The effects of COVID-19 on the construction industry across Asia Pacific including Japan (APIJ) are varied, and the recovery for construction companies across the region can be classified into three phases: “response”, “adaptation”, and “acceleration”. In this blog, we’ll dive into the “response” phase including a look at the technology the industry is adopting for this part of their recovery.
Each phase of recovery is accompanied by specific technology investments construction companies must make to aid their recovery — from initiating projects to reducing costs to survive, to adapting technologies to address gaps and new pandemic-induced requirements, and using new innovations to capture market share.
A recent IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Autodesk, Road to Recovery: Overcoming COVID-19’s Impact on the Construction Industry with Digital Technologies, looks at each of these phases including the top technology investments at each stage of recovery. The InfoBrief found that 18% of construction companies surveyed across the region are in the crisis response phase and looking at technology projects that reduce operating costs, while 16% are looking at technology projects that react to the crisis brought on by COVID-19 (for example, technology to support business continuity like video conferencing tools).
The goal of construction companies in the “response” phase
The goal of construction companies in the “response” phase is to ensure the workforce remains connected, engaged, and most of all, safe. A shift in mindset among construction companies in this phase is a must; management must recognise employee outcomes play a more significant role in crisis response over adherence to processes.
Construction companies in the “response” phase were caught unprepared by COVID-19 and are still managing its business impact. The companies in this phase were only making short-term, tactical technology investments and did not have a digital roadmap prior to the pandemic, therefore they had to pivot more quickly than their peers in order to survive. These organisations found they were lacking the resilience needed to support their workforce and are striving to equip workers with the necessary technologies to ensure business continuity.
While the percentage of employees working in the field has decreased from 43% in pre-pandemic days to just 26%, these organisations need to make investments that will ensure the health and safety of employees when businesses increase onsite operations. The shift from a physical to digital workplace is a must in order to reduce human intervention and establish autonomous operations, and at the same time, ensure productivity and engagement from employees.
3 top technology investments in the “response” phase
The IDC InfoBrief found that of those companies surveyed, the top three technology investments in the “response” phase were:
- Video conferencing applications (35%)
- Dedicated health and security applications for employee communication and contact tracing (32%)
- Employee engagement (31%)
To support the workforce, construction companies must establish technology parity, where all workers have secure access to the resources required to do their jobs, no matter their preferred device or if they are local, remote, or in the field. The top three technology investments reflect this focus, in addition to ensuring the workforce is connected, engaged and safe. While these initial steps are tactical, they are the foundations a company needs to ensure business continuity before moving into the “adaptation” phase where business goals and accompanying technology investments can shift into long term, strategic goals to protect companies against further disruptions.
Technology is supporting construction companies with resilience through each phase of COVID-19 recovery
In a new era of convergence where industries, processes and teams are embracing innovative ways of working and dealing with new challenges, streamlined workflows are possible through software such as the solutions within Autodesk Construction Cloud, an integrated cloud-based portfolio of products used to manage construction projects. Autodesk Construction Cloud connects workflows, teams and data at every stage of construction to reduce risk, maximise efficiency and increase profits.
The unified technology offered by Autodesk Construction Cloud is becoming increasingly important for companies to support COVID-19 recovery, and we are working with our customers to support them through their journey to recovery, growth and beyond.