Last month, a few colleagues and I were able to go the national convention of the Associated General Contractors of America (“AGC”), the country’s largest trade group of general contractors. At the convention, we attended numerous educational seminars led by industry experts in various subjects.
One theme clearly emerged – the pace of innovation in our industry is unlike any of us has ever seen in our lives and that some of the mega-trends around virtual design and construction, cloud storage, and the ‘Internet of things,’ among others, mean that the pace is only going to accelerate.
What also hits you is the enormous amount of investment it takes to not only stay current (or even ahead) with this fast-paced innovation, but the sheer ‘brainpower’ of the people you need in your organization to forecast strategically where these innovations will take us and how we can use them to add value to customers.
Given the tremendous financial and human capital needed to add value for our customers, many small and mid-sized contractors are going to be left in the dust. Unfortunately, they simply don’t have the capital to invest in these technologies and they haven’t recruited the best and brightest from our universities over the past decade.
I came away from this daunting reality, however, more confident than ever that our company will continue to thrive in this new era of radical transformation. In fact, we have never been positioned better. Our ability to grow and prosper through the recession, combined with our conservative handling of our finances, have allowed us to invest millions of dollars into green building, Virtual Design and Construction (also referred to as Building Information Modeling), robotic lay-out and surveying, laser-scanning, CRM systems and, most recently, an entirely new ERP system that will greatly increase productivity.
More importantly, for the past 15+ years, we invested heavily in our college recruiting program, and every year, in up and down markets, we’ve hired an incredible group of young professionals who possess the technical aptitude, share our values and demonstrate leadership skills, to help us navigate the turbulent seas and adopt to many of the cutting-edge technologies that will separate us from our competition.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in the construction industry, situated right in the center of much of this innovation – Silicon Valley. We’re even more thrilled that much of this innovation will help us add even greater value to our customers, by building structures of even greater quality and sustainability, more affordably and in less time. Stay tuned!