The construction industry this year will continue to be as strong as it was in 2018, according to the Dodge Outlook Report. The report predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2019 will be $808 billion, staying essentially even with the $807 billion estimated for 2018. Despite these growth forecasts, inevitable challenges will arise; businesses can maximize opportunities by anticipating the following trends:
- Excellent Customer Experiences were a big focus in 2018 – and will be even bigger in 2019. Creating a positive customer experience is just as important as delivering a successful project because a positive customer experience drives value and growth.
- Push to fully digitize supply chains will continue to grow as paper-based processes are eliminated with automated technologies. The ability for contractors, haulers and suppliers to streamline their order-through-goods acceptance processes smooths workflows and provides more timely, accurate data for better decision making.
- Supplier collaboration networks will gain acceptance in the construction industry, connecting suppliers, buyers and contractors, helping these businesses to more effectively communicate and collaborate to offset any potential issues that may arise for a particular project.
- The truck driver shortage will continue this year and will triple its shortage by the year 2026 to close to 200,000. With truck drivers retiring out of the workforce and millennials chasing other career paths, along with the increase in e-commerce orders and a strong manufacturing economy, the driver shortage challenge is here to stay. Using tools to optimize routes to keep transport mileage at a minimum, eliminating paper processes to speed entry/exit at jobsites and speeding turnaround time for delivery/pick-up will help keep drivers driving.
- Complete visibility into supply chain processes from raw materials to the jobsite continues to be a main area of focus for heavy work construction firms. Technology can be deployed to manage daily replenishment plans, promote collaboration between trading partners, and ensure that the right amount of inventory is delivered to the right place at the right time.
- Growth in the use of advanced analytics in conjunction with a supplier collaboration network helps organizations to plan supply and demand better, with real-time orchestration of deliveries to eliminate back-ups in the yard with trucks idling while others unload.
- In 2019, siloes must be eliminated. Like many other industries, E&C is notorious for storing data in silos or scattering it across systems, desktops, phones, tables, hard drives and servers—not to mention cloud locations, other devices, and unstructured data like blueprints, timecards, emails and PDFs. Data integration can be a difficult, but not insurmountable, challenge.
- Mitigate inherent risks by giving your supply chain a health check - Analyze suppliers for stability and strategically plan for alternative transport modes, production facilities and raw material sources.
Hero Hint: follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” to have an exceptionally prosperous and valuable 2019.