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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The New Breed – Waiting In The Wings?

We’ve been on the phone with dozens of general contractors over the last few months, getting their take on PlanWell® and our other product offerings, but also putting our ear to the ground, so to speak, in order to better gauge the future.

We can’t help but notice a growing sense of technological urgency, a feeling that change is afoot and that it will come within the next decade.

“It’s interesting how it works,” says Brendan Keating, who inherited responsibility for developing and maintaining the computer systems at Artco Contracting and Development in Newark, NJ. “Technical things that come more easily to people of my generation seem to confuse the older guys. I guess it’s because computers have always been a part of my life. It’s easier. The older guys have to learn it.”

It’s no secret that a number of top construction executives are ready to retire, turning their decision-making responsibilities over to younger executives who, it seems, believe technology is the key to our respective future – as The PEiR Group does.

“Take Sub-Hub,” Brendan says. “The younger guys are relatively excited about it, think its neat they can go online and view the plans… that sort of stuff. It works for them. The older guys just refuse to go online. Period.”

Industry watchers say that with the previous decade’s wide profit margins and increased stock values, retiring executives do not want to invest their millions into solutions that they are uncomfortable with or deem too expensive. But as younger executives assume control of the larger companies, they will bring dramatic new perspectives in technology application with them.

“I’m not saying it’s the same across the board,” Keating says. “Technology doesn’t work the same for everyone. Some people, it doesn’t matter what age they are, can use a computer and can make PlanWell and Sub-Hub work for them. But others just don’t want to bother.”

The reprographics industry stands to benefit greatly from this shift, a move to technology we've been been predicting for some time. Our goal has always been to be viewed as a partner to our members, but the ability to bring solutions to the table our members can use will set us apart from those companies who don’t adopt.

Editor: Have you noticed a “technology divide” among clients in your region? Have you encountered any classic examples of this syndrome? How did you overcome it?


Anonymous said...

I'm old school and proud of it!!

Anonymous said...
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The PEiR Group ( said...

And you have a lot to be proud of, sir/ma'am. A lot of people still prefer to do business "the old fashioned way" - by careful nurturing of a relationship, honesty and a handshake - and that, they say, wins out over technology any day. Anyone else? Old School or New? Where is our industry headed?