Seismic changes are afoot as global industries, including engineering and construction (E&C), scramble for innovative technology that enables continued productivity through difficult economic times. Leading E&C companies have been looking for digital solutions to help improve project delivery, modularize construction and enable remote operations while reducing risks and enhancing safety. These solutions are needed now more than ever as COVID-19 is likely to fundamentally change the nature of the E&C workforce and workplace.
To understand the success—and shortcomings—of digital in the E&C industry thus far, PwC teamed up with Oxford Economics to study the impact of digital investments on E&C workforce productivity from January 2010 through May 2019.
What we found:
Digital has not fulfilled its promise in most E&C segments (except for construction manufacturing)
Digital has been compensating for a lack of skilled labor—and not doing it well
Digital has been a crutch, not an accelerator of process efficiency
These observations revealed not only what critical misalignments of early digital and business strategies led to lackluster results, but also how E&C companies can retool to focus more on select priority functions going forward.
Even before the COVID-19 disruption, 77% of E&C CEOs were already planning for more 4IR operational efficiencies to drive growth.
We’ve identified six action steps that help E&C companies make the technological and cultural transition needed to become a digital organization fit for the future work environment.
Refresh business processes, not just technology
Digitization is an opportunity to rethink the way you do business. Be prepared that you may have to completely redesign the process before putting in bots, automation and other tools.
Expand use cases to promote cross-functional collaboration and cross-stream value.
As you continue with digitization, pay attention to digital activities that promote cross-functional collaboration. You just might unlock value that was sitting, unrealized, in a siloed environment.
Make digital skills learning accessible—and fun
It is important to design engaging learning experiences so that the information “sticks,” such as Digital Fitness apps that help turn digital learning into a game.
Incentivize employees to innovate
In digital upskilling campaigns, employee-led innovation can be a powerful force. Use incentives and awards to help them see how these skills empower them in their personal and professional lives.
Engage and guide workers through times of change
Digital transformation is as much about people as it is about technology. Having a platform that tracks workers’ feedback and sentiment helps make them feel invested in improving the digital initiative.