Digital awakening in the construction industry
Second to last place on the digitization index – that’s not a result the construction industry can be happy about. But that’s exactly where we rank, according to a McKinsey study from 2017. However, reluctance to embrace digitization can have long-term consequences for companies in the construction industry. We risk losing our competitiveness and also our attractiveness to young professionals – the digital natives. The majority of companies have already recognized this danger and are working hard to digitize their own processes. Innovative startups are supporting this positive development.
Increase transparency and productivity with digital processes
Digital processes can help significantly to increase transparency in the rather opaque construction industry. In particular, the daily work of architects and planners is greatly affected by this. A Plan.One survey shows that about one third of planners’ time is spent searching for and selecting suitable products for sampling their construction projects.
The reasons for this are a lack of cross-manufacturer comparison options and a lack of standards for the designation of product properties. As a consequence, research is carried out with the help of printed catalogs or on the manufacturers’ websites. This time-consuming procedure means that architects and planners miss valuable time for creative or planning tasks, but also for advising building owners on increasingly complex opportunities.
So in addition to transparency, productivity is also an important factor that can be positively influenced with digital processes. As McKinsey noted, the labor-to-output ratio in the construction industry has been stagnating for years. With the right tools that make it easier to search and compare products, for example, the construction industry can reach an important milestone on the road to more efficiency. At the same time, innovative tools with functionalities that have become indispensable in the private sphere increase employee motivation and workplace attractiveness.
Learn from the digital B2C pioneers
The B2C sector shows what digital processes and tools for the efficient selection of building products can look like. E-commerce in particular has taken on a digital pioneering role and sets the status quo with highly developed shopping and comparison portals. Searching for, comparing and buying products – all these processes work more easily than ever before on Amazon, Zalando, Check24, and others. At the same time, the aforementioned platforms create unprecedented market transparency, from which users and providers alike benefit.
The construction industry is also seeing ambitious young companies that have made it their goal to optimize given processes with the help of digital means. It is not unusual for solutions to be based on these same innovative concepts, which, in addition to unlimited access, are characterized above all by intuitive user guidance and a pronounced focus on service. We are one of these startups – Plan.One.
Plan.One – The comparison portal for building products
With Plan.One, we build the digital bridge between planners and manufacturers in the construction industry. Designed as an intelligent assistance system by architects for architects, Plan.One makes it possible to quickly find and compare products that are perfectly tailored to the respective construction project. The product details and planning information can be transferred directly into the common planning software. In this way, Plan.One creates market transrency, saves time for complex searches, and simplifies and accelerates the workflow.
I founded Plan.One in 2016 as an initiative of Schüco International KG and have headed the company as CEO since then. As an architect and civil engineer, I am pursuing the vision with Plan.One of giving everyone involved in construction access to all relevant building product information with just one click, and in doing so I would like to make an important contribution to the urgently needed increase in productivity in the construction industry.
Implementing the digital transformation together
As an interactive market intelligence tool, Plan.One enables the extensive digitalization of product search and revolutionizes the interaction between architects, planners, builders, manufacturers and contractors in the construction industry. In addition to the development and marketing of our tool, however, our success depends to a large extent on the acceptance and readiness for digital transformation of the entire construction industry.
We build and share the technology we need. The content provided is provided by the manufacturers of the building products. Provided the data is available in common formats, there is nothing to prevent rapid onboarding. However, we observe great differences in the data quality handed over to us and can therefore by no means speak of comprehensive digital “readyness” yet.
However, the chances are good that the construction industry will soon no longer be at the bottom of the digitalization index. According to a survey by Roland Berger, 93% of all construction companies have recognized that digitization will influence all their processes and are consistently driving forward the transformation in their own companies.
To transform the entire industry sustainably, the cooperation of different stakeholders is required: from manufacturers and suppliers to architects and planners, to property developers and the public sector. I believe in a common task that can only be accomplished together. Hand in hand. My team and I, we support this approach by providing the technological framework for a central source of information for the construction industry and promoting the exchange of information within the industry.
Here is the LinkedIn profile of Patric de Hair.
Content marketing manager and social media expert for the construction industry.