Posted on: July 9th, 2019 by Bill
As some of you have heard, I’ve been selected by Rosendin’s Executive Committee to lead our R&D efforts. First off, I want to thank the Executive Committee for their confidence in me in my new role.
I want to use this post as an awakening of my dormant blog. R&D at Rosendin is closely aligned to both our strategic goals, the dynamics of the construction industry and the expectation of our clients. And construction is an industry thirsting for true progress.
According the Tech Crunch, construction venture funding is up 324% from a year ago. That kind of smart money sees an opportunity, and so do we. Rosendin recognizes that specialty contracting is starving for substantial, meaningful improvement. R&D’s role is to help individuals, our business and our customers achieve their maximum potential. This work may include business and construction process improvement, evangelizing trends and improvements across the company and in the industry on the whole. R&D’s specific focus is in workforce and capabilities expansion by tooling, robotics and technology in order to provide a more satisfying, safer and deeper client and company experience. So, dispensing with the LinkedIn mumbo jumbo, what does that mean for us and our customers?
At Rosendin, we’re always innovating. From a manufacturing and R&D perspective, Rosendin as a specialty contractor builds prototypes every day. Our work rarely repeats itself. And when it does repeat, it does so with different people, locations and conditions. Some will claim that innovation is prefab, packaging and moving work from the field to the shop. That’s tactical. Innovation is about anticipation, enterprise-wide improvement and invention.
Innovation at Rosendin is not a packaged solution, that’s a tool. We can BUY packages from someone else, boring. We recognize that innovation’s custom, diverse, flexible and far more nuanced. Our Safety and Training groups are annually recognized as leaders in their fields, for all industries. We can access our Training and Safety programs on any device, anywhere, anytime. This speaks to the generations of workers that are digital natives and fully mobile in their personal lives. And with the improvements in safety, our workforce returns to their families and friends safe and sound every night.
More recently, Rosendin began a complete revamp of how we conduct, define, design, review, purchase and track our work. While this started modestly, it went viral, blossoming into a host of entrepreneurial and cooperating efforts. We can now labor plan, schedule and drive logistics from the Revit model. This technology has allowed our folks to execute a better job plan with far less effort and higher accuracy. It even deals with the human aspect of how people process information and what goes on our drawings and in our models. And to provide a predictive element to this, we placed this into the Oracle Analytics Cloud, which provides us with our business intelligence capability to planning and change.
I’ve spent the past few months talking to our teams and clients about their challenges and concerns. The one consistent theme has been resources, both is depth and capability. One interesting aspect is that clients are asking us to be so much more than an installer, a comment you’ve heard repeatedly over the years from Larry Beltramo and Tom Sorley, our COO/President and CEO/Chairman respectively. We all face the challenge of an expanding business in an industry with shrinking human resources.
As we all know, there have been chronic labor shortages throughout our industry for decades (office, design, field, engineering, estimating, you name it). Only the occasional recession has masked these shortages. Maybe the best way to look at R&D is that we are going to replace employees that we don’t have and may never exist or attract those who would never consider construction as their life’s work. Leave no doubt that while the construction industry may not have people, it will have to face the needs of our customers and the world as a whole.
One R&D avenue is in automation. Our work in robotics and exoskeletons may offer a much safer work environment, allow our skilled craftsmen and office staff to delegate mundane work to robots or software, open the trades to people who may not consider themselves physically capable of undertaking the work or may offer less repetitive stress when compared to electricians from decades past. All of these expand our workforce or extend the lifespan of our people. What could be better than retiring without the decades of bodily stress of working on your hands and knees, constantly lifting, or having your arms over your head all day long installing pipe rack or light fixtures?
Couple that with the knowledge that our clients will ask more of us – the larger, faster or never-been-done-before. We have been successful in the past in all aspects of our business. We’d like to harness that innovative knowledge and energy into a broad range of topics. There’s no doubt we will be challenged – scale, skilled labor, data, integrated processes and the command and control of our work and business. I find comfort and hope that our past success offers me great hope that we can face and defeat these challenges together.
Thanks for the time. Future thoughts will cover what’s possible and more specifics on where Rosendin is going in this arena.