Most people believe that there are limited applications for IT needed in construction. After all, cranes haven’t historically needed debugging, right? But IT services go deeper than machinery and equipment, and help construction companies excel in many areas. Construction companies have often been notoriously slow to adopt new technology, but said technology can improve a company's competitiveness within an already competitive industry.
Here are a few of the major ways in which IT can improve a construction-related business.
Data Capture and Simulations
Construction companies are increasingly using things like 3D models during the construction process. Simulations are frequently run to determine whether the construction project is viable and affordable. These large volumes of data add up and need to be managed correctly and securely.
Frequently, construction companies find themselves using cloud-based solutions to manage and share their data. Cloud-based solutions can crunch large volumes of construction-related data, but they can also be compromised if they are not properly secured, encrypted, and authenticated.
Examples of data capture and simulation use include:
- Modeling a construction project for potential clients. Clients can now “walk through” 3D simulations of new buildings before they approve the work. This reduces the chances for a project rework, which will take up time and money.
- Estimating construction-related costs. Accurate costing leads to satisfied clients and more accurate, faster bidding. Simulated materials can be used to compare construction costs for different types of builds, giving customers further options.
- Accurately determining construction length. Data analysis can help a company estimate the length of a construction project, allowing the company to improve its efficiency, as well as giving customers more accurate timelines.
Building modeling and data analysis improves the consistency of the project. As technology becomes more advanced, these estimates become more accurate and consequently save the business more time and money.
Internet of Things Devices and Sensors
High-end construction machines are no longer purely analog. Many construction machines have computers built in, to control the machines and ensure their safety. Built-in computers can gauge the safety of operation and monitor the performance of the machine.
Additionally, sensors can be used to improve the overall safety of a construction site. Through sensors, construction companies can identify potential risks, such as vibrations. With the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, construction companies can identify patterns which indicate potential machine failure or site danger.
Examples of IoT device and sensor use:
- Safety-related sensors which gauge sounds and vibrations. Sensors can be used throughout a construction site to identify dangerous areas of noise and vibration, thereby protecting employees from damage.
- Security solutions, which can track the position of the company's most important equipment and assets. Assets can be controlled in this way, to improve upon inventory processes and reduce the chances of expensive equipment going missing.
- On-board equipment computers, which alert operators regarding operating and maintenance issues. Today's equipment can notify an operator if a load is too heavy or if a machine needs regular maintenance.
The IoT can manage, monitor, and optimize construction-related devices, controlling the construction site and improving both safety and security.
Cloud Solutions for Data and SaaS
Construction companies are businesses. SaaS tools can be used for project management, collaboration, logistics and shipping, enterprise resource management, customer relationship management, and more. Construction companies need to use advanced technology to remain effective.
However, not every SaaS tool is always applicable to the construction business. Construction companies can look for SaaS tools that are specifically tailored to their industry. Accounting solutions, for example, can be tailored to construction costing, making it possible to accurately calculate construction costs.
Examples of cloud solutions for data and SaaS that benefit construction companies include:
- Customer relationship management solutions, which enable the construction company to follow up leads, track quotes, and provide customer service. As construction companies scale, they will work with additional customers, and may need to manage these customers on a single, consolidated system.
- Project management solutions, which improve productivity by allowing companies to track the status of their projects, allocating time and resources to each project, and keeping all involved team members on the same page.
- Enterprise resource management solutions, which make it possible for the company to track and manage its own assets. This is vital for internal optimization, reducing waste, and generally improving upon the company's profitability.
Through cloud-data solutions, companies can leverage virtually untapped numbers of resources.
IT solutions for construction industry companies greatly improve upon the company's operations, improving services for clients and overall project outcomes. With better IT, construction companies will find their bidding process more accurate and their individual projects more profitable.
Let CWPS help your construction company focus on what it does best – building things, not worrying about IT. Contact us today for a free consultation.