Last week was a bevy of new announcements for the world of concrete—everything from materials, to software, to equipment took center stage. Perhaps one of the biggest themes of the week centered around the topic of productivity.

Peggy Smedley and I had the opportunity to meet with a number of companies in the space and this focus on productivity has never been so apparent as it has this year.

As one example, Avi Kahn, president and CEO, Hilti North America, said at the Hilti press conference, the company is seeing a positive construction market, and safety and productivity, alongside solutions, are important, especially considering the skilled labor shortage.

“Customers are looking for safety and productivity,” he says. “That is our message to our customers.” One way it is doing this is with PROFIS Engineering, which is the company’s software for anchor design.

From tools to equipment, everyone is recognizing that it is critical to save labor—which is becoming a more popular topic, as the shortage surges. Daniel Milam, marketing coordinator, Power Curbers and Power Pavers, says 3D GPS controls is one way this can be done, as stringless can minimize labor-intensive tasks.

As the industry begins to narrow in on the impact of the labor shortage—and the solutions to move forward—technology becomes a central component to the equation. Elearning is one way to educate the workforce on new systems.

For instance, Topcon Positioning Systems was showcasing its myTopcon elearning platform, which tracks courses a worker is in and provides scores and assessments. Ben Huber, manager, professional services, Topcon Positioning Systems, explains that it “brings standard level of education for everyone who comes to the class.”

While these are only a few highlights from the show, the topic of productivity came up in nearly every conversation we had on the show floor—and even on the bus on the way home. Technology is one way to address the productivity challenge and labor shortage in the construction industry, but we need to be having a bigger discussion about how this all ties together.

Next week on Constructech TV, Peggy will be diving even further into the topic of productivity, with guests who will identify what the real need is for infrastructure projects—and how technology factors in. As Peggy has so keenly been saying for months, in order to build our infrastructure, we need to address labor, productivity, and technology. It all fits together like a puzzle. The time is now.

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor