Construction is a capital-intensive industry that requires a significant financial commitment from the outset.
According to Oxford Economics, the global construction market is worth more than $10 trillion and is expected to grow by 50% between 2020 and 2030. Despite being one of the largest sectors across the globe, the pace of embracing innovation has been glacial, to say the least. However, if you are looking to build a competitive and even moderately successful construction company in the twenty-first century, it necessitates finding new and better methods to reduce costs and improve operational effectiveness on a regular basis.
One of your best bets is to implement digitalization that is both flexible and feature-rich. There are a number of areas where digitalization can help organizations become more operationally and financially efficient. The capacity to communicate and collaborate within teams is enhanced, as is the culture of coordination along with the ability to make well-informed decisions at high levels of performance, and the streamlining of corporate processes as a whole.
KanBo software provides a comprehensive solution for construction businesses that are searching for an easy and streamlined path to digitalization. The enterprise-grade business process and work management platform brings everything a construction organization needs to ensure the successful digitization of processes, departments, and work.
There are different terminologies that are thrown around when it comes to digitalization. Before we delve into further details, it is important to understand the nomenclature and what multiple terms stand for.
- Digitalization – It is an all-inclusive process that enables the conversion of analog information into a digital format. The result can be represented by an object, image, sound, document, or a signal through a series of numbers that describe a discrete set of points.
- Digital Transformation – This term refers to a comprehensive strategy that entails all the details related to the modification of processes using digital technology.
- Digital Businesses – Organizations that blur the line between what’s physical and digital through innovative strategies and processes are termed digital businesses.
Introducing Innovation in Construction Industry with Digitalization
As large as the global construction industry is, it has not been receptive to digitalization and technological advancement as other sectors. This means that a large variety of business processes, construction trends, and work are carried out relying on manual and conventional ways which have increasingly become more and more inefficient and obsolete. This is exactly why the construction industry requires digitalization right at this moment to introduce a breath of fresh air. Here are some of the most popular ways top construction businesses are using digitalization to their advantage.
Digitalization of Construction Processes
Whenever and wherever possible, the most cutting-edge technologies should be deployed in your construction business. It all starts with digitalizing the planning process relying on BIM or Building Information Modelling. The process involves a three-dimensional computer model that encompasses all aspects of a structure’s construction, from civil engineering to specialized building equipment. This is made possible by a combination of systematic construction and integrated design.
When it comes to bringing 3D models of the construction company’s customers’ fantasy homes into the real world for their consideration, the organizations can use virtual reality environments. For repetitive or dangerous building work, the employment of automation and robots in manufacturing processes can lead the way. The building sites can use 3D scans, drones, and aerial assessments. Using these metrics, construction businesses can see how the project is progressing, and they can use this information to monitor their business goals.
All building data can be consolidated into a digital format and operations will become more efficient and transparent throughout the lifespan of a building in accordance with the organizational aims. From there on, the construction businesses can target the integration of construction and operation to intertwine design and construction.
Digitalization of Construction Design
When it comes to design, Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be used across almost all types of projects. The use of digital design methodologies enables design experts to work together in a more efficient manner. Processes may operate in parallel, increasing transparency and minimising expensive mistakes that might have a negative impact on the project quality and cost-efficiency. BIM reduces the number of revisions, which saves both time and money.
Digitalization of design makes it possible to utilize technical model data right on the job site. Questions may be answered quickly and information can be passed along to subcontractors when models and drawings are readily available on-site. Supporting managers in their daily project management, digitalization also aids in analyzing data and automating the majority of the labor that was previously done manually.
Example of Digitalized Construction – Smart Building
Goldbeck introduced the idea of the smart building where the building’s mechanical and electrical systems have sensors attached to them that interact with each other. By comparing the present and desired circumstances, the environment can be automatically managed and optimized depending on the needs of the user. Energy consumption may be greatly lowered since empty rooms aren’t heated needlessly and lighting can be set to automatically turn on and off based on how much time is spent in a certain room. The leading construction business is testing this in the Gateway Gardens facility in Frankfurt.
This pilot project’s sensors collect information on the number of people in the space, the temperature, the amount of noise, the humidity, and the quality of the air. They serve as the foundation for cloud-based data collecting, which allows for the compilation and analysis of data from Goldbeck buildings. This information is then used to help the organization design new products.
Fostering Innovation with Digitalization
People may now work in new ways since new technologies are becoming more accessible and allowing them to be more efficient. In addition to the business strategies of most organizations, digitalization has a direct impact on customers, since digital services threaten old business practices. Consumers have more money to spend, and they want more openness from firms they do business with.
There has been an uptick in remote employment, virtual education, and e-commerce because of the COVID-19 epidemic. There is a rising need for linked solutions, as well as for quality, usefulness, and design in new and enhanced goods. That’s why the development and construction of urban areas and buildings can be improved through digitalization.
Meeting Sustainability Goals with Digitalization
In order to meet climate targets, research and development on sustainable production and consumption are critical, and digitization plays a major part in this. While current technology, methodologies, and business models may cut carbon emissions in half, attaining climate neutrality will need a search for new approaches. In order to address the issue of environmental sustainability, focusing on innovation as well as research and development is essential. There is a growing desire for digitalized solutions, as well as better quality, functionality and design, as a result of new technologies. Some of the major sustainability goals that can be met with research and development are as follows:
United Nations’ Sustainability Goal
Goal 9 proposed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is directly related to construction businesses. It encourages large-scale enterprises to invest in and develop resilient infrastructure along with promoting sustainable and inclusive industrialization. Furthermore, the goal also compels organizations to foster an environment of innovation backed by robust research and development.
Sustainability Goals that Construction Companies Should Target
- Access to Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure
Infrastructural development that is environmentally friendly and accredited along with the implementation of models of PPP. Infrastructural growth and new building of transportation facilities, as well as expansion of telecom grid. Involvement in industrial organizations and activities.
- Promoting Healthy Lives & Well-Being
This includes the promotion of workplace health and safety, as well as health services and sports activities for employees along with real estate development in the healthcare industry. For the benefit of the communities in which corporations operate, corporate sponsorship and citizenship should be done.
- Inclusive Learning Opportunities for All
Employees have access to a wide range of continuing education opportunities along with the construction and operation of academic institutions. Moreover, there should be an encouragement of intellectual endeavors and cooperation with academic institutions and involvement in corporate social responsibility and sponsorship programs that support the development of young talent.
- Sustainable and Accessible Water and Sanitation Management
Ensure that flood prevention and water treatment facilities are being built along with the development of water supply and wastewater treatment and disposal systems. Companies should ensure environmental friendliness throughout the building process.
- Access to Sustainable and Affordable Energy
Projects of energy infrastructure should be built along with building and infrastructure projects that are environmentally friendly. Construction businesses should also build and operate renewable energy projects.
BIM Enabled Digitalization
The development of novel BIM applications has remained a shared long-term focus for all construction companies. Using a 3D computer model, this digital planning and execution technique unites all parties engaged in a project. Data on timing and cost may be added to the model, allowing for real-time monitoring of building progress and enhanced planning procedures. The model can also be used to ease maintenance and operation, based on the extensive information available. As a result, BIM is a key tool for decreasing construction risks for a wide range of construction businesses.
Design and construction teams contribute distinct and specialized competencies that are essential to the project’s successful completion. These abilities may be used to their fullest extent when they are applied in a team environment. To effectively embrace iterative design, architects and designers must be able to communicate information with structural engineers early on in the process. As part of the design process, computer simulations using 3D models may be used to evaluate plans and look at how various materials interact with designs. Interior designers can use tools like light simulators to see how designs will look at different times of the day. Physicists can use these tools to test the design’s integrity.
As the project moves forward, construction teams can be guided by detailed construction schedules complete with animations to obtain precise completion dates for the project. These complex schedules even increase the usage of prefabricated components, resulting in higher efficiency gains and maybe even additional structural advancements. There are four phases or stages of any BIM process:
Phase 1 – Design
Buildings, residences, and infrastructure may be improved by using digital design principles. Good practices, secure by default, and information management should be used from the beginning to ensure that data is safe and accessible.
Phase 2 – Build
Expand your digital construction capabilities by taking advantage of the latest advancements in technology. Securing and sharing information enables the supplier chain, design teams, construction crews, and clients to work together more closely throughout the building process to increase quality, safety, and productivity
Phase 3 – Operate
Use real-time data to improve the performance of the built environment and its social and economic infrastructure. Predicting and avoiding service interruptions with smart asset management. Existing assets and infrastructure may be digitized.
Phase 4 – Integrate
Use venues and services to enhance the quality of life for citizens. Those details should be included in the planning, development, operation, and integration of our economic and social infrastructure.
How Construction Organizations Can Use KanBo to Implement Digitalization
You may rely on digitalization to handle daily business processes, tasks, and assignments as well as your company’s operations. A broad variety of corporate processes, workflows, operations, and resources may be integrated, standardized, streamlined, and automated through comprehensive digitization. For example, it can help construction businesses manage the whole life-cycle of building projects in multiple regions at the same time.
Digitalization is a powerful tool that enables organizations to identify and remove those aspects of the project that result in waste and excessive resource utilization. In the future, if you don’t digitalize your business, you’ll be at a disadvantage to your competitors. Increasing numbers of businesses are putting their money where their mouth is by investing in the digitization of their operations and business processes.
One of the premier software solutions that construction companies can rely on is KanBo. It is a comprehensive business process and work management platform that can be deployed on any technology stack using either on-premise or cloud-based infrastructure. Here are some of the major upsides that can help construction companies introduce digitalization with KanBo:
- Transparency And Efficiency In The Operational ProcessesDue to the intricacies involved in the construction industry, it’s difficult to adopt transparency in the industry. Acquiring accurate project costs data is easier with digital reforms. You may also rely on a digitalization software like KanBo to keep track of everything so you can evaluate progress in general. From a bird’s eye perspective, you may more easily see areas where you can save money and get an edge over the competition. Digital transformation makes it possible for all of this to take place. It is easier and more accurate to bid on new work if you have knowledge about prior jobs. Increased accuracy minimizes the risk of bidding on new contracts, hence boosting your chances of staying profitable.You can solve simple recurrent challenges now that you have better access to so much data. Detecting an issue before it becomes a problem is considerably simpler with this technology. When your construction business has not been digitized, you’re left in the dark, which means that wasteful workflows and business processes continue to occur.
- Effective Equipment And Material ManagementIn any construction business, more than half of the allocated funds are spent on equipment and supplies. Many causes contribute to this problem, including significant pilferage and human mistake, as well as a lack of clarity concerning timely material delivery and inaccurate log entries. With digitalization, you have the option to automate and integrate inventory and equipment management across all of your company’s departments, allowing for real-time data flow from one end to the other.Another important cause of stress for modern contractors, remodelers, and construction project managers is the expenditure of running a firm on a daily basis, which is known as “overhead.” Working on many projects at the same time requires a great deal of coordination. A digital system provides you with real-time visibility and control of all construction projects from any location using a sophisticated digital platform.
- Improved Bid Accuracy And Budgeting For ProjectsWhen it comes to the construction industry, it is entirely possible that you might lose a large amount of money even before you begin developing. That’s why it’s so important to be precise when it comes to estimates and bids. Even little variations might quickly pile up and cause you to go over your budget. If you overestimate, someone else may win the auction. Your profit margin is slashed if it’s too low. Consequently, finding a balance between acquiring new clients and maintaining a healthy profit margin is critical.Achieving this equilibrium in a manual building business process is a difficult task. Because it makes it easier to keep track of and record costs associated with many aspects of a project, digital transformation is no longer just an option but a critical necessity. When computing overall expenses, a digital and automated system can use more complex data analytics. As a result, you’ll be able to make better-informed judgments when it comes to bidding and estimating project costs.
- Billing Across Departments Will Be Faster And More AccurateThere is a multitude of ways to invoice in the construction industry, and certain projects may need the use of several payment methods. Since most companies are working on many projects at the same time, it may be difficult to keep track of how much to charge consumers and when to bill them. By automating the whole billing process and saving you time, digitalization may help alleviate some of the uncertainty that comes with the billing process. Ultimately, this will ensure financial efficiency.
- Moving to a Digital Solution Brings Agility and ScalabilityWhen a construction organization relies on a digitalization software like KanBo, it is not just about seeing a better return on investment. The deployment of digital transformation throughout the company across multiple teams puts the business in a better position to be more agile and scalable. Apart from that, the organization has the option to choose between on-premise and cloud-based solutions that offer different levels of flexibility, control, and cost-efficiency. This means that through digitalization construction businesses can build and nurture highly productive work environments that leverage the power of data analytics and meaningful insights.
How KanBo Helps Construction Firms Implement Digital Transformation
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small start-up or a large company; you need access to an agile and comprehensive digital platform that acts as the centre for all of your work and business activities. Any construction firm of any size might benefit from KanBo’s work-and-business process management platform’s flexibility and agility. As a result of KanBo, construction firms are no longer need to build silos that often inhibit communication between departments that could be working together to produce new ideas and innovation. In every company, KanBo has all the building blocks for any kind of hierarchical structure, from the CEO all the way down to the lowest-level employee.
C-Level Executives May Use KanBo as A Digital Home Base
Using KanBo, senior-level executives may look up key information such as strategies, projects, tasks, knowledge, internal communication, and breaking news inside the company’s network of collaborators. In addition to serving as an agile work management tool, the platform may also function as a digital headquarters for senior management. As a result of KanBo’s comprehensive perspective, construction industry executives have immediate access to data and analytics presented in a highly visual way. Because they can make quick, but well-informed decisions, they can help the company’s overall innovation strategy.
Citizen Developers May Use KanBo’s Low-Code Platform
There are several advantages to using a low-code strategy, including faster application delivery and fewer hand-coding. Low-code platforms make app development more accessible to “citizen developers,” such as business analysts and project managers, who may have only a rudimentary understanding of coding. It is possible for non-technical employees to have a stronger impact on the organization in a number of ways, including reducing IT department backlogs, reducing shadow IT, and assuming more ownership of BPM workstreams. Thus, a better operational design is generated. This in turn leads to the generation of transformative innovation.
KanBo Is a No-Code Platform for Those without Programming Experience
With no-code development platforms (NCDPs), developers and non-developers alike may create application software utilizing graphical user interfaces and setups instead of relying on traditional computer programming. Middle managers and personnel who are unfamiliar with coding may find it difficult. If you’re looking to speed up the application development process, KanBo and other no-code development platforms are comparable to low-code development platforms. Increasingly mobile workers and a limited supply of experienced software developers have led to the rise of these platforms in the corporate world.
KanBo Is a Project and Workflow Management Solution for Information Workers
Projects are short-term initiatives that aim to create something new, whereas processes are long-term endeavors with well-defined steps that must be followed to attain a certain goal. All of the features that employees need for effective project and process management are included in KanBo’s platform. Using the software’s building parts, information workers from a range of teams and departments may easily collaborate and communicate.
Importance of Digitalization for Construction Companies in the Post-Pandemic Era
As a preemptive measure, the top construction firms were investing considerably in technology. From video-call site meetings to processing digital orders, architects, consultants, designers, and suppliers have had no choice but to cooperate and collaborate digitally. The epidemic has caused a terrible shakeout, despite the fact that the use of collaborative technologies has already increased rapidly.
The construction IT business has also been affected by the reducing backlogs and more competitive bidding environments that many contractors are experiencing. Due to tight cash flow, construction technology companies have been obliged to lay off workers and reduce expenses. A new wave of bankruptcies among smaller firms might be triggered by the uncertainty around recovery timescales and the threat of viral reappearance, further speeding the trend toward industry consolidation.
During the testing times of 2022 and beyond, construction companies find themselves in a very difficult situation where they need to innovate, not as an option but as a necessity. They must constantly change, adapt, and become more agile in their business processes and strategic planning in order to assure uninterrupted operations with little disturbance.
One of the most complete digitalization systems for construction, KanBo software offers a broad variety of building blocks for the creation of a wide range of processes across various departments and the execution and optimization of those processes.
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