With different perspectives about the industry come a variety of challenges. How do you reconcile different opinions, economies and levels of experience in the field? First of all, you check your ego at the door, and get ready to embrace a new mindset.
There is tremendous pressure – both self-imposed and from external parties – on construction companies to make a profit on every project. Expectations are harsh and instant results are assumed. But as companies in the industry scramble to adapt to future construction needs and demands, there will need to be a different mindset. And one of those changes is getting involved in innovative processes like industrialized construction (IC).
The topic of return on investment (ROI) in industrialized construction is premature for companies just getting into IC. Because of the upfront investment for these processes, ROI needs to be looked at in the big picture. Companies need to consider the ROI on more than one project – as a cumulative number. Maybe that ROI won’t happen for several years.
There are different forms of IC. Prefabrication and modular processes are two of the most talked about. Others are design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and lean construction. All forms of IC not only require a shift of mindset, they work best when that mindset is embraced throughout the company.
Economics and contracting will be affected by IC. Warranties will need to be different as well. On the “people” side of IC, the finance metric will change with these new processes and workflows. IC methods, offsite processes and standardization all need to have more effort put behind them and be refined.
IC innovation is being led by the technology that is coming to the forefront of the industry, including virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), which isn’t really intelligence as much as it is computation by parameters. Technology serves to bridge the gap between what is being accomplished today and what could be accomplished in the future.
As companies become involved in IC, they learn along the way. They make adjustments and readjustments. They develop a new mindset that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from those mistakes. They adapt. They stand upon the experience of the people who have already made the journey before them, knowing that will result in fewer surprises and blind curves.
Forward thinking companies are always changing and innovating to some degree. To stay on the edge of innovation, it’s helpful to learn from other industries. That synergy among industries – in the case of IC, manufacturing and construction – serves innovative companies well.