Even large contractors are typically one failed project or market dip away from insolvency. Masonry contractors like New York City’s Navillus can after a decline in revenues find themselves entering and then emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The high percentage of pass-through income often associated with contracting puts contractors at risk from delays in government payments in countries ranging from Sri Lanka to the United States. Today, economic conditions, disruptions in global trade and advancing technology all suggest contractors need to fundamentally change their businesses to survive. We are not talking about a change from one project delivery system to another here—contractors need to leverage technology and innovative thinking to offer disruptive new services and even standardized products.
Contractors that make the most of technology—from digital transformation tools like building information management BIM, artificial intelligence (AI) to the internet of things (IoT) to agile back-office systems used to manage the entire business—will win. But it is not just the technologies themselves that will deliver success as much as the ways new smart construction executive teams can change the way construction is done.
To be transformed by technology, contracting businesses must build their operation around a consistent, agile and complete software backbone. ERP should provide all functions of the business with one consistent set of data, enabling asset data, cost and value to flow through a project’s life cycle all the way from inception to operation and maintenance through to disposal. ERP’s power for construction companies is that it allows management to get control of their business by providing an accurate set of management information that enables predictable project performance and provides strong governance of their business.
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