The COVID-19 outbreak has affected businesses all around the world, with the number of reported cases rising every day. Even after governments, health officials and companies have responded quickly with the preventive measures, there is still much more to be done. The construction industry, in particular, has been greatly affected and suffered since many construction projects have shut down. Some building projects have remained unfinished due to disrupted supply chain and restrictions on operations.
Construction companies must carefully analyze and implement effective measures that can help the industry emerge with success in the future. Even though the working of businesses like before seems unlikely, the industry leaders and executives must prepare for what the industry may look like post corona times. However, the construction industry has played a critical role in emergency situations by building hospitals within a few weeks, and donating equipment.
Many industry leaders are now reshaping their strategies and operations, developing new initiatives, and adapting to new technologies to come out stronger than ever. Proactive is the key, leaders must mold their agendas to improve their odds.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the measures that construction companies must adopt to prepare for the next normal.
Strategize Business Priorities
To effectively respond to the novel coronavirus, construction companies must reorganize their business priorities. Technologies and best practices emerging during the pandemic, coupled with some of the existing construction solutions are now emerging to bring a permanent improvement in the industry. A smart investment and distribution of capital and resources can contribute to overcoming the crisis with great success.
Technologies that keep the projects moving as planned while not only limiting the need of personnel, but also helps protecting the staff can be expected to be in high demand. Tools for remote collaborations and digital construction documents will gain importance to limit the project meetings in person.
To find the optimal solution for the crisis, it is imperative for construction companies and business partners to incorporate digitization for converting information and data into digital formats. The following examples help in understanding how digitization can be implemented at every stage.
- Contractors can implement remote collaborations approach and incorporate digital building models at al production stages.
- Distributors may need to implement eCommerce platforms to reduce the physical interaction to the bare minimum. It also allows the customer service team to interact with the customers with digital tools.
- Implementing BIM modeling and complementary collaboration tools is now more important than ever for engineering team.
- Material and component providers must ensure market access through eCommerce platform.
Modular and Off-Site Construction
Modular construction practices were being used by many building projects, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The technique of prefabricating the building modules in an isolated and controlled environment offers several benefits including emergency situations like the coronavirus outbreak. Some of the benefits are:
- Reducing material waste by prefabricating the building modules as per the design.
- Better quality control.
- Reducing environmental footprint via pollution.
- Personnel safety.
- Time savings.
Modular construction can also create collaboration opportunities for material suppliers, especially if they can work at the building sites. Implementing automation of common construction practices and robots can greatly reduce the number of labors needed on site.
Supply Chain Resilience
Many construction companies are constantly trying to improve their supply chain. However, during emergency situations like coronavirus outbreak, finding and improving weak links become extremely critical. Some of the recommended options for improving the supply chain resilience are:
- Identification of backup distribution channels.
- Having a well-managed building inventory.
- Identifying the optimal combination of subcontractors and permanent personnel.
Enhancing Customer Service
The motive of all businesses regardless of the industry is to continue growing economically while offering their services to the best of their capabilities. In order to do that, identifying customer issues and enhancing the customer service is extremely important. During the current emergency situation, the traditional one to one approach is unfollowed for maintaining social distancing.
Customers are now looking for sustainable online retail services for their requirements. Companies must adapt to digital platforms for ensuring they provide good customer service, and also eliminate the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.
To sum it up, Companies that have already incorporated these actions are now seeing a substantial advantage compared to those following the traditional methods. Adopting new technologies and best practices, and creating user friendly digital platforms is expected to help construction companies achieve faster economic recovery.