HINT: Look for construction methods to begin looking a lot more like manufacturing methods going forward. And this change will likely occur much sooner than most people think. The reason is simple. Manufacturing in a controlled environment can assemble complex construction components with far less labor, 365 days a year, in any weather condition, with and more predictable scheduling, staging and delivery. All of this is made possible - and increasingly more efficient - through the rapid advance of technologies.
Anyone over the age of 25 and some of us way over the age of 25 have learned that the mechanical world we were born into has evolved into a rapidly changing digital world. We are now in the age of disruption where we must challenge "what works" with the same enthusiasm we once reflected embracing it. Remember the adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Today’s reality is much more forward leaning. If we are to maximize our potential in business today, we must determine early how we will be the beneficiary, and not the victim, of this well-established digital trend.
What follows are three key areas of opportunity to consider.
Introspection – It is wise to pause briefly at the start of the year to clean the slate, take a fresh look at goals and, together with the entire leadership team, look within our organization and across the marketplace we serve - asking some crucial questions:
Are we doing all we can to win in competition; to make our best even better?
Do we have a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities our business and our industry will encounter over the next several years?
Do we fully appreciate and respond to the challenges our customers face?
This kind of collaborative exploration can be very revealing and powerful. The result is often a far more competitive game plan for the road ahead. It is a remarkably simple process that pays huge dividends and tends to help everyone work in a more synergistic fashion – focused on the things that matter. Introspection is a valued part of any strategic planning process and never fails to prove worthy of the time spent as we move optimistically into a new year.
Education – An accelerated pace of change demands an accelerated pace of learning. As our most valued business asset, our team members must be prepared to tackle tomorrow’s opportunities as well as today's. Continuing education fuels the flexibility companies need to adapt and, thankfully, has become far more convenient to attain. This reality prompts more questions businesses should be asking themselves:
Are we fully leveraging what our business systems can do?
Are our team members “up to speed” with the market’s expectations, best practices, new technologies, and time-saving tools?
Are we committed to growing every team member's knowledge as an essential element of our organizational culture?
Periodic updates improve system capability but without adequate training updates, important enhancements can easily go under-utilized. The payback potential from major investments in systems is diluted when updates expand system capabilities beyond the training the system users receive. At a minimum, it's money left on the table unnecessarily. What's more, team members with a better understanding of what systems can do are also in a much better position to help improve the productivity of those around them.
Technology – Last, but not least, the importance of exploiting advanced technologies where appropriate cannot be understated. The productivity and communications efficiencies possible from new technologies are simply too dramatic to ignore. Competitiveness now relies upon sound information (data), responsiveness, integration across multi-functional teams within organizations and, frequently, with client teams as well. It is nearly impossible – and certainly not practical – to build value in a business today without looking at technological improvement opportunities. Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems in design and construction, for instance, are rapidly gaining traction - becoming a mainstream management tool in the development process. Many building owners now require design and construction team members demonstrate BIM capability as a qualification for project participation. These new realities lead to still more questions worthy of asking:
Are the technologies we rely on today making us more, or less, valuable to our customers?
Do our technologies permit us to be as “connected” as the new construction workplace increasingly demands?
Can our existing technologies be improved incrementally and still serve current needs without disruption?
Taken together, these reviews can reveal much about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - informing smart decision-making and far greater competitive potential. There is no time like the present to position your organization for the win!