2020 set to be the tipping point for digitisation in the UK construction industry
A survey of 200 UK decision makers in construction, as part of a new industry report, reveals 2020 to be a pivotal year for the uptake of digitisation and digital solutions to address areas such as friction within supply chains, risk management and increasing staff productivity.
The findings show that despite 54% admitting the industry has been slow to adopt digital technologies, there are green shoots of optimism with businesses operating across the lifecycle of the built environment realising the benefits of investment in new technology and seeing a positive impact on:
- Commercial performance – with 43% increasing their business win rates, 56% reducing operating costs, and 54% improving their workforce productivity.
- Project and operational control – 70% have witnessed better and faster flows of information and data.
- Supply chain performance – 48% have built stronger relations with their supply chain.
- Talent management – 58% have been successful at attracting and retaining new digital talent.
- Client relationships – 52% have experienced increased client satisfaction.
Looking forward, this momentum looks set to continue with 81% of respondents across the construction sector stating that in the next 12 months they will be taking greater leaps to improve their business digitally.
Challenges do remain however with respondents pointing to a number of key drivers that need to be addressed if the industry is to take full advantage of the opportunities of digitisation and digital technology. The key themes that emerged through the research were standardising technology across the supply chain, developing a new and diverse digitally driven workforce and improving profitability to enable increased investment in new technology. To empower decision making at the front line, there is a clear need for intuitive, easy to use and deploy, web enabled, mobile tech where data is readily shared and available.
Chief Executive of Causeway, Phil Brown, said: “Construction isn’t always the first sector that comes to mind when you think about innovation and business transformation. In fact, it is often presented as a laggard, mired in complexity and challenge.
This can be partly attributed to the fact the industry is stuck in a vicious circle of low productivity and low profitability. Yet across the construction industry – right now – our customers and many other forward acting businesses are going beyond traditional back-office systems to harness digital technologies at the front-line. An area where, in today’s mobile and digitally enabled world, success will increasingly be found. And as a result, many businesses and clients are transforming their commercial performance by reducing operating costs, managing risk, enhancing supplier relationships increasing productivity, and boosting service delivery.”
The new report ‘Construction’s Digital Frontline; How an industry is stepping up to its transformation opportunity’ has been commissioned by the UK construction software company, Causeway. As part of the report, interviews were conducted with industry leaders such as Birmingham City University, Atkins, and Eiffage Kier joint venture. The report aims to shine a light on the emerging reality of the adoption of new innovations across the industry.
The President of Atkins, Philip Hoare, was interviewed as part of the report and spoke about how Atkins are big drivers of digitisation and technology innovations in the industry, and the steps that still need to be taken for the industry to truly embrace digital: “The construction industry isn’t just about boots and hard hats, but is also about clever software design and creating solutions at the front end. The more we promote that, the more we will continue to attract a diverse skills mix into the market.
“We [Atkins] facilitate innovation, we’re really open to it. I think a lot of organisations are fairly open to bringing in new ideas and new thinking. I’m working with my team to embrace technology, that means spending more time sat down as part of an integrated design team discussing solutions.”
The report ‘Construction’s Digital Frontline’ is available to read in full here.
Causeway provides powerful cloud-based solutions that transforms commercial performance across the front line of its construction customers’ businesses. By automating key processes, networking supply chains, and unlocking operational and commercial intelligence, Causeway empowers customers with the visibility and control to make better decisions at every stage of the construction lifecycle. Today, more than 2,500 companies use Causeway to seize front line productivity and profitability opportunities to solve tangible business challenges.
The digitisation research was conducted between May and June 2019 and spoke to 200 people across different sectors of the construction industry via telephone interviews. Sectors include design, infrastructure engineering, pre-construction, procurement, estimating, bid generating, operations, supply chain management, finance management, commercial management, project management, and contracts management. The research was conducted by Coleman Parkes.