Blending automation with human engagement for construction projects

Ryan Forsythe, Content Marketing Specialist, Moxo

Streamline construction workflows

Construction projects and processes require a lot of moving parts in terms of project phases, client relations, documentation, and communication between stakeholders. Project managers, clients, suppliers, safety experts, designers, and others all play critical roles in each construction project — no matter its scale.

It’s critical for these parties to implement customized workflows to efficiently manage project-related information and interactions within digital workspaces.But even experts can make errors in the flurry of exchanges that must happen throughout a project.

Fortunately, business leaders and project stakeholders can maximize efficiency, accuracy, and results in these areas with the support of modern digital solutions for project-related processes. In this article, we explore how the combination of blending automation with human engagement — the combination of automation and human interactions in project workflows — can streamline task management and service delivery within construction projects.

Construction leaders get smart about growing project complexities

According to McKinsey, there are “three primary opportunities for automation in construction” — the first two relate to physical processes, but “the third centers on digitization and the subsequent automation of design, planning, and management procedures, as well as the vast efficiencies those can create onsite.”

Each construction project consists of countless procedures involving both structured and unstructured human interactions — in design, hiring, approvals, leadership, workforce management, and other capacities. Inefficiencies in any of these areas can create delays for an entire project; and inefficiencies in multiple areas can have a compound effect. 

What is blended automation?

Blended automation helps streamline and validate these interactions through automated features — tools that help humans fulfill project requirements. It frees humans from redundant, repetitive, and error-prone tasks, enabling them to focus only on exceptions, escalations, and value-adding activities instead. Digital platforms that support blended automation also centralize these interactions in a way that contributes to greater project efficiency and success. In effect, blended automation is the best-possible scenario within McKinsey’s third“primary opportunity.”

The next generation of construction workflows

When stakeholders leverage blended automation as part of an end-to-end platform, they can drive efficiencies exponentially across all their moving parts — project phases, client communication, documentation, and others. For example, blended automation streamlines:

  • project task management
  • paperwork management and storage
  • contract signatures
  • client onboarding
  • confirmation and approvals and more.

Centralizing these interactions in a controlled digital environment also maximizes visibility in a governed, permission-based way. For example, customers don’t necessarily need to be involved in interactions with team leaders onsite, even though both parties access their information from the same digital space.

5 benefits of blending automation and human engagement in construction project management

The best way to understand blended automation in construction is to consider its applications and benefits within existing construction workflows. Here is a look at ways blended automation can help within five specific workflows for construction projects.

 1. Automating paperwork

Blended automation improves paperwork management and organization by supporting virtual data rooms and data storage as part of dedicated workflows. Each file and form is securely captured, organized, and distributed, without the risk of that asset becoming lost or becoming unaccounted for when it is needed most.

 2. Flagging exceptions and Ddelays

Errors, exceptions, and delays are common in construction projects, but they do not need to be as disruptive as they often are today. Wen blending automation with human engagement, all stakeholders receive appropriate notifications about delays — when a permit hasn’t been obtained on time, for example — so they can address those issues immediately, in each of their unique roles. This prevents potential miscommunications and costly miscalculations from a lack of insight or engagement.

 3. Enabling role-based notifications and sign-offs

Stakeholders can capture paperwork and make sign-offs specific to them through personalized workflows for these purposes. With these capabilities, each stakeholder receives appropriate information, notifications, and tasks, without the need for human intervention in these areas.

 4. Streamlining budgeting

Budgets require transparency, real-time communication, and active oversight. Stakeholders need a streamlined process to view all communications and issues related to budgets. With blended automation, stakeholders remain up to date on budget information and events, and they can reduce errors, eliminate waste, and pinpoint potential budgeting issues before they occur.

 5. Simplifying scheduling 

Scheduling issues and delays due to illness, weather conditions, and other uncontrollable events are inevitable. Automation and human assistance help stakeholders optimize scheduling adjustments to minimize delays, accurately estimate the completion of key project stages, and minimize scheduling issues and complaints from personnel.

Putting the human touch to good use

Relationships, communication, and a “human touch” will always be essential to construction projects, which require a wide variety of relationships, agreements, and interactions to succeed. Blended automation simply enables stakeholders to apply that human touch in the best ways possible: managing exceptions, improving client relationships, and building a reputation for reliability and success.