5 steps to a brighter digital future for construction and engineering…

June 1, 2020
Take control of your digital future in construction and engineering.

5 steps to a brighter digital future for construction and engineering…

A recent McKinsey report was titled “The future is not what it used to be – thoughts on the shape of the next normal”.  This has been a common theme; everyone is talking about the “new” or “next normal”.  Recent imposed changes to working practices are radically and immediately changing every industry including engineering and construction.

As the world manages and mitigates the impact of a global pandemic there are some working practices that must be adjusted, for example social distancing and controlling exposure to groups of workers on construction sites.  However, many of the other impacts of this ongoing crisis could be viewed not as an enforced adaptation to new ways of working but simply an acceleration of adopting working models of many existing progressive and collaborative businesses.

At Raildiary we’ve been speaking to our clients, suppliers, peers and colleagues to better understand what lessons have been learned and how businesses can emulate those who are already reaping the benefits of embracing digital technologies.  We’ve identified five themes that are common to those delivering real valuable change across their businesses during this time of uncertainty -

1. People vs technology – human intelligence is the foundation of construction intelligence

Identify the critical human checkpoints, controls and interventions.  What’s the critical path of human decision making which should be supported by technology? - not the other way around.  Once you know where people still need to be in control and make decisions, rather than rely on technology, build a buffer around them to ensure your people have time to consider the data and make effective and timely decisions.

2. The “old normal” wasn’t necessarily broken – amplify what was working.

Many existing technologies and processes are effective, don’t change everything just because you’ve had to change something.  Identify where the value was and invest in it.  Technology, training, knowledge sharing, take the good things that were working and make them exceptional.

3. Some stuff needs to go

What wasn’t working? - this is the perfect time to review where time, people and money were being expended on processes and systems that weren’t adding value.  What have we realised that we can actually live without?

4.  Spot the gaps and assess the risk

People working more frequently online with technologies that are creating, storing and reporting on increasing mountains of data creates overlaps, gaps and also risks.  Spot where the gaps in data are, if information is not quickly and easily retrieved and delivering value then you may need to review how that data is being captured, stored and reported on.  As you fill those gaps consider how are you protecting your data.  Adherence to basic information security regulations like GDPR may not sufficiently mitigate your risk.  Consider where partners should be compliant with international standards of best practice and challenge your supply chain to meet these levels.

5.  Relentlessly follow through

Once you’ve identified where you need people to take control, and chosen the technology to support them, the hard part is managing that change and following through.  Select a technology partner with experience and expertise to help you lead teams through that change curve.  Relentlessly follow through on communications to engage with every member of the team and support those who find change hardest.

As McKinsey’s report described it, “the future is not what it used to be”.  For some businesses already embracing digital technologies that future may be brighter than they could have imagined.

At Raildiary we have the expertise and experience to support you in capturing and reporting on site data, find out more about Raildiary here - Raildiary Walkthrough

5 steps to a brighter digital future for construction and engineering…

Nick Woodrow

Operations Director

A positive and outcome focused chartered civil engineer with over 20 years spent in a broad range of businesses successfully delivering complex projects & leading teams at C-level.

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