As the Business 4.x & Future of HR conference is close by, Hrvoje Merki, a Board Member and CEO of EURCO answered to several questions on how new technology will impact the construction industry. Take a look:
Has the construction industry embraced digital transformation and new technologies?
In my opinion, the construction industry in Croatia very slowly embraces digital transformation and new technologies. According to current Building Act in Croatia, there are five stakeholders on every project – investor, designer, contractor, supervising engineer and design auditor. Off course in practice, those are more stakeholders – subcontractors, banks, insurance companies, administration in cities, counties, ministries and agencies, various inspectors, FIDIC engineers, etc.
All these stakeholders produce huge amount of information in the form of invoices, Bill of quantities, Bill of materials, offers, tender documentation, bank guaranties, permissions, decisions, minutes of the meetings, elaborates, drawings, etc.
It’s very hard to evaluate situation in all construction branches and in all business processes within each branches and every stakeholders. But it’s very obvious – still many stakeholder didn’t embrace digital transformation and new technologies.
Unfortunately, still the mail tools are e-mail, Excel, Word and AutoCAD 2D. Paperless office and digital signature are still a utopia. And off course, nothing is valid without signature and stamp.
There are some improvement mainly in geodesy where engineers use GPS, aero photogrammetry drones, Civil 3D and other specialized software. Some contractors use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Project Management software, Time Management and various Document Management System (DMS).
What are the challenges in adopting new technologies?
The only investments that are taking place in the Republic of Croatia are infrastructure projects funded from EU funds and investment in tourism. In this way, the main investors are the state and tourism sector. Other investments are very rare.
So, there are no space for implementation of new technologies among the most of construction companies which struggle with Pre-bankruptcy Settlement Processes. Those competitors are victims of dumping prices at public tenders below planned tender prices in aim to present to the banks that they have some kind of cash flow in the near future. Although, they know they will make a loss.
The main challenges in business years 2018 and 2019 will be the implementation of e-invoicing service in investors’ and contractors’ daily business operations.
The main challenges within the companies will be how to motivate older workers to accept the changes that new technologies are bringing and to educate low and middle-skilled workers.
How can we prepare for accelerating changes?
First of all, we all have to change our mindset. After that we have to change our business strategies based on entering on EU market, development of own training centers and lots of learning!
How is new technology transforming your business?
Company EURCO Inc. implemented SAP ERP software, Fleet Management software as GPS tracking of excavators, trucks and vehicles with aim of decreasing of fuel consumption and increase of machine and workers efficiency. Also, we use drones in construction projects. We have enormous quantity of digital data from work sites and based on them we make our business decisions on daily basis.
What will tech do for us in the future?
There are more than 10 year demolition robots on the market. In general, those are robot excavators without cabin with remote controls for excavator operator. New generation excavators are equipped with 2D dig assist system – sensors on the bucket, stick and boom which can automate the digging process resulting in perfect slopes and trenches. Also, the excavators have GPS sensor and Fleet Management Software, bucket sensors for accurate weighing and lots of other new features which ensure maximum productivity, minimize fuel costs, maximize tons per hour.
In the near future, technology will replace Excavator Operators with robots and truck drivers in classic trucks with self-driving trucks.
So, technology will find solution to current problem – lack of workers.
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Looking forward to seeing you in Umag!