Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting real customer stories shared during our Digital Contractor Roadshow events.

Construction companies of all sizes and across all regions are realizing the need to adopt the latest technologies into their operations in order to keep up with demand and to remain profitable. However, this is easier said than done.

The most prominent roadblock to technology adoption is resistance to change. Implementing technology in a construction company comes with a great deal of change. These changes are generally positive in nature because technology empowers construction companies to be more productive, increase revenue and just do things faster. But on the flip side, these changes can cause problems for some members of the team. So how does technology change your construction company for the better? And how do you empower your teams to embrace these changes, rather than resist them?

We asked our customers how they dealt with these questions during our Digital Contractor Roadshow event in Houston, Texas a few weeks ago. Specifically, we wanted to understand how adopting new technologies has changed the way they do things and how they have overcome pushback from their employees resistant to change. Paula Hansen, CFO of Pieper Houston Electric and James Stacey, software manager at Universal Plant Services were kind enough to serve on a panel at the show and talked directly with their peers about these relevant issues. Here are some highlights:

 How has technology helped your company to transform?

Hansen: We just recently adopted a new field solution which, through Spectrum, empowered our service people to do all of their sales and everything in the field while connecting to the office via Wi-Fi so that they don’t have to physically come in all the time in order to process work orders. We can bill it immediately, which helps to improve our work and cash flow.

It’s great to hear that all that information now fills out the work order and with the click of a button it goes back over to Spectrum. Now you can pre-invoice, accelerate that cash flow and get that cash in the door. But what were you doing before this? Was it pen and notepad?

Hansen: They actually used to write it out on paper and bring it in with their payroll every week. So with our new processes, the customer can sign right then and there and we can send them an email invoice right away.

So in terms of accelerated cash flow it’s gone from, what, a few weeks to a couple days?

Hansen: Yes, exactly. It now only takes a few days, maximum.

Did you have pushback from the people in the field when you tried to roll it out?

Hansen: Initially there was pushback. We tried to present it in a way so they understood it would empower them to grow within their position, to give them the tools to be able to work more efficiently for the benefit of the company. So, there was some pushback, but we did training. We showed them how it was going to make their lives so much easier and after about a couple of weeks they actually just caught on and then the solution was very well received.

James, what was your experience when adopting new technology? Did you get any pushback?

Stacey: Yes, I had a similar situation. We have been using Vista for nine years. Recently, we integrated scanners into a warehouse which changed the way we did inventory. At first, the warehouse manager pushed back and told me “Man, James, I’m telling you, I don’t think these scanners…it’s just not gonna work.” And I was like, “Ray, trust me, it’s gonna work. You’re gonna love it.” And he loves it. In two years we did our second full inventory, he was 99.98 percent accurate. He was upset that he wasn’t 99.99.

So, it’s a matter of convincing people that we’re not doing this to make stuff hard for them. It may appear that way at first but there are so many advantages. The ones that are going to be good for you will adapt to it. And the ones that aren’t, they’re just gonna fall off.

How else have you leveraged technology in your company?

Stacey: Well, really as a sales tool. Our technology is one of the biggest selling points. There’s a lot of contractors that do what we do. We’re one of the more expensive ones—we’re kind of like the Starbucks. We charge a premium because we have all of this technology and we can say, “I can give you your cost tracking by the end of the day.” The technology allows us to sell ourselves to the client and sets us apart from the competition. So, we’re leveraging that technology internally and as a sales pitch.

Hansen and Stacey are just two examples of the many contractors who have dealt with the challenges of adopting leading-edge technology in an industry that has long operated without it. Their stories are a great testament to the fact that the hassle for tech adoption pays off in the end. Technology increases productivity, standardizes data and workflows and ultimately increases revenue, bringing tremendous value to the entire business.

To learn more about how Viewpoint can partner with you to transform your construction company by connecting your office, team and field, visit our website: www.viewpoint.com.

Posted by Samantha Biever

Samantha grew up visiting her dad on job sites, which sparked her initial interest in construction. After graduating with honors from George Fox University, she pursued this interest by becoming the Marketing Specialist at Viewpoint where she enjoys being part of a team that is transforming the construction industry.

  • Business Manager

    We asked our field crew who have company credit cards to start using an app to copy the receipts into a pdf and then email them in. Once convinced that it’s easier than keeping track of slips of paper, participation has been good, and we have far fewer missing receipts. Apps that work on phones, ipads and other devices are extremely helpful for us.

  • Grant Mongin

    One of my favorite things is when I am able to show someone how to use a smartphone or iPad when they’ve never even used anything beyond a flip phone. When they get into intuitive apps like Mobile Field Manager their frustration melt away and they begin to see the value of using technology to do things like track time and view drawings.

  • Jessica Tidy

    We have adopted smart devices for drawings and other construction documents. It was difficult to get the field to adapt at first, but once they became accustomed to the tool and realized that they have better real time information it became easier to implement more forms and procedures. Maintaining the files electronically and giving the field access to the files on laptops or iPads has increased accuracy, saved time, and saved a lot of trees not printing the blueprints!

  • J Brennan

    I don’t know that ALL technology is good. Sometimes i wish we could put down the phone and email and just do business the old fashioned way.

  • Diana Vaughn

    Training with demonstration of how the new technology will make things simpler and more efficient.

  • Cheryl

    Technology has helped us be more efficient with quicker turn around times. Good training has been the key to lessen push back and get the buy in from all.

  • Erin Wood

    Technology has helped us move closer and closer to becoming paperless – it has also increased our speed and accuracy.

  • Michelle Jones

    We have been advancing our capabilities with technology for many years. It’s becoming much easier to continue the implementation as younger employees are promoted and the “old guard” retire from the work force, but many of our long term employees are on board with the changes and they see the benefits of new technology.

  • Caleb

    The best way to show how new technology is beneficial is by showing real results and increased accuracy or efficiency.

  • ROBERT L KNIGHT

    We have implemented several technology platforms over the last couple of years and I would say that the crucial thing is being patient and willing to help those that do not catch on as fast.

    • Teresa

      I agree. We issued iPads with Field Connect software for our service technicians. It took some time and training, but it has worked out great.

  • Ariel Davis

    Any recommendations on how to use Spectrum tech to improve warranty processes?

  • Andrew Karr

    Good words from Paula Hansen and James Stacey

  • Holli Virgil

    We are just now in the beginning stages of incorporating technology as our company rapidly grows – there are growing pains as change is always a bit uncomfortable. I think truly understanding the benefits and keeping the future goal in the fore front will help.