Tech Transcends Travel
Opening a business in one of the UK’s traditional ‘business hubs’
Opening a business in one of the UK’s traditional ‘business hubs’ – like London, Manchester or Birmingham - is no longer the advantage it may once have been. With advancements in technology meaning that we can get in touch with anyone anywhere at any time and can store all of our work online, location is no longer a barrier to entry for start-ups. Whether you’re in Nottingham or New York – you can be successful, if you utilise the new tech that’s available.
The construction industry is notoriously slow at taking up new tech which is why, when starting out, we pledged to embrace tech to improve efficiencies – as well as levels of communication both internally and externally.
Some SMEs see tech as a barrier due to cost, but it’s really not as expensive as a lot of people may think. There are a lot of grants and funding opportunities in place that make it slightly cheaper – you just have to do your research. We believe that, if it helps you to broaden your client base and improve performance, it’s an investment that’s definitely worth making – particularly as it saves you money in the long run.
Instead of using emails, which can often delay communication – by getting lost in inboxes – all internal communication is exclusively throughSlack, which is an online instant messaging service that allows you to organise communication by projects, teams or topics. Slack means we can be more responsive and agile by streamlining our work and keeping all communications in one place. Not only does this help us to communicate better within the team, but Slack also opens up a quick, collaborative dialogue between project partners and clients - no matter where they are based. By removing the limitations of location, this tech allows us to work effectively with people from all over the UK - and eventually the world, with Dice’s global domination imminent, of course.
We have also done our best to move the entire design process online and use programmes that can be accessed remotely to complete work collaboratively. We store all of our technical drawings on cloud servers, viaGoogle Drive, so they can be accessed and edited online no matter where you are. Project tools like BIM(Building Information Modelling) let us plan and coordinate builds with clients and project partners without having to meet face-to-face.
Not only does tech help us to improve efficiencies, but it also furthers our mission in reducing our company’s carbon footprint. We built Dice on the principle of sustainability – not just in terms of our projects but also within the practice itself, so it’s incredibly important to us. We want to practice what we preach. Instead of printing out reams and reams of drawings for mark-ups and meeting notes, we use the GoodNotes app to document our thoughts and ideas digitally. This also makes it easier to keep track of important information whilst also reducing our paper usage – as we aim to be 95% paperless. Key documents and project to-do lists are stored and shared on Asana. Here, we can assign jobs to team members and track the progress of each project remotely. Asana boards can be shared with clients, suppliers and project partners so they have all the necessary files to hand without handing over hordes of paper documentation.
These programmes have allowed us to save time, money and – mostly importantly – the environment. We also use social media to its fullest and launched a targeted campaign last year to generate client leads in other geographic regions than the East Midlands. This proved incredibly successful and resulted in real, tangible leads and new business meetings. Instagram isn’t just holiday brags and pictures of their dinner.
The time saved by these tech alternatives that would otherwise be spent on admin allows us to dedicate our efforts towards high levels of customer care, making sure we satisfy our clients – no matter where they are based. Technology is continuing to improve. We’re particularly looking forward to seeing what’s next in terms of Augmented Reality in the construction industry, AI and automated building solutions, as well as new methods of communications and efficiencies for us working as a business. The fourth technological revolution is very much here and we’re pleased that the construction industry is – albeit slightly slowly – getting on board. If you're interested in some of the practices, we have in place and would like to learn more about how we utilise Tech to the best advantage then please get in touch. We’d love to collaborate!!