The construction industry was slow to embrace innovative technology. The idea of Industry 4.0 emerged in 2011 as a means to improve efficiency, focusing on interconnecting people with machines, devices, and sensors—collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP). Transparency became mandatory, while automation and machine learning became the norms. Key differentiators of Industry 4.0 from previous revolutions include its disruptive speed, scope, impact across sectors, and shift in the concept of technology in the workplace.
How is Industry 4.0 Changing Construction?
Manufacturers and retailers were early adopters of Industry 4.0 concepts, and they thoroughly tested, developed, and vetted the various technological advancements. The construction industry is reaping the fruits of those labors and incorporating many of the innovations, such as blockchain technology, building information modeling (BIM), IoT for worker safety and building maintenance, wearable personal protective equipment (PPE), and drones.
How to Incorporate New Technology
Many of these advancements have exciting potential, but change doesn’t always come easily. Investing in advanced software or equipment that workers refuse to use is a waste of resources and curtails revenue potential. Persuading employees to use the new high-tech tools requires a change management strategy.
- Get company leadership on board. Site managers can’t hope to instill change if the boss doesn’t believe in the technology. Workers will want to default to how they’ve always done things because it’s familiar and easy. Employees are more likely to accept change coming from a united management front.
- Start on a smaller scale. New technology is exciting, but innovations aren’t always applicable to every construction business. Choosing the right tools and technologies is essential to avoid wasting time and money. Start with a small group of tech-savvy employees instead of exposing the entire organization to new software or equipment. Identifying frequently asked questions can guide training for rolling out the upgrade to the rest of the workforce. These employees can also serve as subject matter experts for their teams.
- Set expectations. People resist change for several reasons. They may not understand the relevance or importance of the technology in relation to their work. They may feel a loss of autonomy, as they were once an expert in their field, and now, they have to start over at square one. Whatever the reason, adoption rates will vary from team to team. Rewards are an effective motivator. Low-hanging fruit, such as providing a small reward for creating a username and password, can encourage employees to take the next step. Offer more substantial rewards as the training increases in complexity. Setting a clear timeline to meet certain benchmarks makes it easier to measure successful implementation.
- Invest in employee knowledge. Some technology will be particularly challenging to master with simple, on-the-job training. Providing continual training beyond what vendors typically supply can help employees feel more comfortable using the new software or equipment. Ongoing education also ensures that employees know how to use the new technology to its full potential.
Change management is essential to ensure construction employees accept and adopt technology changes. Failing to guide this process can result in partial adoption rates or insufficient knowledge to safely use the technology. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about managing your construction company’s risks while upgrading your software and equipment.