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Is Digitalization a Challenge for the Construction Industry?

January 9, 2023

Are you working within the construction industry and have successfully implemented new technologies into your work processes? If this is the case, you represent a small group in the construction industry, since it is one of the least digitalized industries.  

Studies by McKinsey indicate that there is a distinct correlation between digitalization and increased productivity. It shows that digitalization can lead to a productivity increase between 14 and 15 percent, so why is the construction industry not capitalising on this?

To improve the future in construction and realise the potential of this world-leading industry, we must overcome the current barriers. These barriers complicate a technological transformation that would enrich the industry with new and innovative solutions!

Field data shows that the construction industry is sceptical towards digitalization, largely because the sentiment is that digital solutions will bring huge changes that demands technical and economic resources for companies.  

Implementing new technologies brings concerns about return on investment and that companies will lack the necessary digital skills and training. Considering that the construction industry accounts for 6% of the world’s GDP, we must find a way to overcome these barriers. (World Economic Forum: Shaping the Future of Construction A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology). Connecting the physicality of earthmoving with a digital solution seems technically demanding - but, as with any change, we must start somewhere.    

Digitalisation as a Catalyst for Improved Jobsites and Increased Employment

To break down these barriers, we truly believe that the construction industry’s adaptation to new technology should be easy and obtainable through offering intuitive and user-friendly 3D solutions. Solutions that don’t require prior technical knowledge to use and implement. As described earlier, some of the barriers to digitalizing the construction industry are the lack of resources and professionals, and the economic concerns that it brings.    

"There are many ways in which it can benefit the machine operators. I think that the introduction of technology will both make the work easier, but also make it more fun and safer to drive a machine or generally be on a construction site.” Steffen Friismose, Director of Customer Succes, Unicontrol.    

We believe that user-friendly solutions will reduce the demand for specialists in the field, enable operators to perform more tasks independently and improve contractors’ return on investment.    

“It’s very user friendly and relatively easy to use – even if you’re not into tech stuff” Morten Holck, Entrepreneur  

Precisely executed earthmoving and surveying tasks must be possible regardless of educational background, making increased productivity obtainable for everyone on the construction site. Working with design files and open data flow as the backbone of the processes on-site, digitalization can also offer a solution that manages projects remotely and improves collaboration on the jobsite. This will result in less rework, which is a clear-cut example of how digitalization of construction processes can lead to increased productivity.  

“I was able to complete the job quicker and safer, but it was also accurate which meant not having to return over the finished ground” P. Quinn Construction

Equally important is introducing familiar technologies in the digitalization process to make the transition more manageable. Our answer to this is the familiar android tablet that supplements the Unicontrol3D system, and the ability to customise the software to meet the specific needs of the operator.  

Digitalization can make life on the construction site simple, flexible and manageable. Everyday experiences from the jobsite indicates that it can have a positive impact on productivity without putting heavy resources into education of operators and employees.    

Transforming the Construction Industry in Cooperation with Machine Operators  

By considering the feedback from operators, who use Unicontrol3D for their daily tasks on the jobsite, we make sure that they can capitalise on the benefits of technology.

“First of all, it’s a relatively simple system to learn and use, also for people who are not that experienced with technology”  Jens, machine operator at Optimus Anlæg A/S

Creating a system that operators love is the main goal. The journey doesn’t stop by solely offering a user-friendly machine control system, it is of equal importance that operators receive a quick introduction and that we remain in an ongoing dialogue with our customers.    

Breaking Down the Investment Barrier to the Digitalized Construction Industry  

By offering competitive pricing, machine control systems enable more companies and construction projects to obtain the advantages of 3D machine control. The cost of technology has been identified by studies as a significant entry barrier to implementing mechanisation of machines.  

“The price is better than other systems, and the user manual is simpler as well” Harry Andersen & Søn A/S  

The competitive price also improves the return on investment that companies receive on their machine fleet, and ultimately benefits their company.  

The payback time on the system is usually between 4-6 months, because your work will be optimized through the following benefits:  

  1. Lower Operating Costs
  2. Greater Productivity
  3. Less Wear and Tear
  4. Greater Equipment Utilization/Flexibility
  5. Less rework

Click here to read more about why adding 3D machine control is a safe investment.

Creating a Jobsite with Opportunities for Everyone  

Digital solutions can benefit the industry by enabling unskilled labour to cover vital functions on the construction site, and ultimately improving the possibilities within the industry. By creating a perfect balance between advanced technology and user-friendliness, technology can offer solutions that considers everyone, from beginners to experts.

“In my experience, it is easier to use than other solutions I have tried.” Anna from Gorm Hansen A/S

Anna from Gorm Hansen A/S does not have an educational background within surveying, yet she is able to assist operators on the construction site with stake out points and measurements with the GNSS Rover.

Read more about GPS and 3D machine control:  

Interested in exploring machine control for your own fleet?