Three experts explain how their industries are transforming and how they innovate

GARY SMITH, CEO OF BIOPAK; FENDER KATSALIDIS PRINCIPAL JESSICA LEE AND CONSTRUCTIV TECHNOLOGIES CEO SALLY MCPHERSON. PROVENANCE: SUPPLIED.

In the previous summary of our recent webinar, Innovation in industry: real approaches to change and transformationwe explored some of the key learnings of how manufacturing and construction organizations are coping with today’s industry challenges while innovating with modern technology solutions.

In this second and final in-depth analysis, we hear from three expert panelists on how their companies have accelerated their innovation plans to meet recent challenges, the unexpected benefits of digital transformation, and their predictions for how their industries will evolve. in the months and years to come.

A widespread shift to distributed offices

In years past, the mere thought of an architectural firm performing any part of a job – let alone a entire project – off-site would have meant apathy. After all, there must be high levels of communication between design, engineering, consulting and a range of other teams at every stage of a project. But for Jessica Lee, director at Fender Katsalidis, the ubiquity of software architecture combined with widespread digital transformations in the industry has seen distributed offices become the rule rather than the exception.

“It’s just become the new normal,” says Lee. “We realized that we don’t need to be all together in a construction shed – we can actually work from our distributed offices with our engineers, customers and builders handling communications over Zoom .”

Lee says it’s been an unexpected benefit to spend the majority of their daily communications online only. Builders can now contact architects directly and have them display the model on their screen to discuss the specifics of the job at hand.

“At the time, we weren’t able to bring our 3D models with us to the site, as that would have meant we had to bring our entire desktop computer or network with us,” she adds. . “Now when everyone logs into a screen and we can point to an area of ​​conflict or clashes that need to be resolved as a design team, it’s become normal. No one is in a rush to go back to a construction shed with the old A1 drawings and annotate everything with our highlighters and tracing papers.

You can watch the full webinar, Innovation in industry: real approaches to change and transformationon request for even more information.

Adapt to today’s challenges through digital adoption

As the pandemic has forced organizations to rethink their approach to technology in their day-to-day operations, it has also mobilized software vendors to tweak their products for the influx of remote workers. Whether it’s a video conferencing platform or custom manufacturing software, Gary Smith, CEO of BioPak, says getting the most out of these solutions has helped his team overcome the uncertainties of the past few years. .

“Having Zoom is amazing,” he says. “We operate in five different states across Australia and in five different countries around the world. Before online meetings, that meant interstate travel twice a week, so it was great to have everyone with no travel expectations and just communicate digitally through Zoom. This quickly improved our communication activity. »

Smith says BioPak is so successful because of the tireless work of the technology specialists who lead its team. As BioPak struggled to find top talent during the height of COVID, their technical specialist group took advantage of this time to tweak their system architecture and approval process to be more streamlined, increasing productivity.

“For us, designing a product is multi-step and involves manufacturing, customer approval, in-house designers, graphic artists and many more,” Smith says. “We digitized it so that once a step has been completed, it automatically automates communication with the owner of the next process.

“This type of system architecture and process improvement is essential. There are some very smart people in our industry, and we want to bring them into our business to accelerate the pace of this progress, because it’s a differentiator between companies that can deliver great service and those that can’t. .

Predicting what awaits us around the next bend

While no one could have foreseen the challenges of the COVID years, business leaders in the manufacturing and construction industries need to be prepared for what’s to come. Without a crystal ball to predict the future, it’s a constant struggle. But Sally McPherson, CEO of Constructiv Technologies, believes that a focus on innovation — and, importantly, technology consolidation — can help strengthen organizations against a variety of contingencies.

“My goal at the moment is to bring all these different technology solutions together,” she says. “Our partnership with MYOB is part of our effort to bring the right technologies to the industry. What I envision for the future of construction suppliers is ‘desktop’ where you can do whatever you need to do. From this office, you can operate your equipment and teams, you can keep them in place, you can keep them safe, and you can get the most out of your business and your results. It’s a big, ambitious dream.

Read now: Webinar Overview: Technology-Driven Innovation in Manufacturing and Construction