A solid foundation for implementation will yield companywide results.
At a time of fierce competition, the distance between technical promise and genuine achievement is a matter of special concern. Faced with their regular duties, Managers experience great difficulty in closing this gap. The key challenges for managers responsible for implementing new technology include: an inescapable dual role, the range of technologies that need to be supported, resistance to change, the right degree of incentives, and the need for one person to take overall responsibility. This post offers up 10 Quick Tips For Implementing a New Construction Technology.
- Establish company goals and objectives. To eliminate wasted time, efforts should clearly identify what leadership or management wants to achieve by implementing a new construction technology, or taking greater advantage of technologies currently being utilized. Objectives may include automating workflows, integrating with existing billing systems, and sharing documents with project stakeholders and vendors. Technology roll-out, vendors, features, training, and pricing are just some of the variables that need to be considered.
- Evaluate current work practices. Once a company's knows what it aims to accomplish, the next step is to clearly understand its traditional work practices. It’s also important to map or diagram work practices. When a process is documented, issues tend to get resolved early on. If these issues are not resolved prior to employing a new technology, the tendency is to blame the technology not root out the problem. Prioritizing and solving problems unearthed during the assessment phase allows companies to adopt and nurture more effective work practices before innovating the process.
- Identify leadership and develop protocols. It is important for leadership to communicate the objectives and rationale for innovation and provide their full commitment to its success. Deciding early on the rules of engagement with office and/or field personnel who refuse to utilize company defined technologies or delay training will help to minimize disruption and tension.
- Identify the required functionality of a prospective technology. With objectives and current status understood, it is time to obtain a clear picture on the specific functionality requirements of the new system. Specifying the functions upfront will minimize costs associated with shifting requirements during implementation. It is also important to determine how the company wants to drive implementation decisions in the design, training, and monitoring phases.
- Compare products and their customer support. It is best to conduct an initial assessment to prevent functionality creep, i.e. increased costs without specifically meeting the project or practice's objectives. Evaluation can occur via conferences, trade shows, online demonstrations, and vendor visits allowing prospective users to "test drive" systems and identify which are best suited for the company's practices. These efforts are the groundwork needed to ensure that the products chosen will actually provide the essential tools, processes, and connectivity.
- Evaluate the cost and benefits. Choosing the right construction technology for work practices ultimately gets down to functionality, ease of use, and cost. Understanding the full cost and anticipated benefits of the system is a critical part of the evaluation.
- Gradually roll-out the new technology. Employees can become irritated when they show up to job site to find out their busy day is going to become a lot tougher because they are expected to learn a new technology. Let workers get a sense of system basics for about a week. Before launching into full implementation, consult with users to make sure they have what they need to be successful in the change.
- Train for proficiency. Most vendors provide training programs to support adoption. The challenge is ensuring that the training supports the specific work practices; oftentimes it is not a "one-size-fits-all" application. It is important to provide customized training focussed on the processes understood by field personnel and office staff is the most effective. Training should be tailored to the user role.
- Measure results. Appropriate use and adoption can be monitored with tools such as dashboards, checklists, and gap analysis forms.
- Document lessons learned.
With each successful implementation, companies build a foundation of trust with their teams. It is important to implement what will work as opposed to what’s cool. If implementation is collaborative, enjoyable, and useful, everyone will celebrate the success of the innovation implementation together.
What is your experience with implementing a new technology? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.