Posted: September 12, 2018
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Conley Smith, Sr. Business Writer
Contractors today are in an enviable position. All summer long, construction spending in the U.S. has been surging past the $1 trillion mark monthly. Experts believe demand for all types of infrastructure investment will hold steady and backlogs for the next six to 12 months through 2018 should be as good or better than in 2017.
But even in rosy economic times, a myriad of risks is always lurking. When it comes to managing risk in the construction industry, there are plenty of potential hazards to go around. Everything from the most basic things like insuring the company truck and your equipment in the field to making sure your data and customer’s data is safe from cyber attacks, the list goes on and on.
Are Risks Dragging Down Productivity and Profits?
Maybe not all risks are as obvious when it comes to how you manage your profitability and productivity. On a daily basis, today’s contractors struggle with risks that are both within and beyond their control. Whether you’re in the roofing or plumbing trade, these issues may seem all too familiar:
Hiring the Right People
For many of these issues, the common denominators are people and technology. It seems most contractors are either worried about hiring enough skilled workers in today’s booming construction economy or having the right tech tools for their workforce.
Having a tech-savvy, skilled workforce is one of the best ways to ensure you can overcome these challenges. However, this is proving an uphill struggle for many with nearly 90% of contractors facing a shortage of skilled workers and 67% struggling to find supervisory staff, according to the FMI Survey.
Much of this concern is due to retiring Baby Boomers. Companies across the construction spectrum are facing a wide range of skills shortages. As a result, the construction industry will have to look to technology to fill the gaps as they begin to focus away from finding enough warm bodies to building an environment where they can retain the right skill sets and backgrounds. This is getting increasingly tough as the market has become more and more competitive for crucial roles like construction estimators.
Some experts even speculate that the need for talent could have a serious and long-term impact on the construction industry. Attracting the next generation of workers, especially Millennials, will be tough for many construction companies. For example, the FMI Survey showed that 88% of firms encounter risks related to a lack of skilled craft workers and 67% face risks associated with the limited number of available field supervisors.
Stop Struggling and Start Innovating
When it comes to profitability and bidding the right work, adopting innovative, new technology is undoubtedly the only road forward. Consider for a minute that the FMI Survey showed that industry stakeholders expect to see more change within the next five years than there has been in the last 50 years. Working smarter, not harder, has never been more critical.
As a proverbial late adopter, the construction industry must commit to exploring new ideas and take advantage of digitization and new technologies. Truly, tech tools are abundant as billions of dollars are pouring into the construction technology sector. The win-win is that construction companies who invest in the right tech tools will have an easier time hiring and retaining the right skill sets in a tight labor market.
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