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Technology Helps Fuel Industry Opportunity

CNBC’s Diana Olick provided a summary report1 on the state of our industry—and all signs point to a year of opportunity in 2018—if builders can effectively manage the growing labor shortage. 

Olick referenced the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly construction spending report up to a record $1.257 trillion in November. She further pointed to the U.S. Department of Labor’s jobs report, which pointed to 30,000 more jobs added in December 2017, primarily among specialty trade contractors (+24,000). In summary, construction employment increased by 210,000 this past year, compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.2

Of course, the downside of all that growth and opportunity is the growing labor shortage. Net employment figures—new workers minus those leaving the industry—continue to give sharp warning signs.  Specifically, Olick points out that a net 190,000 of new workers entered the construction industry in 2017—a number well below the prior three-year average of 284,000 annual additions.

Bottom line, there is a lot more work in the pipeline, but fewer people to do the job. That’s where technology can help. 

The 2017 KPMG survey of CIOs (conducted in conjunction with Harvey Nash) from global engineering and construction companies found that 63 percent of respondents see technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat. Further, 75% think technology/innovation will significantly change their business in less than five years—yet fewer than half have a technology road map.

According to the respondents, it wasn’t mobile apps, robotics, automation or even drones that captured the most attention. It was project management information systems (PMIS) that are considered to have the greatest potential to deliver value. Yet, according to the survey, only 20% have implemented PMIS across all projects, and a mere 8% say they have a real-time full PMIS capable of project and portfolio reporting.4

A PMIS is essentially the bridge to all things digital on your project.  It establishes an intelligent workflow that automatically routes, alerts, stores and manages progress, feedback and approvals. Additionally, cloud-based solutions makes data  available to anyone, at any time, from anywhere for real-time updates and reporting.  Bottom line, a PMIS improves productivity, efficiency, collaboration and visibility.