JLG has released a whitepaper that describes the five most significant trends that will impact the construction industry over the next five years.
This article will summarize the highlights of that whitepaper, but it’s well worth reading, so we encourage you to get a copy here.
In the post-pandemic world of the construction industry, the five biggest influences will be:
#1 Shifts in Growth and Trade
The supply chain has shifted and will continue to shift from using suppliers from a few key countries to more diversified and also more localized resources.
“We’ve learned that we need to become more geographically adaptive and agile, and as such, are exploring nearshoring opportunities to regionalize our supply chains and push towards a sustained recovery,” says JLG’s President Frank Nerenhausen in a recent interview about the State of the Rental Industry. “
#2 Stronger Societal Deal
Sustainability has been at the forefront of product development for quite some time, with the world moving toward electric vehicles, clean energy, and reducing gas and noise emissions. While being more environmentally friendly could be considered the focal point of the movement, other initiatives such as increasing efficiencies and improving productivity are equally as important.
With electrification, the transition from internal combustion engines to electric motors, electromechanical actuators and advanced li-ion batteries poses its own challenge to aerial lift manufacturers. Because an electric vehicle powertrain has 79 percent fewer moving and wear parts, such a dramatic change means more time and costs spent in research and development.
#3 Accelerating Disruption
Technology acceleration, creation and utilization have all been at the forefront of the digital boom. However, while both technology and digitalization advance at an astounding pace, the heavy equipment industry has continued to lag, adopting trends in some instances 10+ years after they have been adopted in other industries.
Technologies like connected solutions and telematics, provide valuable data to facilitate business growth and advance job sites; remote control systems and mobile apps; and sensors, cameras and alert systems. Even newer technologies like exoskeletons and 3-D printing will drive change.
“There is substantial observation happening at the job site level to identify the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ that semiautonomous and eventually fully autonomous equipment will be the solution for,” Messina says. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in this area before we see mainstream use of fully autonomous solutions.”
#4 The Digitally Powered Customer
These days, everything is connected to the internet, including equipment and other construction-related devices. Because of this, all the associated data is moving to the cloud, making real-time data and information accessible anytime and anywhere. That means equipment is becoming smarter with more integrated control systems to capture this information.
As connectivity increases, the faster we anticipate the rate of adoption of digital in the construction industry. For example, where customers may have resisted new technologies in the past due to concerns around added cost and complexity, we anticipate seeing fewer of those barriers moving forward. Digitally powered users are more willing than ever before to embrace technologies that eliminate pain points and drive efficiencies that provide tangible benefits to their business.
#5 New Ways of Working
The pandemic forced the industry to find ways to do at least some work remotely. Many workers still prefer to work at home at least part of the week.
With the ever-present labor shortage and skills gap affecting the industry, the rise in working remotely has caused an increase in the pool of qualified candidates, as well as shrunk it considerably as workers want more flexibility to look outside the industry.
This has inspired many businesses to invest in technologies that inspire close connection and virtual meetings, as collaboration has proved to be key in remote work.
“To stabilize the workforce and facilitate this type of work, look for an increase in autonomous and semiautonomous robotic features that allow machines to be operated or monitored by a skilled tradesperson at a distance from the work area; perhaps even off-site,” adds Nerenhausen. “Remote project managers and service technicians may also become more commonplace as new digital technologies and applications facilitate the sharing of real-time job site data and machine diagnostics.”