Why Next-Gen Tools Are a Smart Move, Even in an Old-School Industry

October 4, 2018 Karli Langner

The construction industry has always had a reputation for brawn over brain, and traditionally we lag behind other industries in implementing new technologies. In the HBM world, “next-gen technologies” too often are pushing middle age before we get around to adopting them! But faced with complex global supply chains, unpredictable political and economic policies, changing weather patterns, and intractable labor shortages, HBM contractors, operators, owners, and providers are increasingly seeing the value of incorporating next-gen tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics to remain competitive and create sustainable growth.

It’s a smart move, and here’s why:

Market pressures are squeezing construction budgets, margins, schedules, and material supplies. By digitizing and automating their processes across an integrated platform, data-driven heavy materials operations can save time and money, improve safety and compliance, reduce mistakes and downtime, and boost their competitive position. Among the digital tools that are revolutionizing the HBM industry are:

  • Artificial Intelligence. AI is the common name for computer systems that can think about and solve problems, allowing them to perform business tasks that would normally require human intelligence. For example, an Insight 2025 report by Crystal Market Research calls AI “the principal most imperative stage of planning a construction venture. It includes managing the designing stage, drafting of the proposal, and archiving loans, funds, and other small details that are identified with the project.”
  • Machine Learning. One specific application of AI is machine learning, which gives a computer system the capability to sense its surroundings–to “see” and process physical data–and to learn from experience. Machine learning algorithms observe patterns in the data and, through statistical analysis, consider and evaluate millions of alternatives to calculate the probability of all potential outcomes. Then they apply this data to make better decisions. By interacting with their environment, these systems can gain both dexterity and autonomy, which allows them to learn and perform complex tasks such as identifying and sorting, inspecting to find flaws or anomalies, and recognizing unsafe behavior or conditions.
  • Predictive Analytics. HBM supply chains include countless links, variables and possibilities–many more than the human mind can possibly comprehend or compare. Yet any of those points and potentialities can impact the quality of business decisions. Predictive analytics algorithms are able to gather and analyze all these data points to, effectively, “predict the future” by translating the data into actionable insights. These data-driven predictions give HBM professionals greater understanding and, as a result, greater control over operational plans and processes.

In late September, The New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote about the proven benefits of these technologies, saying “the more training data you can feed the machine the faster it learns, the more patterns you can see and the more algorithms you can write to improve products and services or invent new ones.” Even the brawny HBM industry sees great value in that.

Command Alkon provides next-gen solutions that are revolutionizing the Heavy Building Materials industry. From GPS tracking to route optimization to predictive analytics, next-gen solutions help construction businesses refine quality control, increase productivity, mitigate risks, and drive value to gain a competitive edge. 

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