MILWAUKEE — Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Construction Technology will be one of the education sessions taking place at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in March in Las Vegas.
The session will be hosted by Tauhira Ali, senior manager of construction technology at Milwaukee Tool, on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Before joining Milwaukee Tool, Ali created technology solutions and assessed business viability for products and platforms in the automotive and aerospace industries.
When considering if a new technology introduced in the market will give you a competitive advantage the answer won’t come from a salesperson, tech expert or trade magazine, indicates a release, adding only you can determine whether a technology is the right solution for the challenges you face.
The following are four steps to take before investing resources in technology that you think will give you a competitive advantage:
Identify the problem: “Before you can solve a problem, you need to identify it,” said Ali in a statement. Questions to ask include what are the strengths and weaknesses of your current workflow and how will this change in the future and how do your processes compare with the competitive environment you’re working in?
Chances are that your challenge doesn’t exist in a silo so don’t keep your problem-solving effort in one either, the release states. Is it a process challenge, equipment management, productivity or safety?
Ali suggests empowering employees to better understand innovation and share their insights, that way you are more likely to find solutions that employees want to work with.
Investigate: After identifying the problem, start investigating. Technology solutions are rarely bought off the shelf these days so get educated on products and solutions, Ali said. There are many sources of information on the Internet including articles, podcasts, and videos.
“Find the leading suppliers in your market and invite them to help you solve your particular problem. Be vocal about what you want,” Ali stated. “You are the customer, explain your needs. Tell them what your deal breakers are. While you are learning from them, they are learning from you.”
Construction technology startup companies received $1.05 billion in investment from venture capitalists in the first half of 2018, a record high, the release states. Startups and well established companies can introduce you to something you are unaware of such as wearables to improve safety or the latest in drone technology, Ali noted.
Find the opportunity: Assess the benefits of any solution suggested. According to Ali, you need to ask yourself the following questions: does it fit within your existing processes; does it offer a more efficient process; what gains will you see and when; and can you test it on a small scale before implementing something more robust?
Investment in technology can bring unforeseen advantages such as making talent recruitment easier and bringing in skilled people who use data to assist with in-house and on-site decision making. The best people are attracted to companies that are innovating and outpacing their competitors and where they see growth opportunities for their careers.
Prepare to implement: New technology will work better within a strong foundation, which means documented processes, streamlined tasks, proven methods and vision, states the release.
Market trend reports can help in assessing competition but there is also value in peer groups who are not competitors, said Ali.
“Face-to-face communication at association meetings and trade conferences is always valuable,” she said.