Many industries already take advantage of automation. This technology is used in manufacturing, automotive, electronics and healthcare organizations to streamline their projects, increase productivity, and reduce human error. But what about the uses of automation in construction?
Automation is the use of technology to automate certain tasks, specifically tasks that are repetitive and tedious in nature, freeing up employees to perform jobs that demand critical thinking skills and creativity.
To learn about other uses of technology in improving project management, check out this on-demand webinar, Industry Insights: Effective Construction Site Management.
The construction industry can also take advantage of automation to achieve better project management and accelerate timelines, among others. See our subject experts discuss some of the benefits of automation in the workplace in the video below:
Read below to learn about five benefits of automation in construction.
1. A Streamlined Bidding Process
If your construction company’s bidding process involves one person or a team of people in charge of opening invitations to bid, or scheduling meetings to discuss bids, time can be lost until every stakeholder is up-to-date on the project and final decisions can be made.
Due to the still-present effects of the coronavirus pandemic, 44% of contractors are spending more time on the bid completion process.
With automation, bots can be programmed to send notifications to all relevant department members, such as estimators or leadership, whenever a new invitation arrives. Each person involved with the project can quickly access the bid and look for important information.
Bids can be deployed faster with automation, removing the need for a human to analyze each part of the bid and inform stakeholders. As stakeholders make decisions and generate quotes, an automated solution can notify the rest of the team, streamlining this previously time-consuming manual task
All the data generated and used during the bidding process can also be collected to derive insights in the future. For example, when new bid invitations arrive, data from previous bids can inform decisions and make the bid submission process even more efficient and accurate.
2. Increased Productivity
72% of contractors report that construction projects have taken longer than anticipated in 2022. This has been exacerbated by the widening skill shortage in the industry.
Automation can help your construction company empower your workers through the use of a project management solution service.
A project management solution allows users to send automated tasks and appointment reminders to employees and also track the progress of every single task.
Additionally, team members working on the same project have increased visibility over tasks assigned to others. This helps improve communication amongst workers in a team, removing the need for meetings or discussions for updates. This technology is easily accessible everywhere, which means even on-site employees can be notified of upcoming and newly deployed tasks.
Similar to the bidding process, this project data can also be used to find any bottlenecks in previous projects, measure time and material use, and help superintendents or foremen improve operations in future projects.
3. Improved Employee Satisfaction
Because automation reduces the amount of extremely repetitive and tedious tasks from a person’s workflow, it unblocks time that could be spent in more human-centric, critical thinking tasks.
For example, inputting record or invoice data manually, storing files in a cumbersome physical location, and locating these files later can be easily automated with a software-based solution such as a document management platform.
One practical example of this technology is its use by the accounting department or accounts payable team of any construction company. A document management solution takes advantage of software robots to automate data entry from any invoice. The software scans email or physical invoices into a database.
If any team member needs access to this data, the software makes it easily accessible and shareable with any relevant parties. It also reduces the likelihood of human error since automation bots do not experience fatigue and are able to handle large amounts of data.
Therefore, payments will be streamlined, contractors’ ability to pay any partner or vendor will be improved, and employees will feel more satisfied.
4. Reduced Costs
“84% of firms report construction costs have been higher than anticipated.”- AGC
It is no secret to contractors that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic still affect their industry in 2022. The rising costs of materials, labor shortage, and supply chain disruptions have taken a toll on construction companies, despite the increase in demand, especially in the commercial construction sector.
Because automation results in streamlined project timelines, increased productivity, reduced human error and the likelihood of re-starting projects, overall costs are reduced.
Hiring costs are also reduced because less personnel is needed to perform highly repetitive tasks. Automation robots can perform tasks overnight as well, which means extra work is getting done without the need of human supervision.
For tasks that demand high supervision or revision, automation software can complete their assigned tasks and a human worker can inspect them after.
Besides the costs of implementation, automation technology does not increase expenditures. Since it lends itself to performing a high amount of tasks without downtime, the return on investment is considerable.
5. Improved Client Experience
Besides the ability to automate notifications and communications, this technology can be extended to make the client experience better. It can facilitate faster responses to clients, automatic project updates, and faster payment processing.
The consistency in the amount and form of the communication means your clients will have less doubt on how the project is developing, and also increased trust in your construction company.
Whenever construction projects are delayed or errors appear, the client is directly affected. Since in the construction industry, many clients are acquired through word of mouth and reputation, this puts the onus on contractors to deliver a project as fast as possible with the least number of mistakes.
If your organization wants to maximize the use of automation to improve a customer’s experience, they could automate mobile text reminders and updates. The added transparency will grant your clients more ownership of the project, which in turn will result in a better partnership for your company.
Automation allows contractors to streamline their projects, increase productivity, and reduce costs. By leveraging this technology, construction companies can take advantage of benefits other industries—automotive and manufacturing, for instance—are already capitalizing on.
Although less than half of contractors say that implementing new technology and training workers is difficult, contractors have the option to partner with a managed service provider. A reliable MSP can help them implement, train, and maximize the use of automation solutions so that their construction company can keep providing clients with top-notch products and services.
If you want to learn more leveraging tech to run effective construction projects, check out our webinar Effective Construction Site Management, part of the Industry Insights series.