On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law. Along with research funding, $550 billion is earmarked for adding/repairing/rebuilding/maintaining roads, bridges, railroads, airports, broadband, water systems and more. The positive impact the bill will have on the construction industry is obvious, but can construction companies already dealing with labor shortages and supply chain challenges handle it?
The IIJA has a possible solution.
Helping the Construction Industry Modernize
According to Construction Dive, IIJA “includes $100 million over five years to accelerate the deployment of digital construction technologies such as 3D modelling software and digital project management platforms.” The bill recognizes that construction companies, for far too long, have managed their business operations with inefficient methods, including paper-based processes and aging technology.
Though the construction project boon won’t be felt right away (fund allocation and planning are the next steps), it’s time for construction businesses to invest in modern technology and begin efficiently managing their accounting, projecting, bidding, estimating and scheduling needs. Modern technology—or digital construction technology—includes cloud construction management software within a comprehensive Cloud ERP solution.
Construction management ERP software allows companies to integrate their multiple, disconnected processes and applications, from accounting, purchasing and inventory to planning, production and operation, onto a single platform. The software automates tasks previously conducted manually, synchronizes data (which employees can access at any time and from anywhere via any web-enabled device) and opens the door to organization-wide visibility.
Construction ERP software increases productivity and provides deep insight into the health of a business, enabling construction companies to better manage the many construction projects coming down the pike. But there are still challenges facing the industry.
Helping the Construction Industry Prepare for the New Bill
According to a workforce survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (ACG) and Autodesk, the majority of contractors are struggling to find qualified laborers amidst historical supply chain bottlenecks. As challenges go, these are solid, but construction companies can overcome them when they implement cloud construction management software. To show how, let’s first look at the supply chain issue.
Delays in receiving materials due to the supply chain shortfalls means delays in projects, something construction companies try to avoid at all costs. With construction ERP software, they can track inventory and forecast accurately based on updated, consolidated data. They’ll know what they have on hand, what they need and what’s happening with their suppliers. Having this information in hand will give them the ability to plan in advance for inventory issues, including exploring different suppliers and/or stocking up on materials and resources when they see they’re in high demand.
As with the supply chain challenges, labor shortages are a major headache. Though modern technology doesn’t eliminate the challenge, it does relieve some of the pressure. For example, by automating tasks, man hours are reduced. Duplicate data entry and human errors all but disappear with automated workflows. And because employees working in the field (and in the office) can access the cloud-based ERP solution at any time and from anywhere, they don’t waste time calling, emailing, or traveling to the office to communicate vital information, including project issues, daily field reports, change orders, RFIs and more.
Ultimately, the volatility caused by these types of challenges is nothing new for the construction industry, but the pandemic and the infrastructure bill have added another layer. Construction companies’ ability to manage the increased volatility will rest in becoming a connected construction business through construction management ERP software.
Helping the Construction Industry Become Connected
The signing of IIJA into law is opening up a new chapter for the construction industry. With billions of dollars’ worth of construction projects on its way, construction businesses must invest in digital construction technology to keep up with the demand.
Though it’s unclear how the funding for digital technology deployment will be distributed, construction companies should begin researching their construction ERP options. NexTec Group can help them with the selection process, as can our free guide, How to Compete in Construction with Modern Software. The guide reviews barriers found in the construction industry, how construction management software modernizes businesses and what features to look for when evaluating construction management software options.
The guide also highlights why Acumatica Cloud ERP, and its Acumatica Construction Edition, is the best system for construction companies. Acumatica construction software provides general contractors, subcontractors, home builders and land developers with a single, connected solution for managing their projects. Data from every aspect of the business collates into a centralized database, which employees in the office and out in the field can access 24/7. Every team member will be working with the same information at the same time. Additionally, critical third-party applications can be seamlessly integrated through Acumatica’s open and flexible platform.