The past year has been one of challenges, upheaval and re-invention for the entire world. This is certainly true for the construction industry which is a major contributor to the economy with goods and services that impact the daily lives of everyone. The new year may still hold uncertainty, but here are five ways construction companies can help their business thrive in 2021.
Embrace Digital Transformation and Modernization
Businesses can profit enormously from digital transformation, but it usually involves a learning curve and adjustments to existing systems and workflows. Construction company leaders have a wealth of knowledge about the industry and provide invaluable expertise for projects, but if they are slow to implement technological advancements and instead stick with old methods of doing business, they could be holding the company back. Future growth for individual companies within the industry depends on embracing digital transformation and modernization.
Digital transformation initiatives save money, accelerate processes and solve issues. Manual paper systems for such ubiquitous processes as time cards, safety inspections and project reports are often plagued with a lack of standardization and accountability. They also are legendary for slowing down progress. Implementing digital changes can help. For example, consider deploying an app that provides electronic time cards for construction. Digital transformation does not require much more than embracing the mobile application technology that employees already use daily. Construction companies can use cloud-based mobile platforms to move the most used paper forms to smartphone or tablet-based apps, creating an efficient, standardized process for collecting and sharing important information across the business. Make digital transformation and modernization of workflows a priority for your company in 2021.
Leverage Data in Resource and Workforce Management
Managing resources and a workforce are huge expenses for construction companies. Companies must take advantage of the information at their fingertips and create core competencies around data, analytics, and business intelligence. The ability for different project delivery stakeholders to effectively communicate and streamline information flow between one another is essential in the digital age of construction. Creating a robust, single source of project information can prevent unexpected expenses or delays, and keep operations running smoothly. Workforce management tools allow companies to access metrics and forecasting analytics to better allocate resources at the right time. Leveraging data, along with machine learning, companies can better develop plans and strategies, mitigate risks, take advantage of opportunities and prepare for challenges.
Diversify Supply Chain
Temporary trade restrictions and disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic exposed problems with supply chains for most every industry during the past year. Many construction companies were forced to find alternative suppliers or to pay higher prices for materials. This could be an ongoing issue in the near term. As a result, construction companies should proactively explore a diversification strategy. This includes assessing their established brand loyalties and supplier relationships, while also exploring the options for new alliances and evaluating the risks. Companies need to have a well thought out plan for diversification so that when the need arises, they can make timely and informed decisions on the alternates.
Prioritize Customer Relations
Making customers happy should be a top priority for any construction company. A satisfied and loyal customer is more likely to result in repeat business and refer your company for future construction services. Maintain active communications with your customers during all phases of a project. A good relationship with customers does not necessarily mean that you must cater to their every demand. Strive to be equal partners in the decision-making process. If you encounter customers with overbearing demands, keep the relationship on good terms for the length of the project, but do not hesitate to politely decline to work with them on future jobs.
Cultivating strong customer relations requires time commitment. Although online communication is so easy, and even advocated during the current social distancing environment, do not rely only on messaging or email. Most customers will still prefer some amount of human interaction. Be sure to allow time to develop and build new relationships. Make yourself available and accessible so that potential customers can find out about the value your company provides. Designate someone within the company who will act as a customer service representative, answering online inquiries from those who have questions about the company and its services.
Hire and Build a Strong Workforce
The people who work for a company are central to the business. Hiring dependable, knowledgeable, and skilled employees, along with investment in strategic leaders who inspire collaboration, empathy and trust is key to success. Provide teams with the tools, technology and training they need to succeed. If growing the business is a goal, be sure you have enough staff to handle the workload and that they are properly prepared.
The construction industry will continue to be a major force in the year ahead. Individual companies can be a transformative part of the process if they take key steps to make their business resilient and strong.