When it comes to increased profits and potential for growth, there is a high level of optimism in the construction industry, though most companies also recognise that there are significant challenges ahead. These are some of the findings of the Construction Sentiment Survey 2017, which canvassed opinion from construction industry professionals.

The survey also makes it clear that forward-thinking technologies, alongside the right technology partner can help construction companies meet the challenges ahead and turn them into opportunities for improved efficiency and increased profitability.

Carried out by Causeway Technologies and construction intelligence services specialist Barbour ABI, the survey sought to measure various levels of optimism in the industry, as well as exploring a range of key issues. These included skilled labour shortages, currency fluctuations, rising materials costs, technological developments and the implications of Brexit.

A sharper competitive edge and offering customers a better value proposition are seen as the main ways to drive growth. However, competition is also seen as an obstacle to growth, along with shortages of skilled labour.

Alongside this optimism is a concern that 2017 will see an increase in bankruptcies caused by poor management, a lack of planning & control and worsening market conditions.

A high proportion of survey respondents reported that their companies are engaged in cost-cutting measures and many have identified opportunities for increased efficiency in their businesses. Persuading staff to work differently is seen as a barrier to implementing efficiency initiatives.

Improving efficiency

Technology has been identified as an important tool in improving efficiency and just under half of respondents were aware of competitors using technology tools that they didn’t have access to. A surprisingly high number of senior managers were not aware of the technologies they could deploy within their businesses to underpin improved efficiency.

In fact, technology is widely seen as a key element of any initiative to drive down costs through streamlining the labour-intensive and time-consuming processes that eat into the profits of many construction companies without adding value.

In terms of the biggest challenges to implementing change, the lack of a single view of all processes within the company was seen as the main challenge for all but the smaller companies, which rated the absence of a common driver across the business as the main challenge.

The survey also showed that a significant obstacle to the implementation of IT solutions is persuading staff to do things differently. Any such IT solutions therefore need to be intuitive and designed to work in the ways to which people are accustomed.

Based on the results of the survey, alongside feedback from other sources, it is clear that IT solutions need to meet a number of criteria if they are to empower users and add value to their businesses. These include:

  • Ease of implementation, minimum disruption.
  • Intuitive use to ensure buy-in by users.
  • Ability to eliminate time-consuming, laborious processes.
  • Flexibility to work in the best way for each customer.
  • Integration functionality to smooth the flow of information through the business.
  • Powerful yet easy-to-use reporting tools to enhance visibility of key management information.

Causeway’s IT solutions have been developed to meet all of these criteria and more, and are backed by a commitment to supporting companies whatever the size and technological challenges they face.

To download the full report, please click the link below.

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Know more about some of Causeway's cutting edge technology that can support your business:

Tradex - Tradex allows organisations to automate the entire Source-to-Pay process. Our technology is able to manage all transactional document exchange processes from accreditation to approval and delivery, eliminating a large margin of human error, thereby speeding up workflows, improving accuracy, and reducing financial risk.

Vixen - Vixen is a planned and reactive maintenance management system that ensures your workers are informed and reactive. Vixen connects job costings, POs, invoicing, stocking and scheduling to your workforce on-the-go and provides detailed analytics throughout the process.

CATO - The CATO Suite provides a fully integrated cradle-to-grave cost management system for today's cost consultant.

Estimating - Causeway Estimating provides powerful, easy-to-use tools covering all aspects of estimating, including BIM take-off, eTender, adjudication, and reporting.

PDS - Causeway Professional Design Suite (PDS) provides powerful, easy-to-use tools covering all aspects of earthworks, development site infrastructure, and highway design.

Flow - The complete set of easy-to-use and powerful software, vital to carry out an optimal and adaptable end-to-end drainage design.

Construction ERP - Causeway Contractors’ ERP construction software solutions are ideal for larger construction organisations seeking alternatives to inflexible and costly accounting packages that do not meet the needs of the unique accounting practices within the construction industry.

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