Managing the Adoption of Technology in the Field
By Andy Lambert, Director of Applied Construction Technology
Posted November 8, 2019
As technology disrupts an industry fraught with inefficiencies in production, investments in technology are at an all-time high. Beginning the process is straightforward: the case is made for the value of new technology, the value is defined, and technology is purchased. However, even after all that planning, the hardest part of all is the adoption of technology in the field. The value sold will only be realized if your people and processes support it. So, what is the secret to ensuring success? Let’s look at a few proven tactics to assure your technology roll-out is a winner!
1. Meet Your End User Where They Are
The construction industry has been training workers for over a century with formal apprentice programs that are tried and true. Leverage this methodology. Technology is a tool: the foundation and principles are taught in a classroom, but the real learning comes on the jobsite alongside journeymen. You need to meet and train your audience where they are. Sure, it’s easy to schedule a two-hour training class in the office and fill the room with your field staff, but will you be as effective? Most likely not. Be there in the trenches where they work. Feel their pain. Share in their success.
2. Transparency and Vulnerability
Technology isn’t your silver bullet. What played out in your head as you were selecting technology won’t happen exactly as imagined. There are many variables and risks that will surface during a roll-out that could impact the implementation. This is okay. Small wins, small failures, and constant iterations to the roll out should be assumed. Make it known to the organization that perfection will not get in the way of better.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
The success of your roll out is a "we" thing, not a "me" thing. You’ve built your business case prior to purchasing the technology, now make sure the entire organization is on board. Some of the most successful and progressive construction firms understand that everyone from an apprentice to a CEO are working together to build their product. Communicate your plan to the organization and give regular updates to reinforce the importance of your mission.
4. Own It and Reward It
Don’t assume a "set it and forget it" roll out. Being present will support the importance of your mission. Make it a priority to be on the job sites and in the trailers. Being present will earn respect, credibility, and validation that will pay dividends in future projects and tech roll outs. Reward your teams as often as possible. Donuts, beer, lunch…after all this is construction and the currency of the trades.
In summary, these four tactics all support awareness. Awareness in yourself, awareness of your end user, awareness of your organization, and awareness of the unseen challenges you will face. Be present with the end user not only to train but support them. Be transparent and vulnerable throughout the project. Make sure the organization is on board. And of course, reward success where ever you find it. You and your team deserve it!
About Andy Lambert
Director of Applied Construction Technology
Andy is responsible for driving product and solutions that solve industry challenges, and getting those solutions into the hands of the end user. He is also an industry thought leader, collaborator, and speaker.
Prior to joining Penta Technologies, Andy worked for various Electrical Contractors as a member of the IBEW. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, a degree in Electrical Construction, and Lean certifications.
Andy has over 17 years’ experience in the Construction and Construction Technology industry. He has vast experience delivering solutions to over 100 large construction firms throughout the United States and Canada by bringing together people, process, and technology. He is a passionate, high-energy, results driven professional with a diverse skill set that has contributed value and ROI to customers and stakeholders. As a product and solution champion, his motivation and energy stem from a strong belief in teamwork, relationship building, customer/stakeholder interaction, and leveraging the latest technology to meet the tough business challenges facing construction today and in the future.