The construction industry has been forced into digital transformation over the past nine months at a more rapid pace, so managers are now embracing remote workflows and allowing people to do what they do and relying on trades workers to give the proper input for jobs. Many people in the trades hope it stays that way after the industry returns to “normal.”
Trusting in teams to do what they do best and adding technology to the processes – like iPads – helps propel the industry forward and has given the MEP trades more of a voice in projects.
It makes everyone more efficient and more productive when the people who are installing the work inform the other stakeholders about the constraints that need to be worked within. It can definitely take engineers outside their comfort zone to ask a trade contractor where the design might fail. But it is the best way to get the job done on schedule and within budget.
Because they come in toward the end of the job, out of necessity, trades workers have had to be the innovators through the years – to figure out how to make things work in the field, how to retrofit if there were design issues. For a long time, they have had to make things work. So, it is easier for them to embrace technology.
In the process, they have not had to do much external coordination. Although that has been a new development, it is a good one.
As a bonus, when they realize that working with other tradespeople can benefit everyone, the collaborative mindset takes hold.
As companies change processes, discovery is important. Implement, then test. Then implement more and determine what’s working well and what’s not. Test things out, then implement the things that work for you. Figure out what your problems are, then find the tools that can solve them.
Keep your staff realistic and grounded. They need to work within time and budget constraints. Your company will need a champion for innovation and technology tools. Pair up the sensible, realistic person who will determine your ROI with a person who is really excited about technology. That team should be a good combination for finding the best tools for your company and your processes.
Balance the dynamic with the static. Set up metrics so you can keep track of how the testing is going. Determine how things are progressing so you can protect your pilot project. Start with something small and slowly involve more people.
In the end, determine if the “pain” you are trying to address is actually being alleviated. Get input from the end users. Is it better, or not? If it is not, figure out why.