Resilience in Construction

Is your company resilient? I think it is an important question to be asking right now. Resilience is the ability to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance—something most companies are going through right now.
Now, please keep in mind, stress or disturbance can come in a number of different forms. It can be natural disasters or data breaches—something too many companies have faced all too often. It can be a market downturn or, yes, even a pandemic.
Journey back to 2010 for a second. At that time jobs were down 38% since 2006 in residential construction alone. The economy was hit hard—the construction industry in particular. Now, look at some numbers from January of this year. Total housing starts were expected to hit 1.3 million units in 2020, up more than 2% from last year, which would have marked the highest output since 2007, according to NAHB. Naturally, with the pandemic, those numbers will likely be adjusted. But the point is: Construction is resilient. It will eventually bounce back.
Now, here is an even more important question to consider: Is your construction company resilient? Think about it. If you are wavering on your answer, you might consider one key element: technology. Let me explain.
If you have spent any amount of time with Peggy Smedley, then you know she has said time and time again that the construction industry is one of the most resilient industries. It has weathered downturn after downturn. She makes the case that with the right investment, we can expect our productivity to have a positive impact on both our workforce and our infrastructure and that smart companies immediately recognize the need to boost both productivity and workforce development and that requires making the necessary investments in the right technology. Still, she recognizes that construction margins are thin, which makes investing in technology challenging.
Add to that the fact that many characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic are inducing or increasing some disruptions. McKinsey Global Institute expects longer-term ones to accelerate as new ways of living and working become standard. In the short term, construction will see increased digitization and rebalanced supply chains toward resilience (versus efficiency). In the long term, construction will see augmented consolidation, vertical integration, further investments in technology and innovation of building systems, increased off-site construction, and acceleration toward sustainability, including designs for healthier living.
And so I pose the question again: Is your company resilient? Hopefully, the answer is a resounding yes. If not, perhaps it is time to consider how technology can help. It is either disrupt or be disrupted. Are you ready?