More firms adopting tech to improve resilience

Resilience as a core capability
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Companies in the engineering and construction industry are increasingly treating resilience as a core capability, according to KPMG.

“The engineering and construction sector has started to recognize that it’s not enough to simply respond effectively to shocks, and that resilience must be operationalized and treated as a key strength,” the consulting firm wrote in its 2021 Global Construction Survey.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents in the survey, which included project owners and engineering and construction executives in various industries around the world, said that planning for resilience in capital projects is important.

The focus on resilience has driven more companies to invest in technology that helps them … KPMG noted that in its 2017 survey, less than half of respondents had a tech plan for improving project controls. The current survey found technology is the “second most important capability to help deal with disruptive events,” preceded only by the company’s leadership.

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Collaboration tools were critical to firms’ success during the pandemic as they managed remote work and staggered shifts to maintain social distance while continuing to work, according to KPMG. Contractors are far more likely to invest in tech tools, as 50% reported a high level of investment compared to 33% of project owners.

The technologies with the most potential for project owners and contractors are integrated PMIS (45%) and BIM systems (42%), as respondents cited these tools as most likely to deliver greater return on investment in their firms. Advanced data analytics (31%) was another tool rich in potential for respondents.

While drones and smart sensors had some promise (23% for each), respondents are wary of other advanced technologies like radio frequency identification (1%), 3D printing (3%), cognitive machine learning and AI (6% and 16%), virtual and augmented reality (4% each), machine engineering and design (13%) and robotics (15%).

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KPMG noted that integration gives firms the opportunity to automate and streamline their projects, helping them develop more reliable cost forecasts, manage procurement and logistics, and even potentially improve data security and privacy as common access protocols reduce the opportunities for hackers to breach systems.

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