As embark upon a new year, many of us our thinking about how to innovate operational practices. For Rudolph and and Sletten, investing in a new construction technology requires careful consideration. There needs to be an internal dialog about how the technology will directly benefit the company. Expected efficiencies, cost savings, data capture and reporting are all areas that need to be discussed. In addition, there needs to be an overlying discussion on how adoption will keep the company relevant, innovative as well as how to accommodate adoption. This post aims to help other companies by sharing the key questions that should be answered prior to investing in a new technology.
First and foremost, the firm’s leadership needs be very clear about their goals. In effect, a company that embraces innovation in their culture needs to allow for a certain level of trial and error. Beta testing should be encouraged. Not all technologies work for every company. With that understanding, if the proposed solution does not work, just move on and try something new.
As builders, our key areas of discussion surround client service and productivity. Enhancements in client service and productivity are the direct result of process improvement. New management technologies, i.e. BIM and cloud-based applications, allow for improvement in these two critical areas. However, that is only half of the equation; a skilled workforce, committed to learning, is the driving force behind process improvement.
Another area for consideration is whether there is cost savings. For example, a new collaboration software solution may provide a way to uncover cost savings but have no impact on overall quality. Often, these solutions will increase the quality at the end of the project. It is essential to communicate with the client about when and how cost-savings will be realized in relation to the project outcome; this approach allows you to compete on cost without sacrificing quality. It’s a win-win for the project owner.
The following are 15 questions you should be able to answer before launching your technology investment initiative.
- Does the company have a clear purpose for technology adoption?
- Does the company have a culture of sharing lessons learned?
- Does leadership embrace and support new technology adoption?
- Does leadership have a plan for adoption improvement?
- Has the company identified and engaged technology champions?
- Has the company identified and engaged technology influencers?
- Are key project stakeholders actively engaged?
- Does the construction technology have business-friendly outcomes and purposes?
- Is there a strategic plan for departments and project sites?
- Is there an effective internal marketing campaign and adoption plan?
- Is there an effort to improve participation?
- Does the company have clearly drafted and communicated policies for usage?
- Is there a program to capture user experience?
- Is there incentive to be a significant contributor, collaborator, or sharer?
- Is there a way to capture user feedback?
Think through each answer to each of these questions and challenge your firm before you get too far into the implementation of that next technology.
Are you thinking about investing in a new technology this year? If so, please share your advice with our readers! We are all in this together.