Emerging Technologies and the Steel Industry

Jeff DiBattista, a Principal at DIALOG, gave a stimulating talk at the recent CISC Alberta Spring Steel Design Forum.  His provocative presentation was about the history and evolution of emerging technological changes, with special attention to the impacts and implications for the steel industry.

Jeff demonstrated how in the past several decades technological disruptions have changed the way we think, work and live and benefited from improved productivity across the economy. The current, so-called, Industrial Revolution 4.0 is dominated by digitization technologies.  They are going to change our business models and our lives faster, more profoundly and persistently than ever before.

Technologies like autonomous vehicles, robotics and drones, artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data and analytics drones and 3D printing are opening greater productivity possibilities in the construction industry. Jeff explained how companies who “wait and see” about investing will stagnate and decline against their (global) competition. For companies who choose to adapt and improve they must be willing to go through short-term pain to jump to the next S-curve and thrive with new growth.

The construction industry has been slow to adapt, tied to old-style operations and risk averse. Procurement methods and rigid cost-plus contracts have stifled innovation, new ideas and reduced investment competitiveness. However, the dynamics and challenges of the “new normal” market realities are making many progressive operators and owners realize there are really profitable opportunities by using some of these new technologies.

In addition to innovation and emerging technologies Jeff highlighted some of the industry-supported research at the University of Alberta’s Steel Centre.   This work, led by Dr. Robert Driver, will go a long way to improving the competitiveness of the steel fabrication and construction industry in Alberta. Theses collaborations are enabling firms to reduce risk and create productivity improvements so funds can be found for investing in new technology.

At GO Productivity we run a seminar on Emerging Technology, Innovation and Collaboration, led by Ken Chapman. This seminar helps you to understand the latest trends in technology and how it may apply to your business. Further, through our ARC service, we can help you to identify specific improvement areas in your business and consider how to bring innovation into your operations in a manner fitted for your purposes.

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