The appropriate response to disruption in Engineering and Construction is a better outcome for the customer, which means higher productivity and superior performance.
The engineering and construction industry could well be facing intense, disruptive challenges over the coming years. The appropriate response to disruption is a better outcome for the customer, which means higher productivity and superior performance.
The appropriate response to disruption in Engineering & Construction is superior productivity & performance – a better outcome for the customer.
For most owners and contractors, project governance, risk and controls remain static, manual and paper-based activities that do not report events in real time. And over time, these controls have become ever more complex and lengthy, to the extent that they bombard users with too much information and too many tasks, so that project managers struggle to make sense of the data to make meaningful decisions. The inflexible, rules-based approach can provide a straitjacket for users — especially from younger generations. Our three-point response to this challenge is:
Point 1: Assess
Point 2: Rationalize
Point 3: Rebuild
Like most industries, technology lies at the heart of the future engineering and construction company. It can help attract younger talent (who may be excited by the prospects of transforming project delivery) and add much-needed transparency to project reporting. Robotics and automation should aid efficiency, and data and analytics can help to better understand trends in project delivery. But if the main players don’t take up the mantle, they could find themselves disrupted and displaced by newer entrants — as has happened in so many other industries.
Point 1: Create a technology/ data diagnostic
Point 2: Find quick wins
Point 3: Create a clear digital strategy and roadmap
Today’s engineering and construction companies may employ as many as four different generations of worker. In the face of rapidly-changing technology, and increasingly complex, large-scale projects, how can they overcome generational barriers to create a high-performing workforce up to such challenges?
Point 1: Create a culture that works for everyone
This goes right back to the recruitment process. Many bright young people want to work in ‘cool’ industries that embrace cutting edge technology and adopt an entrepreneurial spirit common to tech start-ups, which presents a wonderful opportunity for companies to embrace cutting-edge technology, both as a route to innovation and efficiency, and a way to attract fresh talent.
Point 2: Balance hard versus soft controls
And it’s not just about managing people’s feelings and expectations. Shareholders, customers and the wider public expect companies to practice the right values. Furthermore, employees devoted to ‘doing the right thing’ are arguably more likely to practice hard controls, on the grounds that it makes both ethical and business sense. We’re not suggesting that organizations throw out the rule books; but, as we’ve argued in our Rethinking controls section, regulations and procedures should at the very least be rationalized.
Point 3: Rethink talent management
Workforce optimization means utilizing resources effectively, by understanding the capabilities and potential of your high performers, and giving them the platform to build experience and develop fulfilling careers, and addressing issues that could cause them to leave. And finally, workforce analytics is all about improving performance, by understanding how workers collaborate and behave, and spotting gaps.