Innovating for the Construction Industry

Innovating for the Construction Industry

12/06/2020

What Innovation looks like

 

There was an interesting article published earlier this week calling for construction companies globally to smarten up. In the article titled ‘Pandemic speeds up digital transformation in construction’, Darren Bechtel, MD of Bricks & Mortar referred to the pandemic as “an accelerator in moving the construction industry through digital transformation faster than most had planned”. He pointed out that “for the first time, startups are being approached by construction companies to solve the immediate issues arising as work in the industry… for example, builders are now required to ensure that, with rare exceptions, workers stay 6 feet apart at all times”. Significantly, there is an acceptance that the industry will need to effectively outsource innovation and contemporary problem-solving. While that might work in New York, where startups are well-resourced, here in Ireland this is not likely to be a scalable solution for most contractors. We need no-touch solutions and adoption of digital workflows across the entire supply chain. We need to be our own problem-solvers. This is not a radical idea. And it is not beyond the capabilities of most good, forward-thinking contractors. Many of the digital tools exist and can be adapted for project-specific use, we simply need to adopt the kind of design thinking for our organisation’s SOPs that we use to solve client or project issues on a daily basis.  

 

By way of example, last month the team here in McKeon Group launched an app to facilitate frictionless Covid-19 compliance checks in order to admit operatives onto our sites safely. In short, we designed a solution to a problem that arose. While the problem was new and the solution was new, our approach was not. For the McKeon Group – which celebrates 70 years of construction excellence this year – innovation is in our DNA, only the technology has changed. 

 

With the odd exception, real innovation doesn’t happen by accident. This is particularly true for business innovation. The Good2Go app was created as a result of the clear identification of a pain point and the combined expertise of our team sharing ideas about how to overcome this pain point, based on their knowledge of how sites operate on a daily basis. Innovation is driven by curiosity and necessity, but so too is excellence; they are two sides of the same coin. 

 

In a third generation family business, having a legacy of innovation does not mean we take it for granted; in fact, the opposite is true. We know the inherent vulnerability of the status quo. We know that customer demands are changing. We understand the need to get better. Again, this does not happen by accident. As a company we value, appreciate and resource learning and practicing how to innovate. 

 

The Good2Go app has been made freely available for use by any industry organisations that need or would likely benefit from it. 

 

About McKeon Group:

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact: www.mckeon.ie

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