We’re beginning to stitch the pieces together for our June Technology issue—The Digital (Connected) Jobsite—and I find myself becoming increasing excited by the picture that’s emerging … so much so that I called a contractor friend to tell him about some of the new and wonderful surprises in store for him and for you. As my enthusiasms came nigh to overwhelming my iPhone’s circuitry, the friend stopped me cold with the thesis question, “Just how much technology do I have to have to stay in business?”
For a moment I was stymied, but then remembering the lawyer trick of answering a question with a question, I asked, “What do you think?”
Expecting my response to catch him off guard, I was surprised when he immediately replied, “as much and as high as I can get….” After a pause, he continued, “but there’s the little matter of cost.” And that’s a key element in determining how far and how fast it makes sense to go … today, tomorrow, and in the future.
“I see it as situational,” he continued. “The bulk of my work these days is as a subcontractor, so most, if not all, of the project planning has already been done. My job is to move dirt.” As a result, he has late-model laser and GPS stations, front line machines equipped with control systems, and recently hired what he calls “my in-house geek” to coordinate all the techie stuff. “It would be really nice to go out and get one of those soup-to-nuts software packages, but even if I had the spare cash lying around, I’m not sure I could put it to proper use at the moment.”
Right now he uses separate bidding, project management, and accounting software packages and is just in the process of bringing in a telematics system to track his equipment use and costs.
“You’re right about making sure that whatever I buy fits into the long-term equation,” he said, referring to my previous Blog, “but I need to fit my purchases to the kinds of jobs I’m doing at the moment.”
As a parting remark, he showed his appreciation for my enthusiasm by saying, “Don’t let my caution bother you. I’m really looking forward to the Technology issue as a roadmap for where I need to go from here.”