Will Buildots revolutionize construction AI?
Industry 4.0, the phase of the industrial revolution that combines production and physical operations with smart digital technology and big data, is driving significant changes in the traditional manufacturing landscape. Yet the construction sector remains one of the least digitized sectors of the economy, according to McKinsey.
The opportunity can no longer be overlooked. The new civil engineer, reports that Industry 4.0 gains for the construction industry could be worth an additional £ 25bn each year.
While it may seem daunting, traditional businesses such as building material dealers and lumber camps should reap huge productivity benefits by taking the first steps towards such a digital transformation. This is particularly relevant now, as manufacturing growth in the UK has reached a Highest for 27 years in April, which means that the future looks particularly bright for the industry.
Mark Hughes, UK & I RVP, Epicor Software, said it’s not always clear where this process begins. Coordinating work between departments such as finance, human resources, and marketing can easily lead to confusion of priorities, in addition to a potential waste of time and money. So let’s take a detailed look at how to track, measure and improve productivity through digitization.
Why monitor productivity?
This is not a trick question, and the answer is not simply to improve productivity. It’s a bit more complex than that and it helps to have clear goals to start with. When approaching productivity monitoring at the outset, there are two key objectives.
First, analyze the differences, nuances, and anomalies in your existing processes. For example, it might be determining why one employee might skip a step in a process, while another is proceeding faster but making mistakes that need to be corrected later. Or maybe your business has multiple locations, with one consistently completing routine tasks faster than the other, such as picking and packing inventory in a warehouse. What does each location do differently?
Second, locate obstacles and expose inefficiencies. When employees skip a step, are they missing something they need, maybe equipment or training? An employee’s to-do list may very well be filled with tasks that they consider unimportant or that interfere with their job as a whole. As the person managing this, it is important not to be judgmental in your approach, so that employees are as open as possible – allowing for a better understanding of what drives efficiency or what is lacking.
Who are you following and where?
Everyone in a business needs to be aware of their job performance and how it affects the business as a whole, starting with the CEO or CEO. It’s a fairly common practice these days for employees to have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), allowing measurement and goal setting.
The early stages of digitization allow more accurate measurement of many KPIs at all levels of the business. In a warehouse, for example, employees can use terminals or tablets to record the time it takes to complete particular tasks, creating valuable performance data and revealing potential bottlenecks. It’s worth reiterating that simple time-related metrics like these are applicable at all levels of a business, in all departments.
Greater digitization means more opportunities to measure productivity. This means tracking can take place wherever employees are, whether in the yard, warehouse, office, or remotely from home. The benefits of increasing productivity in one area tend to be shared among others. Speeding up work in the yard can speed up work in the warehouse, which can boost the productivity of administrative staff down the line.
How to measure productivity?
Productivity can be measured in two ways: either by efficiency measures or by output measures. Output metrics tend to be associated with company level goals related to finance and operations, such as profit margin and revenue. Efficiency as a measure is a snapshot of productivity over a period of time – the time it takes to complete a task or move through the various stages of a workflow.
Efficiency measures are straightforward and easy to spot. They can take the form of “lines per hour” to enter orders into a system, or “items per hour” to pick them up and deliver them. Comparing within the parameters of an efficiency metric makes it much easier to assess differences in productivity between employees.
Directly comparing several different metrics with each other can be difficult, but taken together they can paint a useful picture for your business. So, returning to the warehouse as an example, a manager needs to track a prominent output metric such as percentage of inventory accuracy – as well as efficiency and output metrics for each task that affects this precision. By making a greater effort to track and record all running processes, errors can be reduced in preparation, packaging, shipping and paperwork.
The most accessible way to consolidate all this new tracking data in one place is to digitize – invest in a quality software platform where employees can record activity.
What will the results be?
Once productivity is properly tracked, you can expect three clear sets of results.
- Greater Employee Engagement – Provided all monitoring remains fair and free from judgment or bias, employees can begin to work together to improve their own metrics. Greater visibility of data will allow your employees to make their own recommendations for better work practices, eliminating bottom-up waste.
- Less wasted time; more time saved – one of the main ways to save time is to automate repetitive tasks like invoicing or inventory, made possible by digitization. For example, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that monitors inventory levels and delivery times can massively streamline operations, smoothing out peaks and troughs in activity through more accurate forecasting. supply and demand.
- More efficiency and agility – by consolidating the different productivity metrics on a single digital platform, it becomes possible to see how they influence each other. You might notice that the time it takes to complete a seemingly basic task in a workflow actually has a big ripple effect down the line. It might then be prudent to assign more people to this task in order to speed up your entire operation.
- These results are just the beginning: the first steps in a long journey of digital transformation. As is often the case with rapid periods of innovation, you don’t necessarily know where this journey ends. However, it is becoming clear that Industry 4.0 is advancing at a rapid pace. The construction industry is one of the largest in the UK economy and it deserves to be on board and reap all the benefits.