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As the pandemic left its imprint on the U.S. economy, it brought to light a lack of skilled workers in the construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2021 brought a record 10.9 million job openings. That number improved to 10.4 million in August. In construction, however, total separations continued to outpace new hires. Construction still stands among the top 10 industries shedding workers.

Even so, construction firms didn’t shrink from these challenges. They turned to technology to become more efficient. Now they’re using the latest and greatest technologies to develop and retain employees. To accomplish more with less. To work smarter, not harder.

Many construction firms have increased the rate of technology adoption in the last 12 months. And even more plan to adopt new technology in the next year. Contractors are investing in AI, robotics and automation to become safer, more efficient and more productive. The approach is working.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

By making contractors more aware of their actions at the wheel, collision-avoidance technologies and dashcams enable firms to prevent accidents. In the process, firms are finding ways to keep their employees safe, avoid collision costs and lower their insurance rates.

With the help of AI and computer vision, dashcams can alert contractors to high-risk driving habits in real time. The alerts make contractors aware of unsafe habits they may not have recognized before. By helping employees correct unsafe habits before an accident occurs, dashcams allow drivers to retain their jobs as they grow. At a time when construction firms face intense competition for talent, dashcams are proving to be valuable retention tools.

High-risk driving habits endanger lives. They also happen to consume a lot of fuel. With the help of fleet management software, managers can quickly identify fuel-wasting driving habits such as idling or hard accelerations.

If fuel waste hurts a firm’s bottom line, cyber theft might be an even bigger problem. The construction industry loses about $1 billion per year to theft. Beyond the financial loss, losing key equipment can disrupt the next day’s operations and cause project delays. Through GPS tracking, managers can quickly identify the location of missing equipment.

Improving driver and fleet safety

Maintaining a fleet is expensive. Experiencing a breakdown is really expensive. Fortunately, a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system is constantly monitoring for issues called fault codes. Fault codes are stored in response to a problem that develops in the vehicle, such as an unusual sensor reading.

Backed by a fleet management solution, construction fleets can capture, interpret and display fault codes in an easy-to-read, actionable report. The report saves managers time and money. It also gives staff a holistic view of diagnostics. For fleet managers, that means they can understand the big picture quickly, then move on to more important priorities.

At every turn, today’s technologies are empowering construction fleets to become safer, more productive and more profitable. Geofencing, for example, empowers asset managers to accurately track vehicles and equipment. At any point in time, managers can know the precise location of a vehicle or an asset. Whenever a vehicle enters or leaves the virtual boundary that has been established, the manager is instantly alerted.

The technology then connects to fleet scheduling to identify where the vehicle should be placed next. It all works to help construction fleets optimize productivity and become more profitable.

People > Processes

In construction, motivation is a key factor in preventing accidents, and that’s not just a hunch. Studies show that reward and recognition can go a long way in producing safe outcomes in the construction industry, where low levels of reward often affect wellbeing.

When developing future leaders, construction firms should ask employees where they want to go in the company, and then devise a plan to help them get there. By using safety technology to incentivize and reward safe performance, construction firms can identify top performers and put them on the road to promotion. Fleet managers shouldn’t forget to reward improvement. Recognizing improvement as well as top performance levels the playing field. It gives everyone something to strive for.

For construction fleets, that means a more engaged team and better results.


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