Key Tools, Technologies, & Workflows That Give Contractors an Edge in 2021

Like every industry, construction is ever-changing, always evolving. The past year’s challenges and downturns have led many construction companies to embrace previously foreign technologies, taking them mainstream. The resiliency we’ve seen among contractors of all sorts is impressive, and on an upward trend. How can a more digitized approach prepare you and your company for whatever the future might bring, both in 2021 and beyond? Let’s dig into it.

Growth Despite Difficult Profit Margins

Materials costs are rising and production has been tenuous. Add to that an increase in competition and you’re looking at low profit margins that are often hard-fought. While we all look toward the future, what all contractors can do in the meantime is to utilize current, new, and emerging digital technologies to create a viable equation and solve for profit. Higher production, precision, and preparedness are key to making the most of business going forward, and tech can help you get there. 

Tech Solutions for a Streamlined Approach

Implement these key strategies now so you’re in a better position to ride the wave of predicted market growth:

  1. Integrate Building Information Modeling (BIM): This structured, multi-disciplinary approach can create a digitized version of your project across its lifecycle. Planning, design, infrastructure, construction plans, and operation details are all on-demand with BIM. Teams can easily access needed information at any stage and edit in real time. Resulting decisions are faster and more informed, operations become more transparent, and documentation gets a major boost. Specifically skilled BIM technicians can be added to your team to manage this technology, taking the burden off of a foreman or supervisor.
  2. Utilize Model-Based Estimating: Before you ever break ground, digital tools can help your team to use an up-to-date, 3-D, scaled model when estimating materials quantities. With the ability to preemptively compare and contrast design options, decisions come quickly while accuracy and overall efficiency are only enhanced. For especially tricky materials or projects, model-based estimating is a vital addition to your business arsenal.
  3. Make Use of the Cloud: Poor documentation and document management is a headache for every contractor out there. Outdated or incorrect documents can cost time, money, and lead to mistakes and miscalculations. Depending on the details, that could be disastrous for your project. On the other hand, cloud-based document management solutions allow real-time access by the entire team so documents are kept up-to-date and work can proceed. Increased productivity, efficiency, and communication are invaluable benefits from integrating this tech.
  4. Track Materials Via the Internet of Things (IoT): Before work can ever get started, the right gear, equipment, tools, and materials need to be on-site at the right time. And since storage space is typically limited, it’s an often less-than-graceful dance to keep materials flowing at the right rate to keep efficiency high. Timing and tracking materials becomes an essential part of every project, and that’s where the IoT can help. Connecting trucks and fleets via sensors means that a contractor can know shipment status and material location on demand, which helps to keep jobs on track and on budget. Upgrade from a manual process to the IoT and streamline operations.
  5. Upgrade the Bidding Process: In every sector of the construction industry, bidding can be a competitive, messy, complicated process. Digitizing the experience means that when details, dates, and key components of the bid change, technology steps in to collect and streamline all the relevant facts and figures. With all that information at your fingertips you can accurately track key bids while avoiding duplication and more costly mistakes. And in the future, all that collected information is invaluable to make informed and effective decisions.
  6. Improve Communication from Office to Field: This is pretty self-explanatory but it’s still a vital need across all construction projects. Manual processes will always have their place, but to ensure clear communication and up-to-the-minute data transfer you’ve got to take things digital. Office teams and folks on the ground will stay connected in realtime and will be able to readily access key documents, photos, models, and drawings in one central location.

As your industry looks forward and works to navigate new uncertainties and challenges that will inevitably come, communication and collaboration will be more important than ever. If you haven’t already, now is the time to implement technology to help streamline operations and solve age-old problems. The result will be a more in-touch, nimble team that can deliver on every project more efficiently and effectively. 

Optimize for Success

Another key component of ongoing success is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re protected. Zinc Insurance brings that assurance, year in and out, with comprehensive and tailored policies that address your business’s specific risks and hazards. You can’t know what the future will bring. But by outfitting your operations with an increased focus on technology and protecting your business against life’s what ifs, you know that success is in reach. 

The folks at Zinc know that hard work is part of your everyday, and we put just as much effort into helping you find ideal coverage for your business and your team. So take advantage of our expertise and reach out to learn more. We can’t wait to help fuel your success!

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

    Josh Freet, ZINC's contractor insurance expert


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