on administrative tasks and reserve more time for more strategic aspects of their jobs. Digitizing paperwork, for example, saves time with reporting and compliance and gives all staff time back in their day to contribute to the bottom line. Drones, another emerging technology, are speeding up tasks like job site inspections, which would take much longer and require more worker hours to complete on the ground.
The global construction market is continuing to grow. PwC projects it will be $1.5 trillion worldwide by 2030, putting pressure on executives and leaders in the industry to do more with less in order to remain competitive. Companies can’t control the number of workers available in the national talent pool, but they can make the most of the workers they have - and the best way to do so is through embracing technology, which will also help them cut costs and boost revenue.
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