How Much Should You Really Automate?
If there is one thing we have noticed in our years of working with the construction industry it is that construction executives take a long time to start adopting any new ideas. But once something new takes hold in the construction industry, it can take off like a rocket. For example, we are coming into more questions about automation on the job site and in the office. Here are some guidelines you can use to reduce risk while you bring in some automation.
Remember That Risk Is Everywhere
If you bring in software to analyze contracts and give you the highlights, then you are adding a new risk to your process. Where you used to have experienced humans reading your contracts, now you have software giving you what it thinks are important details. What if the software leaves details out? What if the software misinterprets information?
Risk is everywhere, and that includes in your managerial and administrative processes. It is important to remember that automation is not a novelty or a toy. You should only use automation when you know it offers real value.
Always Look For A Manual Override
Drones are becoming big in the construction industry and there is software you can use to program your drone’s routine flight path and save time and money. With a feature like this, any employee can launch the drone and get the information you need to monitor your project.
What would you do if there was some sort of mishap with your drone and it went off-course? The problem with automation is that people tend to think it is infallible. The truth is that you should always have some sort of manual override available to protect you and your company from unnecessary incidents.
Have An Expert On Staff
Your risk with using automation goes up considerably if you do not have an expert onsite to handle any potential issues. If your automation breaks down, then you are losing money every minute it is not working. When you have an expert on staff, you reduce that down time and avoid any kind of catastrophic losses.
If you are not comfortable bringing on new technical personnel for your automation, then you should establish strong relationships and get immediate response service contracts with local service providers. When you put automation in place, you expect it to run as it is supposed to during the entire time you are using it. If it stops and you have no way of bringing it back online immediately, then that could cost you.
Don’t Throw Out The Old Ways
In our insurance offices when the automated message and phone systems go down, we start taking information from customers by hand. It is tedious work, but at least we don’t have to stop production because our systems are down.
If you are going to rely on automation to start becoming more efficient, then you should at least have one old style back-up system on hand in case something goes wrong. You may not be able to get the kind of production you would get with your automated systems, but at least you would not grind to a halt.
Automation is the wave of the future, but that does not make it perfect. Take the time to protect your company from the risks associated with automation and you will find the transition to be much more gratifying.