Procore report reveals digital transformation can support supply chain, materials and labour shortage challenges
The adoption of digital transformation became a necessity during the time of pandemic across all industries. While not so many companies were keen at the start as this inevitably entails investment, it was a question of boon or bane to many.
But it is interesting to note that the Philippines, despite connectivity issues being dealt with now, the country still leads the way in technology adoption in the Asia Pacific region.
Accodring to Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading global provider of construction management software, released its construction industry benchmark report ‘How We Build Now 2022 – Tracking technology in Asia Pacific Construction in 2022’. Spanning five markets in Asia Pacific and gathering insights from more than 1,100 respondents within the construction industry, the report examines the general sentiment of the industry, the digital maturity and adoption of construction technologies, as well as the challenges and opportunities that businesses face.
The construction industry continues to face significant headwinds, with top challenges cited being the increasing cost of raw materials and equipment (58%), maintaining safe working environments (44%), and increasing productivity (40%).
However, almost all (98%) respondents in the Philippines expressed confidence about industry conditions over the next 12 months, with an overwhelming majority also expecting an increase in the number (80%) or value (75%) of projects over the same timeframe.
Overcoming Industry Challenges with Technology
Construction firms in the Philippines understand that digital transformation is required to overcome these challenges, with 26% of construction businesses already being digital-first and 56% being ‘well on the way’ in their digital transformation journey. In fact, two in three (65%) Filipino construction decision-makers reported an increase in their digital investments during the last 24 months. Further research from Procore also found that Filipino respondents recognise the benefits of construction technology, in particular the reduced reliance on human labour (55%), the ability to handle more projects (54%), and resource efficiency through less rework (53%).
However, the digital transformation journey is not without obstacles. Among those who expect challenges, Procore found through further research that top barriers of digital transformation include changing established behaviours (44%) and overcoming concerns around data security (43%). These are followed by the costs involved to transform digitally, inadequate software solutions and a lack of support from technology providers and vendors (38% each). More than one in three respondents (36%) also cited the challenge of breaking information and people out of ‘silos’.
“A key issue with construction technology lies with a history of it being built by tech people, not construction people. This creates a mismatch of expectations between what businesses want technology to do, and what it can actually do,” says Bruce Wells, vice president of Asia, Procore. “As a cloud-based software provider created by construction professionals for construction professionals, Procore is rooted and solely dedicated to the advancement of the industry. Procore understands the pain points that the industry faces, and we build solutions to directly address them.”
The Future of Construction Technology in Philippines
Across the Asia Pacific region, Procore’s research found that Philippines is a frontrunner on the digital maturity curve – with above average adoption rates for technologies from Internet of Things (IoT) (47%) to drones (43%), telematics/asset-tracking (42%) to big data analytics (41%). Filipino construction decision makers expect technologies such as digital project management platforms (48%), big data analytics and pre-fabrication (46% each), telematics/asset-tracking (40%) and traditional BIM (40%), to drive change in the next three years.
The top technologies that construction businesses in the Philippines are planning to introduce within the next three years include next generation BIM (65%), pre-fabrication (63%), and robotics (61%). More than half of Filipino respondents also displayed strong intentions to introduce cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (59%), extended reality (58%) and big data analytics (55%).
Data as a Competitive Difference
Procore’s research also found that construction business decision makers from the Philippines unanimously (99%) believe that more efficient data management is a way forward for their business. The most common benefits of efficient data management include improved visibility of project information (53%), enhanced security (52%), improved employee experience and helping to achieve sustainability goals (47% each), followed by ensuring safer working environments, improved decision making and increased productivity (46% each). Filipino respondents were also the most optimistic of the impact of efficient data management on potential savings – estimating potential savings of 27% on average on total project spend (seven points higher than the Asia Pacific average).
But despite understanding the benefits of efficient data management, the use of paper remains common in managing data. Across all stages of the construction project lifecycle, on average 36% of construction businesses in the Philippines continue to use paper-based records, and are most likely to use paper to track and manage environment records (42%), as well as for estimating and pricing processes, managing site activity, equipment, and asset records (37% each).
“It is imperative for construction businesses to digitalize the way they manage data, to unlock actionable insights that improve productivity and ultimately, the business bottom-line. At Procore, we understand that data is the key to the future of construction. Through our integrated platform, we enable smarter construction by providing real-time visibility and insight into all aspects of project performance, so that construction businesses can benefit from a better control of their projects and deliver higher quality builds,” concludes Wells.
Additional highlights from the report include:
- Significant time spent on rework – Of all five markets surveyed, the Philippines construction industry on average spends the most time on rework. The average Filipino construction company spends one-fifth of their time (20%) on rework, four points higher than the APAC average of 16%.
- Greater emphasis on safety – Implementing regular safety procedures was seen as a key strategy to improving productivity for over 40% of construction decision makers in the Philippines Overall, the most common workplace policies in Filipino construction businesses are site-specific safety plans (70% currently have in place, 29% planning to implement) and workplace health and safety plans beyond what is required by legislation (68% and 31% respectively).
- Quality as a competitive advantage – Overall, construction decision makers in the Philippines believe that quality is a competitive advantage. Specifically, 64% believe that quality is a competitive advantage that allows firms to reduce waste and increase sustainability, with a similar proportion (63%) believing that quality helps improve confidence and trust among consumers.
- Sustainability and energy efficiency a key agenda – The Philippines construction industry is keen to adopt more environmentally-conscious and sustainable building practices. Almost two-thirds (63%) of construction decision makers in the Philippines believe that more should be done to support sustainable building practices.
- Workplace diversity and inclusion in construction needs to improve – Currently, women make up a minority of the construction workforce, particularly in sub-contractor (29%) and team leader (31%) roles. More than 2 in 5 of Filipino construction decision-makers believe that there is a need to improve diversity and inclusion in construction workplaces.