From multifaceted projects to client expectations – the construction industry is often regarded as complex. In 2022, the value of new constructions in the United States amounted to 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars.
But as unique as the construction industry is, it’s no different than other sectors in terms of the need for data-driven decision-making. Any challenges can be easily overcome with the right online business platforms in place.
As for now, construction businesses are slow to adopt digital solutions. But let’s see why and how you can streamline your construction business by embracing digital solutions in this digital era.
The importance of technology in construction
This digital era has posed challenges for many businesses, but the construction industry isn’t one of them. It has the potential to forever change the industry – improve efficiency and communication, as well as enhance safety.
So, what does digital transformation in construction mean? It covers everything from using 3D models and drones to implementing online business platforms. And considering the construction industry’s numerous stakeholders and short deadlines, there’s no room for human errors. Digital solutions are much needed.
Research by the McKinsey Institute suggests that digital transformation can boost productivity by 14-15% and cut costs by 4-6%. Whether you’re a startup or are running an already established business, adopting online tools will become inevitable. The buildings and projects of the future undoubtedly require modern solutions. Let’s have a look at the types of digital tools and technologies that can transform construction:
- Construction management software. If your main interest is following deadlines and creating project plans, construction management software can help you do it. Its key functions include project planning and scheduling, cost tracking, and managing equipment and materials.
- BIM (Building Information Modelling). This type of digital technology helps constructors and architects create 3D models of buildings. By the end of 2022, there were 129 3D-printed buildings across 105 building sites.
- IoT (Internet of Things). When using IoT technology and devices in construction, they help you get live data from construction sites. This is a great way to improve work efficiency while at the same time working safely.
Among these digital tools and technologies, online business platforms also play a huge role in shaping the construction industry. Whether they’re dedicated e-commerce solutions or business management platforms, they’ll cater to different aspects of your construction business.
Benefits of online business platforms for construction businesses
The construction industry is likely to experience challenges over time. However, it isn’t one to fade entirely. And for your construction business to thrive in this ever-evolving industry, you must think digital. Here’s how your business can benefit by embracing online business platforms.
Construction projects typically involve multiple stakeholders, including architects, project managers, and engineers, who need to communicate efficiently for better and faster results. However, paper-based communication is prone to errors and project delays.
Online business platforms, on the other hand, are all about real-time communication. This is a great way to ensure all team members are on the same page regarding project updates and potential challenges. Not only will this improve collaboration, but it will also reduce errors and lead to faster project completion.
E-commerce solution for construction – building a strong online presence
The construction industry offers plenty of growth opportunities, as it has a small presence in the retail market. To put it simply – ecommerce has great potential in the construction industry. So, It’s about time you’ve expanded your construction business online.
But as beneficial as it is, digital transformation can be challenging for some. Most construction businesses are used to doing things in the traditional way. And we must take this into account. That’s why it’s important to invest in the right e-commerce solution for construction, one that fits your business needs. Think of what you’ll gain:
- Increased revenue. It’s a chance for local businesses to finally discover a broader customer base beyond their local area. Naturally, this will lead to increased sales and revenue.
- Easy accessibility. Warren Buffet once said – If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die. Well, having a functional website is your way of making money while you sleep. Both B2B and B2C customers can browse through your offers and make purchases at any time.
- Enhanced customer experience. Offering an online website is already a step forward toward enhancing user experience. However, it’s how you use it that matters the most. An e-commerce solution for construction will help you provide a user-friendly interface, responsive customer support, and detailed product information.
- Cost saving. Not only is an e-commerce presence more efficient, but it’s also cheaper. It will reduce the usual brick-and-mortar costs such as utilities, rent, and in-store staff.
According to Sana Commerce research, 89% of construction organizations think digital solutions will change the way they do business. Why not be an early adopter and give your business a competitive edge?
Data-driven decision making
Data matters in the world of construction. In fact, it’s the foundation for smarter decisions and more efficient project management. That’s when online business platforms for construction come in. Here’s how they contribute to data-driven decision-making:
- Centralized data. Online business platforms will provide you with a centralized location for collecting, storing, and managing construction data. Having all this data in one place makes it easily accessible for all team members. It promotes a collaborative feel.
- Real-time data updates. The complexity of construction projects requires for faster-decision making. Real-time data updates make this possible. All team members will be able to see the current project status and immediately respond to changing conditions.
- Historical data access. Online business platforms will store historical project data. You can use this to your advantage to compare current and past projects to see where an improvement is needed.
Online business platforms equip you with the most important thing you need in the construction world – insight. They’re storing but at the same time using this historical data to make predictions. And is there a better way to catch up with a trend?
Increased operational efficiency
Online business platforms make everything run smoother. It’s like keeping a diary of what happens at the construction site and how you manage your employees.
For example, let’s say you’re the foreman at a construction site. Naturally, you’ll need different buildings and materials – whether daily or weekly. Relying solely on your memory or handwritten notes is possible but not as efficient as having a digital inventory on an online system.
This is also useful when it comes to predicting costs. You’ll know exactly what to purchase, as well as identify where and when money is being wasted. Overall, online business platforms keep everything organized to help you work smarter.
And one thing you’ll surely gain by using online business platforms is a competitive edge. Not many construction businesses have implemented them, so catching up with this trend sets your business apart from the rest.
The thing is, whether we like it or not, technology is taking over the world. It will be getting harder and harder to hire younger construction staff, especially if your business hasn’t embraced any of the latest technology trends. The sooner you migrate from traditional to digital, the quicker you’re likely to thrive in a competitive construction industry.
Challenges of Adopting Online Business Platforms
Technology is ever-evolving. While it can offer numerous benefits for your construction business, we have to consider the potential challenges that may arise. Here are some of the most common challenges you can come across when adopting online business platforms for your construction business:
- Resistance to change. You’ve been doing things a certain way your whole life. And when there’s change, regardless of how great it is, you’ll find it unsettling at first. It’s only natural to react this way. After all, change means stepping out of your comfort zone.
- Sure, many online business platforms can automate tasks and workflow. However, they’re not designed to do everything without a human interfering. This means that you’ll have to consider the time and money you’ll invest in training your construction employees to use these platforms before implementing them.
- As your construction business grows, it’ll require more projects, employees, and clients. You have to choose a platform that’s scalable, and this can undoubtedly be challenging.
And while these challenges must be considered, they’re still overshadowed by the benefits of adopting online business platforms for construction. They can increase efficiency, streamline operations, and give your business a competitive advantage.
Embracing technology in construction
And while it’s still early to predict the future of technology in construction, its potential benefits promise to reshape the industry. As for now, only leading construction companies have made this transition. We just hope that small construction businesses and startups will follow.
Once we see bigger adoption, the results will speak for themselves. Even though there are some challenges along the way, be sure of this – online business platforms are here to stay, and those that embrace them will benefit immensely.
Makedonka Micajkova is a freelance content writer and translator, always bringing creativity and originality to the table. Being multilingual with professional proficiency in English, German, and Spanish, it’s needless to say that languages are her biggest passion in life. She is also a skilled communicator, as a result of having three years of experience as a sales representative. You can find her on Linkedin.