Looking back at 2020
2020 has been a year like no other. Whilst we all feel that we have been living in a surreal bubble for most of 2020, the construction industry inspired the nation with its determination to keep going in difficult times. A lot of businesses were affected by the coronavirus leading to significant absence from sites but many construction sites remained open for as long as possible following Government advice and adhering to the social distancing guidance of 2 metres apart.
A year like no other
Although this year is coming to an end, the construction industry will be on a long road to recovery. We started asking questions that were not pressing concerns a few months ago. Is construction not one of the most vulnerable industries? And if so, is construction futureproof? Is it ready to face the challenges of today or the uncertainty of tomorrow? The Coronavirus took its toll and now more than ever is the time to ensure that there is a plan to continue operation in extraordinary circumstances.
Making way for new reality
The extent of the societal shock worldwide drove a large portion of our personal and business activities to go online and highlight the importance of digital tools for business process management. While many at construction sites are involved in physical labour which has been more challenging with reduced numbers, a lot of other activities can potentially be carried out from anywhere and work does not have to cease entirely in times of crises.
Importance of full and real-time visibility
What became evident in the last months is that now construction businesses need more than ever accurate and up-to-date reports to rely on and make informed decision for the future of their operations. This turned out to be the key to carefully control costs, review predicted margins, and forecast short to mid and long term financial risks due to COVID-19. These are important in everyday operation, but even more so in times of uncertainty when stopping operations means violating contractual obligations and potential penalties for project delays. Business leaders need to be able to trust and rely on a single source of truth that involves input from all departments across the business.
What we can take away from 2020
It has been far more challenging for employees to perform their daily activities from home and demonstrate the same level of productivity if their employer does not benefit from a fully integrated end-to-end business management solution. If that’s the case, you risk experiencing the amplified effects of miscommunication, an increased number of mistakes, duplicated data, compromised reports, cost overruns and poor efficiency
Working in the cloud
Companies that have introduced end-to-end business management solutions and have set up their software in the cloud experienced the benefits of flexibility. They not only work with one single integrated system, and hence one source of the truth, but are also able to access it from anywhere and at any time. Not much has really changed for them in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. As usual, they have access to their documents and data from any device remotely and when they need them. This is what allows construction businesses to adapt quickly in difficult times. If you do not have a solution in the cloud such as 4PS Construct, that is a lot more difficult. How do you ensure that all data is kept up to date? And that the operational users have access to all documents and data? Even more importantly – do you feel you can trust the data that you make your decisions on?
It is beyond doubt that working in the cloud allows you to make the most of your “home office” during unannounced, challenging periods as we currently experience. And what it feels like managing a crisis today is likely to become the norm tomorrow.
Would you like to know more about how the industry can overcome some of the challenges of long-term crises and be more resilient through technology? Download the whitepaper ‘Construction is braving the storm’.
Mark Egan | Mark has worked with the construction industry for more than 10 years. During that time Mark developed a good understanding of the industry. As a member of the 4PS UK team, he advises construction companies on maximising profits and optimising efficiency through digitising theis businesses.