U.S. Construction Execs Say Technology Will Help Close Performance Gap for Delivery of Capital Projects

U.S. Construction Execs Say Technology Will Help Close Performance Gap for Delivery of Capital Projects

U.S. Construction Execs Say Technology Will Help Close Performance Gap for Delivery of Capital Projects

The FINANCIAL -- The majority of U.S. construction executives, 72 percent, believe that the construction industry has not reached an acceptable level of performance in the delivery of capital projects. However, 92 percent of U.S. construction executives believe that technology will fundamentally change their businesses, and help them bridge the performance gap, according to KPMG’s Make it, or break it – Global Construction Survey 2017 report.

“Engineering and construction companies in the U.S. and globally need to take significant steps in improving performance to align to stakeholders’ expectations,” said Geno Armstrong, International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction, KPMG LLP. “The industry is ripe for disruption, but only those who have invested in the right technologies and controls will be able to rapidly achieve massive uplifts in performance.”

The report highlights the views of 201 global senior executives from major project owners and engineering and construction companies, 61 of which were U.S.-based.

Implementing New Technologies and Aligning Digital & Business Strategies

Fifty percent of U.S. survey participants said that technology will change their business over the next two to three years, compared to 47 percent globally. Asked if their organizations have developed data/technology strategies or road maps, slightly more than 50 percent of the U.S. and global participants said they had not.

Regarding the technologies that will deliver the greatest overall return on investment, U.S. executives most frequently cited: ‘integrated project management information systems’ (PMIS) at 68 percent, ‘building information modeling’ at 53 percent, and ‘use of advanced data analytics’ at 48 percent.

“There are obvious cost and performance benefits associated with leveraging technology, but we also expect the change will attract the next generation of the industry’s workforce,” added Armstrong.

Changing Workforce Demographics and Adapting New Controls

The KPMG survey indicated that millennials make up 30.1 percent of the U.S. construction workforce and 40 percent of the global workforce, closing in on U.S. baby boomers who comprise 30.4 percent of the workforce, and exceeding the global baby boomers at 23 percent.

According to the survey, millennials feel constrained by the traditional, rigid, impersonal, ‘hard’, technical project controls currently in place in the construction industry. As a result, 52 percent of U.S. survey participants indicated that they are formalizing ‘soft’ controls – ensuring that all staff is clear about their roles, can raise issues or concerns, are confident they will be listened to, and, ultimately, embody the right values – as part of their project delivery services to meet the needs of the increasing millennial workforce.

“It’s not just about improving the three drivers of governance, people and technology, but also addressing missing linkages between them,” added Armstrong. “Standardization and optimization are worthy goals, but on their own are unlikely to narrow the performance gap. Future success is dependent upon rationalizing the rule books, creating truly integrated digital strategies, and nurturing a workforce and culture that embrace new technologies.”