Tag: <span>labor</span>

RT3 Members Discuss the Current Issues, Trends and Opportunities for Technology in the Roofing Industry

by Anita Lum

Technology has been at the forefront of nearly every industry for the past decade and roofing is no exception. The industry is ripe for change and has been transforming rapidly as more and more contractors embrace the use of technology in their day-to-day operations. David Huval of National Roofing Partners interviewed Trent Cotney of Cotney Construction Law, Lynn Foster of AccuLynx, and Tom Whitaker of Harness Software, to learn more about the current issues, trends, and opportunities with technology in the roofing industry during the International Roofing Expo in New Orleans.

Both Cotney and Whitaker expressed a current challenge that the whole industry can resonate with – the lack of skilled labor. To combat that need, the adoption of technology in the workplace is critical. Technology can be used to supplement this shortage by doing more with less; there are currently programs geared towards all facets of construction, including project management, work orders and health and safety.

Opportunities for technology in the industry are plenty. With the integration of applications in the workplace, the industry as a whole can really go digital. For instance, smartphones and tablets have become part of our daily lives, so integrating it into our businesses should be the next step. As Foster put it, “…the next couple of years is really going to be the mobile revolution.” This technology will allow instant transmission of information from the field to the office, which is critical to increase efficiency, decrease risks, and drive performance.

Other trends in roofing technology include drones; “Drone technology has gotten so much better over the last few years and it’s going to continue to make a huge impact,” said Whitaker. Cotney mentions the use of blockchain, a new way of engaging in contract payment method, to improve productivity by cutting out the middlemen.  According to Foster, integration is also set take off in the next couple years with “all these different entities getting together on one platform and integrating.” This will ensure much smoother processes by keeping all business information in one space.

While the roofing industry has been slow to adopt the new technology into their processes, this is beginning to change. With the technology tools identified by Cotney, Foster, and Whitaker, roofers can streamline workflows, manage clients, and share projects across the board, and ultimately grow their business.

Watch a recap of the interviews below.

The Best Employers in the Built World Embrace Technology

By Isabel Singer, BuiltWorlds.

The AEC industries have a workforce issue. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70 percent of contractors have difficulty finding qualified craftspeople and, in 2017, the National Association of Home Builders found that the median age of construction workers was 41.

Given the challenges facing the industry, how can you ensure that great people want to work for your company? According to Travis Voss, the answer lies in embracing technology.

Travis Voss is the Technology Manager of Mechanical Inc., one of the nation’s top 50 mechanical contractors. Voss’ efforts to get employees excited about and invested in innovative technology has transformed Mechanical Inc.’s workforce. Since Voss joined the company in 2016, he believes that Mechanical Inc. has become even younger, even sharper, and employees stay at the company for even longer.

Voss agreed to sit down with BuiltWorlds and share Mechanical Inc.’s secrets for creating a robust workforce.

Tech-forward organizations recruit first-rate talent

When trying to recruit young people, Voss makes sure Mechanical Inc. showcases its technology. Voss ensures that all the interns that spend time at Mechanical Inc. visit the technology department and, whenever Voss visits a job fair, he brings along a HoloLens or an HTC Vive.

“Keeping those shiny toys out in front entices young people to talk to us,” Voss laughed. “But in all seriousness, a few decades ago, you didn’t look at innovation as important when you were trying to recruit people. You just wanted to offer a stable position, good salary, and benefits. But, now the employment market is a seller’s market. You have to have a leg up to entice the talent in. They’re not going to want to work in a company that’s still doing things in an old school method when they know there is technology out there. Young prospective employees have grown up around technology and they know there must be a better way of doing things.”

Cutting-edge companies retain talent

Tech-forward companies retain talent because employees take pride in working for an innovative company. Furthermore, when a company has an innovative culture, employees have confidence that their company can weather adverse market conditions.

Voss related that employees “take pride in the fact like they’re working with a forward-thinking company, a company that is striving to innovate and bring new things to the industry. If another company offers everything similar across the board, but the competitor is still using pad and paper, employees prefer to stick around with the forward-thinking company because chances are the innovative company is better positioned to survive.”

Only GREAT Technology will help your company retain GREAT talent

Technology only helps retain talent if it improves employees’ work experience. Voss urges company leaders to experiment with new technology and not to fear failure. “You can rely on organizations such as BuiltWorlds and programs like the BuiltWorlds Pilots to help you curate different apps and gadgets and narrow down your focus,” he explained. “But, at a certain point, you have to invest in something that you feel is beneficial for your company. But, you should still treat the new tech like a research project. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a product that isn’t working for you. It’s a sunk cost.”

Voss also emphasizes that the opinions of field workers are vital when evaluating new tech. “I’m not a field foreman. I’m not a pipe fitter,” Voss said. “So, I have to admit that I don’t know what they know. No matter how awesome I think something is, I’m not the one that has to deal with the endpoint solution day-to-day. I always ask stakeholders, ‘do you think this will improve your job?’ and I accept that input.”

Note: This article was first published on BuiltWorld’s blog and can be viewed here.

Technology Could Help Attract Younger Generation to Construction Industry

Although construction sometimes has been viewed as one of the last industries to embrace technology, many companies are taking steps to implement useful technology on job sites. And as the industry evolves, it will have to embrace more innovation to attract millennials and those even younger, according to www.forconstructionpros.com.

Some emerging technology construction companies could incorporate on job sites include drones, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality, smartphone apps, tablets and wearables.

“Millennials have grown up attached to technology,” says Chad Hollingsworth, co-founder and CEO of Triax Technologies, Norwalk, Conn. “Job sites today are so far removed from what millennials have come to expect in their daily lives. They expect new solutions to do their job better, to get rid of manual processes.”

One challenge is closing the gap between more seasoned construction professionals, who might be more hesitant to leverage new systems, and younger, more tech-savvy individuals, who might not have as much experience with traditional construction methods.

“Older generations look to millennials for how to incorporate the tech into the job site,” says Paul Gomori, application engineering manager for JCA Electronics, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Additionally, the attitude and outlook millennials have toward life and careers can help entice them to work in the construction industry.

“Millennials want to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they’re doing,” Hollingsworth says. “This carries over to their professional lives.”

But attracting millennials in the face of a labor shortage is not the only advantage to having more technology on job sites. Newer devices and methods can improve efficiency and productivity and produce tangible results.

“The right construction technology can centralize information and communication, improve safety, and reduce the amount of time spent on non-value-added tasks,” Hollingsworth says. “It is something that (workers) can use to develop their skills, streamline daily tasks and ultimately become better at their jobs.

Note: This article first appeared on the NRCA website and can be viewed here.