When it comes to technology on the jobsite today, companies have two options. They can work with a technology provider, or they can find a technology partner.
While they may sound similar — or even identical — there is a significant difference between the two, one that can drastically improve a contractor’s bottom line and their relationship with technology.
In short, a provider sells the technology, while a partner stands with a contractor every step of the way, helping find the right solution for a project and troubleshooting any issues that might arise. It begins with the selection process and extends to training and on-site deployment.
Technology providers are increasingly common. Most OEMs, for example, have entered the technology provider space, but it’s essential to move beyond sales figures and understand a provider’s business objectives.
It’s crucial to recognize technology providers are generally most focused on selling their technology, not a solution that can work with offerings from other companies. The same holds true for OEMs, which is why they embed their technology in equipment so it cannot be removed for use elsewhere on the job site.
As a result, technology providers tend to be order-takers and are often reactive to their customer’s needs instead of being proactive consultants who are constantly looking out for the end customer’s best interests.
With a true technology partner, they don’t view the relationship as a business transaction. Instead, they provide consultative services, helping contractors solve problems, whether it’s estimating bids or finding solutions that align with their needs.
They provide feedback and/or proposals to avoid potential disruptions to site production and offer quick response time to in-field support needs such as machine troubleshooting and facilitate product repairs
Partners should offer regular training options for both new and existing technology users and look for new purchasing paths that allow the customer to increase their cash flow.
Partners should also provide construction technology onboarding plans to ensure the customer doesn’t experience any production loss if they experience employee turnover. Additionally, partners should hold quarterly or, at minimum, annual reviews with the end customer’s executive leadership teams to review cost of ownership details, budget planning, technology/feature requests and development needs.
They should also provide continuous consultative updates on technology advancements in the heavy civil construction environment.
There are a lot of technology providers but not a lot of technology partners. Leica Geosystems’ goal is to create the most powerful construction technology dealer partner network in the world through customer-first support and service models that drive communication, consistency, repeatability and accountability.
Why a partner is needed now more than ever
Many contractors worry about managing a technology change. They also worry about whether and how it will increase their productivity and what it will take to implement.
Employee turnover is another significant concern for contractors, particularly amid the ongoing skilled labor shortage. They worry about investing in the technology then losing key contributors and how much that may affect productivity.
However, the average time a customer keeps a specific technology is roughly three to five years. After that period, they may look to upgrade or even change to a different technology provider.
Technology partners, however, have an opportunity to limit that movement. They can help mitigate these effects, helping contractors create plans to avoid that disruption to productivity.
Contractors can work with local dealers — who should have sufficient technology stock levels on hand at all times — to arrange customer-centric loaner, rental and demo programs. Contractors should not have to wait for equipment to be delivered from the manufacturer every time they need to place an order.
The modern jobsite has enough challenges. Technology doesn’t need to be another one.
A true technology partner is ever-present for their customers, consistently checking in to make sure they have what they need. When it comes to choosing technology, are you working with a provider or a partner?