7 New Technology Tools to Improve Your Deployment and Enhance Operations

Contractors know that winning municipal street sweeping and paving contracts is a competitive process. To win jobs, company owners must control costs and avoid equipment and workforce losses to maintain slim margins. Smart owners utilize technology to gain an advantage over their competition and keep their operating costs low. Software technologies for estimating and accounting are well established, but newer technologies are sweeping the nation and paving the way for contractors to succeed well into the future.

1) Bidding and Estimating Software

Bidding and estimating is one of the most critical aspects of winning municipal business contracts. Software technology for estimating construction jobs is not new, but new features like mobile estimating, satellite measuring, and automated scheduling improve the estimating process. Look for software suites that combine several tools, including CRM, proposals, estimating, asset management, and project management solutions.

2) GPS Asset Management

Construction and sweeping equipment are costly to purchase and maintain. Losing just one piece of equipment to vandalism or theft can cost you thousands in insurance deductibles and maintenance costs. Global positioning satellite (GPS) asset management software keeps track of your equipment while on the job. GPS allows you to know the location of your equipment at all times. It can also assist in deploying equipment and scheduling routes during jobs.

3) ERP for Construction

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems allow contractors to combine estimating and management activities with accounting and other back-office activities. ERP systems enable business owners to have a consistent snapshot of their business — from new business activity to the bottom line. Look for ERP software with construction-specific features like estimating, project management, and maintenance modules.

4) Drones and Autonomous Heavy Equipment in Construction

Inspecting and viewing large construction projects were once labor-intensive and expensive projects. Drones or unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) now make it easy and affordable to keep a birds-eye view of your projects. Drones cost a few hundred dollars and are flown by a crew member with proper FAA training and licensing. Applications include safety inspections, security routines, promotional videos, and asset tracking and management. Drones aren’t the only autonomous vehicles in construction. A company in Finland designed the world’s first unmanned street sweeper. The electric-motor-powered sweeper uses only 15% of the energy of diesel-powered suction equipment. Construction companies are also finding uses for robotic excavators, pavers, and mining equipment.

5) Safety Products

Construction accidents cost contractors and insurance companies millions of dollars every year. Safety products continue to evolve and utilize more technology than ever before. One emerging trend is the use of wearable technology. Hard hats, boots, belts, and gloves can uncover unsafe behavior. An article on riskandinsurance.com said, “There was a scenario once where a wearable was detecting one worker falling at the same time every day,” said Gary Kaplan, President of North American Construction, AXA XL. “It turned out he was sliding down a banister on his way to lunch.” Wearables can also let owners know if one of their workers is sick or injured.

6) Environmental Sensors

Sensors placed on the job site can detect many environmental conditions that lead to unsafe conditions. Some sensors detect wind and temperatures, while others can detect noise levels or vibration. “If you have high humidity or lots of particulate matter in the air when you are doing work, for example, it could compromise its integrity,” Kaplan said.

7) Imaging Technologies

Digital transformation is a familiar concept where companies, nonprofits, and governmental entities convert paper record-keeping into digital records and workflows. 3D imaging and inspection technologies are transforming the construction industry. Digital records and electronic audit trails are replacing paper files and logbooks. Not only are digital files easier to access, but they are also environmentally friendly and take up less space in the office. 3D inspection and imaging technologies allow contractors to view remote worksites and to prepare digital sales presentations.

Technology Trends Continue to Flourish
While all of these new technologies seem revolutionary, the construction industry is in the early stages of innovation. New software, robotics, and sensors will make the construction process more productive, environmentally friendly, and safer.


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