Transformational Change – Part 3

Throughout this blog series we will consider how complex supply chains can realise transformational change with enerjyhub 

2020 was (in easier times) forecasted to be the year when the tentative accumulation of digital technology in construction would pick up pace and shift decisively from ‘exploration’ to ‘revolution’. However, the pandemic was never the only thing obstructing construction digitalisation. 

While the automotive and manufacturing industries have been transforming their supply chains with digital efficiency techniques for some time, construction has historically lagged behind. Now, with more pressure to pass efficiency into a sustainably realised built environment, construction has little room left to ignore something that is already preserving and enhancing productivity for so many. 

What then, could unlock this kind of investment returning digitalisation for construction? For digital technology to free the industry from its cycle of low profit and low innovation, it must work beyond a project-by-project level to affect real transformational change across the entire supply chain.

Digital Supply Chains: a construction transformation just within reach…

Digitally enhanced construction supply chains are now possible, but this has not always been the case, and a compelling reason to deliver this kind of transformation is to make up for years of slow digitalisation elsewhere in the industry. The time to catch up is now. 

Attitudes to digitalisation, and the extent to which it has been carried out, varies dramatically across the construction industry – one of the reasons why achieving this on a wide scale has historically been difficult. The industry’s digital adoption ranges from highly engaged architects routinely using technology such as BIM and CAD, to owner operators whose focus is usually more on the construction of a building than on creating a digital asset to support its maintenance down the line. Contractors sit somewhere in-between, with progress made, but room left for further innovation. 

What to build next? 

While the automotive and manufacturing industries have benefited from PLM solutions, which allow repeatable processes to be fine-tuned for efficiency, attempts to invent an equivalent for construction have been unsuccessful. The lesson to learn from such attempts is that construction needs a solution better suited to its own challenges.  

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been progress – simply that construction has met a barrier to transformation in its failure to digitise on the scale of its supply chains. Many of the technologies behind construction’s first digital steps – such as Common Data Environments – are only effective within the scope of an individual projectwith siloed information only available to specialist staff. 

The next leap forward would require something new – something different to digitally connect the entire construction supply chain, from owner operator to Tier 3 supplier.   

 

How enerjyhub enables digital construction at a supply chain level 

Supply chains in the construction industry are recognisable by their fragmentation, with new players joining and attempting to familiarise with projects hampered by limited communication between different parts of the supply chain. 

This constraint has stifled both the productivity and the digitalisation of construction for long enough that whoever finds a way to resume forward progress would reap enormous stored up benefits. Digital progress – leading to fully fledged supply chain transformation – is what enerjyhub can offer. 

What happens when enerjyhub meets fragmented supply chains? 

enerjyhub is a transformational virtual supply chain management platform which has made significant time-cost savings for hundreds of suppliers by finding new ways to extract efficiency from every part of a supply chain. With ten modules, three elements, and an ever-growing toolkit of features, enerjyhub can be scaled to improve integration, communication and productivity in the most fragmented of supply chains.  

One of the biggest problems with supply chain fragmentation is two-way visibility-block: consultants struggle to oversee Tier 2 and 3 suppliers, while the same suppliers have limited or no direct sight of project expectations and deliverables. With no easy way to check this kind of information, the real-world consequences are work on-site that has to be undone at cost. 

enerjyhub provides quick access to project information in centralised online location which is accessible from anywhere, and task management functionality allows progress to be tracked in real time. Much of construction is still reliant on mass email chains (with crucial information in word and excel documents) which risk priority being blurred and actions missed. enerjyhub can even allow governance, relationships, and procedures to be agreed in advance so that all parties will know what’s expected of them even before enerjyhub’s ‘real-time’ functionality kicks in on-site.

A joy to use, and a joy to learn… 

Familiarity with digital technology varies in construction as much as attitudes towards it, with many sticking with the analogue or proto-digital solutions they already know. enerjyhub is designed to be intuitive for all digital skill-levels – a natural next step for those who had their first reluctant experience of digital working during the 2020 lockdowns.  

Another historical barrier to construction’s wide-scale digital advancement has been the transient nature of relationships. Supplier involvement in projects was often too brief to learn to use overcomplicated digital solutionsenerjyhub‘s straightforward interface allows new users to get onboard and access information without wasting time.  

Onboarding, inductions and training (such as health and safety) can be conducted in advance so that whatever their digital skills, and whatever their professional experience, a project’s participants can be brought up to a standardised skill and knowledge level before onsite work begins. The platform’s Knowledge Base Module can be updated with the information that suppliers, clients, architects, contractors, surveyors and many more may need once work begins, including: safety standards, assessment information, liability insurance, and documentation. 

Information drives transformation for the whole supply chain… 

But its more than an information store. As the platform serves professionals across the supply chain it collects data from all of its players, feeding a dashboard view which provides unprecedented insight into the entire supply chain – decisions can be made based on the progress and status of all parties using the platform. 

Hidden activities, wasteful reworking and uninformed decisions become a thing of the past for those who choose to unite people and companies, and ultimately gain productivity on the scale of the entire supply chain.  

 

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