By Ron Pestone
One thing most of us have in common is a reluctance to change. Even when it is good for us we hate to change. Bad habits are equally hard to change. If you are a smoker, which I was, giving up smoking can be one of the hardest and most frustrating experiences . I quit dozens of times, only to go back. Finally I went to an expert in Boston for help and I have not smoked for twenty years.
We all know that exercise and eating healthy is good for us, yet how many of us do it. If everyone who publicly claimed they did the hamburger chains that are smothering our country would become an endangered species.
It’s the acceptance of change that took us from the horse and buggy to the automobile and brought electric power and light into our lives. Not that they were easy changes. There were whole schools of people out there claiming that the automobile was only a fad and would never replace the horse and buggy or that the electric light would never replace kerosene and eating healthy is good for us, yet how many of us do it. If everyone who publicly claimed they did the hamburger chains that are smothering our country would become an endangered species.
The list goes on and on. From the time of the Industrial Revolution we have been on a whirlwind of change. My mother and her family farmed by horse and hand labor yet in her lifetime she saw a man land on the moon.
In the last years we have experienced an explosion of change that has been greater than the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. I am talking about the turbo charged changes in communication and the phenomena of the internet.
It all started years ago with a beep. Beepers were not only invented but were so competitively priced that almost anyone could afford them. It was like a miracle; you could beep someone and they would get to the nearest phone. Beepers soon infested the construction world and if you worked in the business you were emphatically told to leave your beeper on at all times. It was the start of closing the gap between the office and the job site, where ever it might be. I, like every contractor in the world loved them.
Then came the new Holy Grail, the cell phone and life as we know it would never be the same. As the cell phone has morphed into a sophisticated communication devise that can do almost anything, except make coffee, the world and contractors were attracted to them like bees to honey.
In construction they had enormous value. All your key people can have one, from your layout guy to your foreman to your superintendent and anyone else who mattered. Problems can be discussed and resolved in minutes and if you are sitting in the office and cannot understand the problem the field can send you a photo on the cell phone. They have become the great equalizer and today it is hard to imagine the world without them. Contractors who stuck with the old ways and never went mobile found themselves out of the construction trade and selling hot dogs. Cell phones became a necessary business item in order to remain competitive and increase profits. Now with the advanced designs, pictures, streaming and meeting capabilities superintendents and foremen can manage work on several widely separated sites with ease.
Today every architect, engineer, superintendent, and foreman carries a laptop or a tablet that keeps them connected with all their business regardless of where that business is. Purchase orders, estimates, CPM schedules labor hours are all just a click away.
Gone are the days when getting a computer from the box to the desk fully connected required a degree in engineering. Devises are all color coordinated and within minutes of unpacking are ready to go to work. Software packages are available for everything construction from estimating, CPMs, change orders, labor hours, inventory, vendors and more all available at the click of a button.
These changes have occurred and any construction professional that hasn’t jumped on the train will be left behind and no other train will be coming to pick them up.
We are now at the beginning of the next major change that is going to have enormous ramifications for the construction industry. It’s the internet coupled with the rise of Social Networks. Today most of us in the industry Google when we want to find someone or learn about something. We can place material orders and have them delivered without leaving the job site. We have a vast army of experts at our finger tips to help us solve problems all at no cost. We can find any piece of equipment or any tool just by searching the internet. All this and the most competitive price too.
Don’t Forget: We Build America
Image courtesy of Hyena Reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net