- A new Dodge Data & Analytics study, commissioned by B2W Software to explore technology trends in heavy civil construction, found that the top barrier to contractors’ adoption of new cost management technologies is concern about getting field workers' acceptance. Out of the 153 U.S. and Canadian contractors surveyed, 61% cited this as one of their top three obstacles, while 51% expressed concern about new mobile applications for managing operations in the field. Only 14% of respondents said they were satisfied with their current means of tracking field costs, according to information presented during a May 16 webinar on the findings.
- Contractors said their three biggest cost-management challenges are an inability to conduct real-time or daily financial tracking, poor resource utilization and the office’s lack of visibility into cost-related issues in the field.
- According to the study, the top technologies that address these challenges are mobile devices, mobile applications that manage operations in the field and real-time connectivity via the web and the cloud.
Nearly all contractors Dodge surveyed (95%) said mobile applications that help manage field operations will play a very important or extremely important role in improving cost management two years from now. In contrast to the stereotype that construction executives are tech-averse, this finding suggests that company leaders are open to new technologies and that other barriers to adoption may be getting overlooked.
Only 14% of contractors said they weren’t interested in new cost management applications. Meanwhile, the top barrier to introduction of these programs pertained to worker acceptance rather than company aversion.
A growing number of construction companies are recognizing the benefits of mobile devices on jobsites. When JBKnowledge conducted its annual Construction Technology Report in 2012, 41% of respondents said mobile capabilities were “not very important.” But in last year’s report, that number decreased to 16.9% with 83.1% responding that mobile tech was important or very important. One Texas contractor said in a separate report that using iPads on jobsites saves his company an estimated $1.8 million on project costs annually.
“The mobile transformation is happening all throughout the industry,” said Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights at Dodge, in the company's recent webinar titled “Field-Centric Cost Management: Managing Project Costs in Real-Time, not Accounting-Time.” The more firms can eliminate project uncertainty by using mobile, data-driven technology tools, the better their bids will be, he said.
“Those firms that have adopted and embraced these technologies … [will] be more and more successful as a result, and it’s going to be more difficult for firms that are reluctant to get involved to compete with them,” Jones said.