The construction industry hasn't changed since we've began building
And it's ripe for disruption
Construction is a simple process and has many opportunities to become technologically savvy. At the field and management level there is incredible savings to capitalize.
Here's how smaller companies or startups can take advantage.
Reinvigorating the work force
There's more supply than ever when it comes to good hands. With recent layoffs from large companies like Exxon, Chevron, and larger EPC firms there is freelance talent that can be used to run smaller ambitious projects for fractions of the price.
The key problem is how to find, develop and retain this newly injected talent. Larger companies aren't going to spend the time and money to train workers on a new industry or system.
The opportunity for smaller companies enabled by software and the internet will allow them to be profitable in an uncertain job period.
Industry based job boards
Job boards are not specific enough for a technical industry like construction. Construction jobs rely on welders, fitters, carpenters, mechanics, and many other trade skills that aren't easily expressed on paper.
Specific job boards for these trade skills are perfect to showcase the tradespeople looking for work. Allowing them to put their certifications, upload previous project work, as well as secure ID information for facility access streamlines the hiring and vetting process. When a turnaround happens at a chemical plant, its all hands on deck. Saving time and effort in the hiring process is crucial for contractor-client relations.
Flexible on demand workforce
Large companies don't have the luxury of hiring on the fly due to their lengthy vetting process and HR procedures.
What if there was a streamlined process?
What if there was a database with pre vetted/tested contractors?
The base requirements for trade skill workers are:
- drug test
- proof of work
All items that can be kept online and accessible to a contracting company. Leverage the contacts that your people have and put them in a database. Know who and where they have worked before. Filter the results by what you need when you get a call in the afternoon about needing another crew the next day.
Community based updates can be integrated as well. Companies can post about new openings for bids and allow contractors to apply. They can rate contractors internally for future managers and engineers to look at prior to accepting bids.
Referrals and Reviews
As much as people want to take a chance on someone just starting, it's a lifesaver to have a referral from someone that vouches for your previous work. There are a couple ways of doing this - testimonials and referrals.
Whenever you are doing work you want to be asking for feedback from the client. This doesn't have to be sleazy - ask what you felt you did well and what you'd like to see in the future.
Be able to take the kind words of others with you to your next job. Good work is tough to come by, and having that available in your pocket is valuable for the next position you're looking for.
Automating the Process
Wouldn't it be great if your plumber/roofer/lawn care guy had an app?
What if that app was integrated with PayPal?
Pay directly in the app, no fuss about invoicing, and everything is tracked and managed into an easy to use form.
Scaling these features and integrations to the large construction projects would help with balancing sheets, managing personnel and project updates, and getting paid as well as submitting for payment in a timely manner.
Couple this with pre filled bid documentation, estimates, regulatory files, etc and you have a full service within an app. Everyone has a phone that they can access and update during the project. No more losing papers or rummaging through files. Have your projects metrics and status On-Demand.
Other applications include pushing tasks to crews via app for time and material (T&M) work. Maintenance crews can see the upcoming work, clients can set priorities for the new work to be done, and project managers can monitor progress and status for each task.
These are a few thoughts and ideas that people can use and develop in house tools to solve. I'll be looking for solutions myself to help out my own crews.
Want to develop a system or program that can accomplish one (or all) of these ideas? Shoot me a message and we can discuss!