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The construction industry has struggled with the consistent challenge of low productivity. Globally, the construction sector has seen annual productivity improvements of on average just 1.0 percent over the past two decades.

In comparison, the manufacturing sector averages around 3.6 percent globally. It’s clear to see the industry has been outpaced by others.

What low productivity really means to the construction industry is low output, late project delivery, reduced profits, and costly delays.

The sector is highly complex with fragmentation at its core and continual challenges around low margins, adversarial pricing models, financial fragility, and skills shortages.

Interestingly, investment in digitisation is lower in the construction industry than most other sectors globally. Culturally, the industry has been reticent to adopt digital transformation but is at a point where it needs to evolve, and this is increasingly recognised by innovative companies.

Why technology is the answer

Technology use in construction covers a range of areas such as scheduling, collaboration, project/cost controls, and benchmarking, to name a few. These provide businesses with planning tools, communication and information management solutions, and data insights, as well as greater transparency and tighter controls over a project.

Today, Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud-based tools can enable collaboration across a project regardless of where the project team is; be it office, field, or in transit.

The creation of a common data environment (CDE) through the use of building information modelling (BIM) solutions provides the capability for all teams on a project to interact, capture, and store information in a single place while being accessible from any internet connected device.

This, in turn, provides a single version of the truth to aid transparency and manage conflict resolution.

BIM also enables an asset, i.e. a building, to be managed accurately by providing a set of interrelated and cross-referenced information. For example, objects in the model are linked to related information including manuals, specifications, commissioning data, photos, and warranty details.

Overall, whatever technology is adopted by construction businesses, it must be collaborative, easy to implement, secure, flexible, connected, and provide value. Hiring the right digital talent helps to make the most of the technology and ensures it’s used in the best way.

It then must be embraced throughout the business to really provide ROI and deliver significant change.

Barriers to change and how to move forward

There are many reasons why digital transformation has not been embraced in the construction industry including: corporate reluctance, lack of digital skills, and concerns over storing data in the cloud.

The challenges facing the construction industry are formed by many layers:

  • To adopt modern technology requires skill sets within the industry at all levels to identify how to get the most out of what the technology can offer.
  • To procure the technology in the first place requires C-level sponsorship. This means changing the mindset of the industry stalwarts in senior roles.
  • To justify the expense of the technology, there must be data points to demonstrate the ROI and value it can provide, i.e. benchmarks.
  • If and when the technology is adopted, it must be integrated across the ecosystem to be able to connect with the existing systems in place in a business.
  • Technology must be open and extendable to evolve as innovation evolves over time.
  • Software must be easy to use and implement so that it doesn’t require significant training or months of integration before it’s ready to be used.
  • Technology must be welcomed by a workforce that wants to use it.
  • Then there’s data protection and cybersecurity. It takes a complete shift in thinking to understand why data stored in a virtual place called the cloud could be safer than data stored in the big piece of hardware sitting in the locked room that no one goes in.

These echo some of the findings to come out of the Global Industry Council’s inaugural report, “Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction.”

Where to from here?

Digital transformation needs to be planned and approached in a way that looks at both the present and the future.

We need to encourage more digital skills in the industry. Digital transformation is not going to be successful if you don’t have people within the industry who know how to use technology in the most effective way.

Overall, the construction industry needs to change its mindset to evolve. Senior leaders within the industry need to understand the value of technology across the whole business. Executives must be the chief sponsor to ensure technology is being used to provide maximum benefit by all employees.

Click here to learn more about why cultivating digital talent in the workplace is paramount to success within E&C.

The post How E&C businesses can set their workforce up for digital transformation appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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In our previous blog post, 7 Deadly Project Controls Sins, we highlighted project management missteps that contribute to construction project delays and budget overruns.

Even if each project is different, the challenges faced by organizations remain the same:

  • Aligning data: Companies are often using different systems that lead to disconnected data across the project.
  • Integrating Cost & Schedule: Lack of consistency across these two disciplines is leading to higher risks.
  • Managing change: Inaccurate reporting of a scope or variation change during the project decreases the visibility into project status.
  • Disconnected environment: Project performance suffers when people, disciplines, and departments are working in isolation.

These challenges stem from various sources, ranging from the design of processes and use of systems to organizational culture. Fortunately, you can overcome these challenges by learning about today’s project controls hurdles.

Effectively manage change across your project

Many questions arise throughout any given project, including:

“How does a change in scope affect my schedule?”, “How does this project delay affect my cost?” or “How will this delay impact my processes overall?”

Below are four ways to improve change management:

  • Project members must weigh project’s change against the entire project to assess the impact.
  • Tracking a change’s origin before managing its impact on the project is crucial, because changes will affect the entire project, not just one area.
  • Organizations need a strong solution that manages the impact changes have on cost and schedule.
  • Successful projects depend on a standard approach to change management that’s supported by a system robust and flexible enough to support multiple project types.

Watch our webinar on Contract Administration to learn more about effective change management.

The goal of project controls is simple: reduce risk and successfully deliver a project. According to a World Economic Forum study cited in Construction Dive, a 1% reduction in costs would save the construction industry approximately $100 billion annually.

However, achieving these goals requires an artful integration of teams, systems, processes, and data.

Early visibility into cost impacts starts with connecting every project member of the supply chain on a single platform — whether they’re in the office or the field.

A single source of truth across the project lifecycle and portfolio is essential. Program and Cost Management capabilities give project members an accurate view and forecast into how their projects are performing across cost and schedule.

Select a secure solution for your projects so you can: improve internal and external communication, have better visibility into your project performance, avoid risk and errors, and successfully deliver your projects.

Watch our webinar to learn more about the benefits of a one stop solution.

The post Four ways to tackle change management across your project appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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There’s no doubt that BIM is seen as key for the engineering and construction (E&C) industry as it looks to digital transformation to tackle some seemingly inherent challenges such as budget overspend, project delays, and quality control issues.

In fact, a Zion Market Research report predicted BIM market value would reach $10.36 billion by 2022, up from $3.52 billion in 2016.

Governments have been mandating the use of BIM across infrastructure projects throughout Europe and beyond to streamline major development projects and, in turn, find a way to increase productivity in the E&C industries.

We’re even seeing more BIM related job titles appear such as BIM Manager, BIM Co-ordinator, and BIM Specialist as the industry embraces the methodology.

But with all of this attention, there still exists a thought that BIM is just 3D modelling, it’s only for experts, and that it is only used by a fraction of the teams on a development project.

This is incorrect. With so much focus on BIM being positive for the industry this doesn’t add up, so why is there such a contradiction?

BIM undervalued/under-utilized

One of the challenges for BIM is that it’s surrounded by myths that deter different people and teams involved in a development from adopting it.

As mentioned, people still see BIM as just being 3D modelling used primarily by design and construction teams. However, modern BIM is so much more than that. It forms a key part of a common data environment (CDE) – namely capturing, storing and sharing key information across an asset.

A connected BIM solution can also link data and documentation enabling an audit like trail for objects within a model.

Even the long form of the acronym is confused, with some uncertain whether the ‘M’ stands for modelling or management. It prompts the question, does BIM suffer from an identity crisis?

Probably not; it’s more likely the result of how the methodology has evolved and is now being used much more widely across a development.

BIM is also challenged by common issues synonymous with software solutions such as:

  • Reduced productivity because people need to be trained how to use them
  • Addition of costs to a business
  • Here now, obsolete tomorrow

The reality is that yes, people do need to get used to using software and data may need to be ported across from other systems, so this can take time; and there will be a financial cost to using new software.

But these things need to be understood over a longer term. The time and cost savings, and other benefits these solutions provide far outweigh the initial pain and price.

In the specific case of BIM, the data captured should provide a vital repository for information related to clash detection and asset handover, and also to create a baseline of information to use when planning or preparing for future developments.

Its obsolescence is negated by how BIM has evolved over time, as well as how it’s being mandated as the solution of choice by governments and increasingly by owners/clients globally. There’s no doubt BIM is here to stay.

Another criticism of BIM is that it is only for large projects or big companies, but as the methodology has evolved so has the functionality. Modern BIM is all about accessibility, extendibility, and collaboration.

A connected BIM solution should help manage all the information on a development. It must be able to be used by teams across a development regardless of how big or small. It needs to be able to work with multiple data sources, file formats, standards (IFC, BCF, COBie), and industry recognized tools.

It should also be accessible on numerous devices whether someone is in an office or on site.

How do we encourage active use of BIM?

Overall, there needs to be better education around BIM and its many uses. That will be helped as more digital skills and greater reliance on technology come into the industry. However, there is an onus on BIM solutions themselves evolving to keep pace with requirements.

Modern BIM solutions need to provide the security, certifications (FedRAMP etc.) and disaster recovery needed to instill confidence in users. They need to be fast, reliable, and able to integrate with other solutions in a company’s technology ecosystem regardless of where they’re being used.

Reporting and dashboards should be available to provide greater information and control. The solution needs to be relevant to all teams regardless of size – providing data, documents, measurements, and location for each object on a model whether it’s windows, cladding, or a fire extinguisher.

Perhaps most importantly, it needs to be easy to use so you don’t have to be an expert to get what you need from the solution. Taken together, these attributes can encourage wider use of BIM across the industry.

Read more about BIM here.

The post The dichotomy of BIM appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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Engineering and construction is a project-centric world— and ERP-PM integration is key.

Along these lines, E&C professionals frequently ask, “How can I tie my corporate ERP system together with my project management system(s) to avoid error-prone, time-consuming double entry?”

Few will dispute how the lack of integration is is a headache—including missing or inconsistent information and inefficient double entry— but taking the first step can feel daunting. Fortunately, the tools and expertise available today make ERP-PM integration faster, easier, and more complete.

How do you know if integration is right for you?

Five signs your organization is ready for ERP-PM integration

  1. Recognition of the value of integration
  2. Buy-in from the departments and roles impacted by the integration
  3. Understanding of process optimization
  4. Flexibility to change job functions to match new integrated and optimized processes
  5. Open-mindedness: there is more than one way to accomplish the goal

To help ensure a successful integration, it’s important to set the groundwork.

Keys to successful integration

  • Define and align business and project processes
  • Optimize processes before you automate them
  • Set up the framework and ensure the right mindset to enable cross-departmental collaboration
  • Scope your integration to align with business goals
  • Inspire people to push the limits to gain the most value from integration

A recent survey from Oracle’s Aconex revealed that individuals’ main motivation for technology investment is to “improve efficiencies.” In E&C, we all want to see the results of our efforts.

Concrete results of integration

One firm that recently integrated their ERP and PM solutions is saving over 40 hours per month in project management time alone— allocating more time to focus on higher value-added work and overall project improvements.

Like anything, ERP-PM integration is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Economies of scale do apply.

Define the right level of effort and investment

  • What is the right breadth of implementation?
  • What is the time horizon of your program?
  • How mature are your current processes?

Remember: Anything is possible, but what is appropriate? At the end of the day, it’s all about leveraging data to your best advantage. Data rules the world. Make sure you rule your data

The post Five signs your organization is ready for ERP-PM integration appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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BIM World 2018 in Paris isn’t fooling around. One of the largest building information modeling events in the world, the March 2018 event attracted almost 8,000 attendees, 174 exhibitors, and more than 90 conference and workshop sessions.

This year’s overarching theme was digital transformation. International experts revealed three key trends unfolding within the BIM world:

  1. You can’t do BIM without a common data environment (CDE)
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now a reality in construction
  3. Everything is connected

CDE: Data is king

BIM is becoming the center point for connected data across the digital ecosystem. The more data you capture and utilize to your advantage, the better you can design, build, and predict outcomes. One speaker declared, “Data is a strategic initiative.”

To be truly BIM ready, many of the contractors at the event agreed that organizations must have a CDE. The CDE encourages collaboration, creates a single source of truth, and develops a valuable pool of data that can be leveraged as a competitive tool.

Analytical data sets— or historical data— from multiple projects on a CDE can feed into benchmarking, predictive analytics, machine learning, and pattern recognition to help us build smarter and faster.

Advanced construction with AI

We interact with AI every single day— even if we don’t notice it. For example, we’re given predictive options when we’re typing text messages. When we’re hunting for a location on an app, we’re offered different routes and modes of transport to our destination. Data has become an integral component of our daily lives and business.

Machines’ ability to accurately analyze big data will have a profound effect on construction and BIM. The potential advantages are:

  • Higher quality, intuitive design through learned patterns and generative design. Machines generate a countless number of design solutions, test the configurations, and iterate them faster than humanly possible to discover the best option sooner.
  • Construction risks are predicted and avoided even before ground is broken. Design tools will become smarter and pick up on clashes and conflicts ahead of work commencing onsite.
  • Smart asset automation and improvements will become more end-user focused. Technology advancements already regulate building temperature, allocate space, and automatically manage maintenance issues.

IoT: Everything is connected

According to McKinsey, one of the five trends to shape construction and capital projects will be the Internet of Things (IoT)— enabling communication between devices, equipment, and assets. IoT holds much promise for BIM. All types of construction projects now have devices connected, embedded, and built into them, ranging from buildings to roads to plants.

We’re already witnessing this trend in the form of sensors for concrete readiness, interconnected services for safety, and near-field communication (NFC) devices for tracking assets. We’ll see an increasingly connected number of things in the future— especially given the value of asset data.

By combining BIM and IoT, the ‘digital twin’— a digital representation of an asset— will effectively become a living model. Information from design, to construction, and finally, to operations, will be tagged and connected back to the model; providing an up-to-date version of the asset.

IoT is even changing businesses. Fabrice Didier, a BIM World speaker and Marketing Director at Saint Gobain, noted that their business has expanded from a manufacturer to a service and data provider by incorporating sensors into their glass product.

The bottom line

Those who’re already engaged in BIM are reaping the rewards while preparing for the next wave of innovation. Companies like Enprode are leveraging the power of BIM to stay on budget.

BIM is a vital ingredient to the digital transformation in E&C. Just like cloud computing, one day, BIM will be the norm. We won’t even remember how we worked without it.

To learn more about BIM, visit www.aconex.com/bim-management.

The post Three BIM trends shaping how we’ll build the world appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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In Part I, we discussed how company culture impacts team members. In Part II, we’ll examine how five corporate trends help organizations distinguish themselves from competitors and gain a leading edge.

1. Corporate trends: The biophilia hypothesis

E&C organizations have also created many new and innovative approaches to redeveloping their physical workspace. The biophilia hypothesis proposes that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.

Connecting workers in office environments with nature certainly isn’t new, but it’s getting a lot of recent traction. I visit many clients who’ve added courtyards, gardens, beehives, and natural light to their work spaces.

For example, CookPlusFox Architects in New York City designed the Bank of America tower at One Bryant Park— the first LEED Platinum certified skyscraper in the U.S. CookPlusFox was one of the first architectural firms to incorporate the biophilia philosophy as part of its company culture and brand. 

As a result, the firm has become an incubator for future leaders in the field interested in sustainable design.

2. Corporate trends: Cross-discipline training

Years ago, a co-worker and I were dropped by helicopter on top of a New Hampshire mountain to perform routine maintenance to a remote hybrid power unit. We hiked 12 miles back to civilization after completing our tasks. For the typical cubical dweller, opportunities such as these are both memorable and rewarding.

Offering employees different, unique experiences (i.e., cross discipline training) adds immense value to company culture. I became a better designer after seeing and touching a working model—something I’d only previously known from a CADD station in 2D.

Shared experiences amongst the designers and field engineers forge a bond across everyone in the organization who worked on the project.

3. Corporate trends: Workplace culture and customer satisfaction

Chances are your client won’t be posting a raving five-star review on Yelp if you do your job well, but we all know how the phones light up when you don’t. It takes a lot to move the needle up a favorable notch or two, but, it’s quite easy to make the needle drop.

A good impression begins with solid communication— regardless of your industry, service, or product. The organizations that adopt solid communication practices as a culture are well-positioned to have their clients become reference accounts.

When clients are happy, everyone should share in the success. Organizations that consistently recognize the importance of happy customers draw and retain the best employees.

4. Corporate trends: Learning and development

Organizations should identify what differentiates quality talent. The millennial workforce is keenly aware of company culture. Technology plays an important role in which opportunities millennials will pursue to further develop their careers.

Engineering and construction firms that continue with monotonous and inefficient practices (hello, spreadsheets) will not likely retain creative thinkers.

A recent Deloitte University Press survey states that, “more than two-thirds (of millennials) believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities for them to stay.”

Finding employees who understand how to effectively enable and use technology is paramount. Developing existing talent through ongoing learning and training is also crucial.

Many of the most successful organizations either have their own certifications or allow corporate access to credentialed training as a measurable component to an employee’s career growth.

5. Corporate trends: Technology as a culture

Just a few years ago, assigning smartphones and tablets to construction workers as part of their job was unheard of. Construction, while making major leaps, still lands near the bottom of the list for adopting technology.

These days, employees in the field can’t imagine doing their jobs without smartphone gadgets. That said, the E&C industry still has a long way to go in terms of digital transformation.

The challenge of seamlessly integrating and connecting E&C teams remains. This disconnect is partly due to there being three main locations where people work: the office, the worksite, and the field.

These three locations must establish an easily repeatable communication strategy to reduce errors and resolve issues quickly.

  • The office: Access to technology is plentiful in the office.
  • The worksite: Wireless signals or trailer workstations are the norm at worksites, but communication is somewhat limited. Accessing documents between organizations is difficult due to on premise applications, corporate networks, and firewalls.
  • The field: Often no signal is available on handheld devices in the field, so technology must function offline and then sync. The technology is readily accessible, but looming disconnections still prevail. Breakout sessions at nearly every construction related conference and forum prove the challenges of communicating in the field.

E&C firms that explore, adopt, and develop technology as part of their corporate culture will be well-positioned as future industry leaders to help drive job satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately— profitability.

Read more about Oracle’s Aconex here.

 

The post Five essential corporate trends: Set yourself apart from the competition appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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Part I: Company culture has become a marketable brand— and organizations within engineering and construction (E&C) are no exception. That said, the definition of workplace culture depends entirely on whom you ask.

What’s company culture, anyway?

The workplace shouldn’t be a place that employees dread. Annual workplace market studies rate the best companies to work for, and the ‘why’ is often largely determined by company culture.

The Harvard Business Journal’s ‘When to Fire a Top Performer Who Hurts Your Company Culture’ suggests company culture acts “as a moral compass by teaching employees to not only do the right thing, but to do it the right way.”

Company culture can dictate how attractive your organization looks to valuable new recruits and innovators. A high-performing workplace environment also encourages employees to speak up regarding safety or design issues and to prevent accidents. Empowered employees enjoy their jobs— and even the challenges they face— if the culture is right.

Organizations who nurture and raise awareness of their workplace culture contribute to their company’s expertise, efficiency, and profitability. How can those in the E&C industry learn how to cultivate an empowering company culture to further strengthen their organization?

Focus on the Employee

Most organizations aim to retain talent. They understand that finding, cultivating, and promoting talent from within their organization can be immensely profitable.

For example, it’s not uncommon in the software industry for a network or application engineer to be promoted to a Director or VP role. Employees are often inclined to develop their talents elsewhere if their organization focuses only on lateral promotions.

The aging workforce factor is also affecting company culture because many experts are quickly approaching retirement. A younger workforce is much quicker at adopting and embracing change— particularly when it comes to technology.

Empowering the Subject Matter Expert (SME)

The E&C industry is increasingly creating new roles within organizations to support technological advances, and some existing roles are being redefined. For example, 10 years ago, a ‘BIM Coordinator’ role was roughly equivalent to a CADD Designer— creating and managing 3D models.

Today, the 2.0 version of BIM Coordinator is a far more prominent role. BIM Coordinators are responsible for planning the metadata that will be incorporated into the model in addition to developing a communication strategy to help establish efficient and repeatable processes.

Many similar roles require additional responsibility. E&C organizations who want to practice Lean Construction or Workface Planning must recognize these new roles and create a culture of empowered SMEs versus a traditional hierarchical management style.

Mature organizations who’re adopting BIM are automating model creation, with each design communicating what’s required to achieve a specific process. This cultural shift to automation has a tremendously positive effect on attracting talent.

Workplace culture: Perks and Work-Life Balance

Studies have proven that overworked and stressed employees are more prone to make mistakes. However, deadlines will continue to be a way of life in the construction industry.

Many organizations, fortunately, are addressing stressful work environments by enabling employees to connect with one another internally. Employees access internal communication streams like Yammer, Chatter, and Slack to create groups for virtual sports leagues, corporate challenges, walks, runs, or triathlon teams.

These activities are an invaluable way to develop a spirit of unity and teamwork. For example, my local office recently organized an outing to a Top Golf facility for team-building. Employee excursions help not only foster relations between colleagues, but also help strengthen company culture overall.

Read more about Oracle’s Aconex company culture here.

Stay tuned for ‘Part II: What is company culture and why are we paying more attention to it?’

The post Part I: What’s company culture and why are we paying more attention to it? appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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I recently sat through a press interview with Leigh Jasper, co-founder and CEO of Oracle’s Aconex, for Construction Global magazine; you can read the article from page 36 here.

The conversation drifted towards Construction 4.0 and it got me thinking about whether the engineering and construction (E&C) industry was ready for a new evolution or whether it needed to catch up with the technology advancements currently available.

There’s so much finger pointing from outside about how slow the industry is to adopt technology, but having recently moved back into the construction industry it surprised me because all I’ve seen are innovative businesses embracing digitisation.

Different organisations are, of course, at different levels of digital transformation maturity. Some are innovating, some are taking a more cautious approach, some are very complex organisations that struggle with the agility required to make such wholesale changes to the business, and some are much smaller businesses ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.

The challenge companies are going through in the E&C industry is not dramatically different to those that other industries are going through when it comes to technology. Technology innovation moves so rapidly that quite often we’re talking about new tools and methodologies before the market is really ready for them. Is that the case with Construction 4.0?

What is Construction 4.0?

Essentially, it’s the E&C industry’s version of Industry 4.0, a move towards greater digitisation. It encompasses the stuff of science fiction past such as prefabrication, automation, 3D printing, virtual reality, drones, sensors, robots for repetitive or hazardous processes, and data – lots and lots of data – used to help the industry know itself better and to shape the decisions it makes today and tomorrow.

It’s an exciting time for the industry, but unlike other sectors such as manufacturing, E&C is challenged by the very thing it’s often celebrated for: bespoke projects, one-off designs. It’s not like you’re producing the same nail or screw over and over again.

Many buildings are unique, many projects tailored to suit. It’s going to be about finding process repetition in the industry if we’re going to see the benefits of prefabrication, automation, robotics, and to a certain extent 3D printing.

Are we nearly there yet?

The industry is certainly moving in the right direction. We’ve seen advancements in the digitisation of the supply chain and associated processes such as workflows and approvals.

We’re now seeing more digital skills coming into engineering and construction. There are new job titles now focusing on digital transformation such as Innovation Director or Digitisation Director. These roles are shaping the future of digitalisation within the industry with the skill sets they bring becoming much more recognised and valued at the ‘decision making level’.

Companies are starting to see the opportunities technology brings to reduce wastage and duplication as well as control quality, time, and budget on projects. They’re seeing how this impacts the bottom line as well as the company’s reputation. These things are critical for success in such a competitive market with such narrow margins.

Cybersecurity

As the industry becomes more connected, though, one thing that Leigh said in his interview that resonated with me was the importance of cybersecurity, which needs to be considered as an incredibly important part of the business now.

When you look at construction projects, they’re made up of multiple teams from global companies to small double digit sub-contractors. With such diversity, it creates a real challenge to lock up data on a project completely.

That’s why having a common data environment to store, share, and collaborate with information used by teams across the entirety of a project is key.

Cyberattacks are becoming much more common, and when you look at critical infrastructure projects such as nuclear power, emergency services and Government facilities, it’s so important to keep data and project information locked down and only available to those who should have it.

Is Construction 4.0 inevitable for businesses?

Absolutely, if you want to continue to be in business. Digitisation is about having visibility into your business, so you can instantly recognise if a project is going over budget or is delayed. As margins continue to pinch and competition intensifies, finding those incremental productivity or profitability gains will be vital.

Read about how to create a digitally savvy workforce here.

Download the Global Industry Council report on ‘Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation’.

 

The post What is Construction 4.0 and is the industry ready? appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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Whether in the back office or in the field, construction teams need to be connected on the latest changes and updates to files like blueprints, drawings, schedules, and more.

That’s why we’re expanding our partnership with Oracle’s Aconex, to provide more freedom to connect workflows with content in a unified home for work.

With the Aconex and Dropbox integration, you can reduce double data handling, drive accountability, and access reporting and insights across all project data and processes from one single source of truth.

Dropbox files can be shared, distributed, updated, tracked, and searched in controlled workflows across many different organizations connected on projects in Aconex.

The Aconex and Dropbox integration lets you:
  • Collaborate on any file type with Dropbox in real-time, from large CAD or BIM files to Excel spreadsheets with advanced previews— whether you’re at the office or working remotely on a mobile device.
  • Securely move final Dropbox drawings, photos, documents, and other files to Oracle’s Aconex document registration before distributing the information.

Last year, construction users and teams— collaborating with architecture and engineering companies— created and saved more than a quarter billion files in Dropbox. This partnership will give those teams integrated cloud-based solutions to make collaboration easier and more efficient.

To read more, visit the Dropbox Business blog post. 

The post Dropbox and Oracle’s Aconex Expand Partnership appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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Throughout our GIC report series, we’ve focused on how digital transformation can powerfully shift the engineering and construction (E&C) industry.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) notes that E&C can expect annual savings— up to US$700 billion to $1.2 trillion— by embracing digital transformation.

The E&C industry must heavily invest in technology for project delivery to achieve these numbers.

As we’ve heard from many clients, one of the biggest challenges is defining innovation metrics to assess project performance. So, how can E&C develop a solid ROI to capitalize on this massive potential savings at an organizational or project level?

Organizations can follow the traditional construction project measures, such as:
  • Financial return
  • Breakeven points
  • Planned value = planned % of tasks left to complete x project budget
  • Actual cost of work performed = the amount of money spent on a project to a certain date
  • Cost variance = planned budget against the actual budget

Unfortunately, measuring construction productivity is often thwarted by moving variables, including: change orders/variations, numerous stakeholders, daunting amounts of information stored in various systems, and data-intensive metrics that aren’t easily quantifiable. Because every project is different, defining a set of consistent, quantifiable metrics can be tough.

What else constitutes a positive return for your projects?

The age-old principle—Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)— still rings true today. You’ll benefit from simple, easy to understand measurements that resonate across the business— despite the fact calculating certain performance measures may still require complex metrics.

We’ve discovered some great approaches to measuring project success without delving into complex calculations— thanks to our 20 years of experience working with global organizations. Our suggestions:

  • Fluor shared a very simple measurement of success called “The 1:10” in our Fives Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in E&C report in partnership with BCG. Fluor wanted to see every innovation implemented in their business rolled out to at least 10 projects to be considered successful. This simple metric removes time restraints and focuses on implementing change in a straightforward way.
  • AECOM chose to standardize their innovations or solutions across every project. Simply having a new solution on one project wasn’t enough to warrant success. The processes and standards must be the same across the board— no matter where they happen in the world.

At Oracle’s Aconex, we help clients measure basic savings— such as the reduction of printed documents— leading to savings in the millions of dollars. For example, one client reduced their printing by 83% using Aconex and saved an astounding $14m.

Dialing in on process management

Our Connect Awards winners have also achieved considerable savings by focusing on process management instead of fixating on the daunting goal of  saving $XX million(s) across the organization. Here are some examples of how they’ve measured success:

  • Balfour Beatty saves an estimated £1.3m in reduced errors and rework through improved document version control— or 1% of the project value— on the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm.
  • The Qatar Rail Program, valued at US$36b— and one of the largest infrastructure developments in the Middle East— reduced review cycles by automating workflows, and completing complex reviews in less than 10 days.
  • Burns & McDonnell adopted Aconex for project-wide collaboration across multiple global practices. They’ve decreased their average response time by 64% (from 14 days to 5 days) for 50,000 workflow requests using our platform.
  • We’ve also used time and motion studies for new clients who’ve adopted our Field product resulting in direct cost savings (a definitive measurable result). The study is based on comparing how things were done before and after embracing digital transformation (i.e., progressing from the traditional ways of working to adopting digital technology).
Leading the way with predictive analytics

Digital transformation— or, the power of big data— is unfolding greater opportunities for companies to predict and communicate market trends, spending, customer behavior, and supply chain/project needs. Predictive analytics can change the way business decisions are made by identifying when to switch suppliers or brands for all types of spending, including: building supplies, fuel, equipment, etc.

By gathering data, having clear objectives and goals, and activating evidenced-based decisions, companies can streamline their project processes and make smarter business decisions that adhere to the age-old KISS principle. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.” Keep it simple.

Read the complete Global Industry Council (GIC) report, “Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering and Construction”.

The post How to define innovation metrics leveraging technology appeared first on Construction Management: News, Resources, Best Practices.

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